Two different entities turned in three bids to describe what they plan to do with the old armory building and surrounding properties in Oklahoma City.
The 72,000 square foot state-owned armory sits at NE 23rd Street and Walnut, just west of the Capitol building. The Journal Record’s Molly Fleming tells KGOU the armory was built in the 1930s and was used by the National Guard until 2010.
“It's an odd property,” Fleming said. “It has a large open space in the center surrounded by offices. The open space where the National Guard would gather has a floor-to-ceiling height the 50 feet. There's a space on the east side that sticks out from the main area that has a garage door entrance. The elevators were never used for transportation but rather for gun storage. And it also has a phone booth.”
The state issued a request-for-proposals in order to sell eleven properties, which include the armory and surrounding areas. Many of the surrounding properties also contain buildings. The Office of Management and Enterprise Services is overseeing the management of the request process.
One proposal came from Oklahoma City developer Chuck Wiggin, president of Wiggin Properties. He proposed buying 10 of the 11 properties for $1.2 million. His plan would convert the armory into 42 workforce-housing apartments, with a gym on the large open floor.
“He worked with architect Anthony McDermid of Tap Architecture on this plan. There would be a restaurant in the armory as well. The other buildings would be used for retail and offices. The plan also calls for building a brand new building that would measure 60,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet. The size of that would vary based on office or market demand at the time,” Fleming said.
Coop Ale Works submitted the other two proposals. The first proposal would purchase the armory and surrounding 6.5 acres for $485,000. Coop would move its corporate headquarters and brewing operations into the armory. They would also build a 22-room boutique hotel, a 7,000 square foot restaurant and 60,000 square foot special events space.
Fleming says Coop’s second proposal would purchase the armory, surrounding buildings and 13.4 acres for $2.3 million. The brewery would do all the same developments as the first proposal, as well as partner with Atlanta-based Urban Reality Partners to construct a 130-unit mix-use high-density development.
The proposals will now go before a six-member committee. Fleming says there is a no firm deadline, but the winning proposal could be announced by June 15. The three key criteria the commission will consider are community benefits, the qualifications and experience of the redeveloper, and the financial capacity of the redeveloper. The winning design must be approved by the state-run Capitol-Medical Center Improvement and Zoning Commission.
Jacob McCleland: You're listening to the Business Intelligence Report, a weekly conversation about business news in Oklahoma. I'm Jacob McCleland and I'm talking today with Molly Fleming. She's a reporter with the Journal Record newspaper. Molly, thank you for joining us.
Molly Fleming: Hey, thanks for having me.
McCleland: So two different entities have submitted three proposals to the state government detailing what they would like to do with the 23rd Street armory building in Oklahoma City. Now this is a property that the state is trying to sell. But first, tell us a little bit about the property. What's it like and how many buildings are there?
Fleming: The armory is at NE 23rd Street and Walnut Avenue. It sits west of the Capitol building. It was built in the 1930s and was used by the National Guard until 2010. The main building measures more than 72,000 square feet. It's an odd property. It has a large open space in the center surrounded by offices. The open space where the National Guard would gather has a floor-to-ceiling height the 50 feet. There's a space on the east side that sticks out from the main area that has a garage door entrance. The elevators were never used for transportation but rather for gun storage. And it also has a phone booth. If you go there today the building is filled with state of Oklahoma office equipment. The state issued a Request for Proposals on more than this building though. In total there were 11 properties, most of which have existing buildings. There's some empty land in the request as well.
McCleland: Well let's get to some of those proposals. The first one is from developer Chuck Wiggin of Wiggin properties. What does he want to do with the property?
Fleming: He offered to pay $1.2 million for 10 of the 11 properties. With the armory building itself, he wants to construct 42 workforce housing units and then have a gym that uses the large open floor. He worked with architect Anthony McDermid of Tap architecture on this plan. There would be a restaurant in the armory as well. The other buildings would be used for retail and offices. The plan also calls for building a brand new building that would measure 60,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet. The size of that would vary based on office or market demand at the time.
McCleland: Now the other two proposals both come from Coop Ale Works. What's in their plan?
Fleming: So in the first plan Coop would purchase the armory and surrounding six-and-a-half acres for $485,000. The company wants to move its southwest Oklahoma City corporate headquarters and the beer brewing operations into the building as well as build a 22 room boutique hotel, a 4,000 square of special events space, and a 7,000 square foot restaurant.
McCleland: Now Coop submitted a second plan as well. How is it different from the first one?
Fleming: In this plan, they actually have a partner. So in his second proposal, Coop would pay $2.3 million for the armory, surrounding buildings and 13.4 acres, so more than twice as much acreage. It would still do all of the updates we just talked about but it would also partner with Urban Realty Partners of Atlanta and build up mixed-use, high density development with up to 130 housing units.
McCleland: So we have all these proposals. What's kind of the next step to find out which one of these plans could come into fruition?
Fleming: So next the proposals will be looked at by a six-member review committee. There was some kind of requirements, not only that the plan had to meet but, you know, what these plans would do for the community and for the property and for that neighborhood. So the committee will look at all of that. They could discuss the proposals more with the submitting entries or they could negotiate a price. The winning proposals could be announced by June 15th or it could be earlier. It could also be later. The design has to be approved by the state-run Capitol-Medical Center Improvement and Zoning Commission, the longer name of a commission. It does not have to be approved, though, by a City of Oklahoma City Commission because it’s state owned property and in a state-controlled district.
McCleland: Molly Fleming covers real estate for the Journal Record newspaper. Molly thank you so much for your time.
Fleming: Hey thank you, Jacob.
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