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Jan. 11, 2013

Heritage Trust Proposes $13.7M Makeover for Oklahoma City’s Journal Record Building

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Downtown Oklahoma City’s Journal Record Building may get a $13.7 million makeover, The Oklahoman reports. The makeover is part of a proposal submitted on Jan. 7 by Bond Payne, co-chairman of Heritage Trust Co., to the Oklahoma City Cultural and Industrial Facilities Trust.

Heritage was the sole bidder responding to a request for proposals issued by the city trust, offering $1.74 million for the six-story property, which has been largely vacant for almost two decades. In April 1995, the Journal Record Building was significantly damaged in the bombing that destroyed the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Payne hopes the redevelopment can be completed by the 20th anniversary of the bombing in 2015.

Located at 621 N. Robinson Avenue, the Journal Record Building was constructed in 1923 and designed by the prominent local architectural firm of Layton, Hicks and Forsyth. During the past 90 years it has been variously known as the Law Journal Record Building and the India Temple Shrine Building. In March 1980, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Following the 1995 bombing, the city acquired and repaired the Journal Record Building before turning it over to the Oklahoma City Cultural and Industrial Facilities Trust. Part of the building is now owned by the Oklahoma City National Memorial and one floor is being leased to the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism. Both organizations have reportedly endorsed the project.

The space up for sale includes the ornate entrance facing Robinson Avenue. If Payne’s proposal is approved, the historic façade would be restored and the remaining available space would be converted into offices. Urban Realty Partners would develop the project, which would be designed by Smith Dalia Architects of Atlanta and Oklahoma City-based Butzer-Garder Architects. The renovation would add almost 55,000 square feet of Class A office space to the Central Business District, of which Heritage Trust itself would occupy 20,000 square feet.

Payne asked the city for tax increment financing, both for the renovation and for the construction of a garage and ground-floor retail on the former site of the YMCA building located just southeast of the Journal Record Building.

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