Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Leaders to Consider Plan to Buy Skirvin

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City Leaders to Consider Plan to Buy Skirvin

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City leaders will consider a plan Tuesday to buy the vacant downtown Skirvin Hotel for as much as $2.875 million in an effort to redevelop the building as a hotel.

City Manager Jim Couch said the city would use federal Community Development Block Grant funds to acquire the 91-year-old hotel at One Park Ave. from owners Mike Dillard and John Roddy Bates. Once acquired, the city would seek out private developers to renovate and reopen the property. City council members are expected to OK talks to buy the hotel at a meeting 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

"Saving the Skirvin is a high priority for our citizens," Couch said. "After more than 10 years, it's clear the city's intervention is necessary to make that happen."

The Skirvin, which was opened by oilman W.B. Skirvin in 1911, was closed in 1989. Ownership of the hotel changed hands several times since 1989, although no investor has yet reopened the property.

Preservation Oklahoma lists the hotel as one of the state's most endangered historic properties, a status it has held since the not- for-profit preservation group created the list in 1992.

Trent Margrif, executive director of the organization, said the city's move should improve the chances that the Skirvin will someday be removed from the list.

"It's a very positive step," Margrif said. "It follows what was outlined in the Skirvin Solutions Committee report. I give credit to Jim Couch for realizing that the time is right to do something with the Skirvin."

Couch said the city would work with private developers who want to renovate and reopen the 13-story hotel. The city manager said he has had interest from out-of-state developers willing to look at the property. Some of those developers, however, said they would prefer to work with a governmental body, such as the city, rather than a private property owner.

"I think most people are very supportive of this. I think the Skirvin is actually a part of the soul of downtown Oklahoma City, and people feel very strongly in preserving it," Couch said. "I think this is the right thing to do. I wouldn't be recommended it if I didn't."

The city manager will propose to the council that the city redirect some Community Development Block Grant funds to pay for the $2. …

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