The efforts being made by a group of developers to renovate the
vacant Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City into a full-service
Hilton Hotel took a significant step forward Wednesday.
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority approved an agreement
with the redevelopment group that is led by Irving, Texas-based
Partners in Development designating them as the official redeveloper
of the historic property. The agreement also allows the group, which
will now be known as Skirvin Partners LLC, to being implementing its
According to the redevelopment agreement, Skirvin Partners is
required to begin construction on the property by Oct. 1. John R.
Weeman Jr., president of Partners in Development, said that his
group has already done some exploration work on the building over
the past couple of months and is confident that the deadline will be
You will see construction at the Skirvin over the next several
months, he said. All of our work thus far has yielded good results
and we want to keep the momentum going that we have now.
Weeman also added that his group is confident that they will be
able to complete work on the hotel by the agreed deadline of March
1, 2006, and added that there is possibility the Skirvin could
reopen for the 2005 holiday season.
The 13-story Skirvin Hotel building at One Park Avenue in
downtown Oklahoma City has been vacant since 1988, when financial
troubles caused the owners of the historic property to shut the
doors. Since then, successive property owners have failed to reopen
Under the agreement the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority
will sell the building to the redevelopers for an undisclosed
amount, but retain ownership of the land. The Authority will then
lease back the land to the hotel owners at a lease rate that is
based on a percentage of the hotel's cash flow.
Wednesday's agreement did not include overall project costs,
which are still in the process of being determined. The
redevelopment group's initial proposal that was presented in 2003
estimated the cost to be around $42.1 million, including about $10
million to be funded by the city and about $12 million in funds from
the sale of historic tax credits.
However, Weeman said that he intends to have an overall project
cost finalized within the next 60 days and is hopeful that the gap
between what his group will be able to provide in terms of financing
and what will be needed from the city and other sources will be
When we came in here, we made a promise that we were going to
bring the gap in as low as possible, and I think we have made great
progress on that, explained Weeman. We will be taking advantage of
every available method to get this deal done.
During Wednesday's meeting of the Authority, Skirvin Partners
made public its initial plans on restoring the Skirvin back into a
high-end, full service hotel. The renovations are being designed by
Kahler Slater of Milwaukee with Flintco handling the construction
work. When completed, Marcus Hotels & Resorts will manage the
We expect to have the Skirvin return to becoming the place to
stay in Oklahoma City, added Weeman. We hope to be positioned in the
higher end of the market in terms of restaurant offerings and lounge
According to David H. Plank, AIA, an associate with Kahler
Slater, the most detailed retrofit of the hotel will take place on
the first two floors. …