Widgets Magazine
  • Classen Circle property under contract to new buyer; renovations planned

    The historic Donnay Building near the old Classen Circle may get a reprieve, as just weeks after Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores withdrew its rezoning application that would have seen the property demolished, a purchase contract has been signed with local buyer who hopes to save and renovate the structure.

    In July, OKCTalk was first to report that Braum's had filed an application with the Planning Commission that included a site plan showing the company's intention to raze everything on the triangle of property that contains the Donnay and the structure housing Classen Grill.

    The news set off a shockwave in the community including the formation of several groups in social media and on-site protests, petitions and a heated public meeting between citizens and representatives from Braum's and the current property owners.

    After the Planning Commission deadlocked on the Braum's decision on September 28th, the company sent a letter to the city on October 4th asking for their application be withdrawn. OKCTalk has confirmed that Braum's also canceled their pending purchase contract about the same time, which had been contingent or receiving the necessary zoning.

    Now, we can report a new buyer has the property under contract apart from the one small house which has been owned by Braum's since 2015.

    In an exclusive interview with OKCTalk, local investor Josh Thomas confirmed that he placed the property under contract earlier this week and is today commencing inspections as part of a due diligence clause.

    Thomas said he approached the current owners when he first read the news about the plans by Braum's then their withdrawal. Thomas describes himself as an investor with a passion for local, independently owned businesses and someone who cares about Oklahoma City's historic structures.

    Thomas will have at least 30 days to determine the extent of any needed repairs and then will have the option of proceeding with the purchase.

    The preliminary plan is to repair then perform a larger scale renovation while hopefully retaining the current tenants which include the HiLo Club, The Drunken Fry and Charlie's Records.

    All tenants are on a month-to-month term except for the HiLo which has a lease set to expire on February 28th, 2018. HiLo's proprietor Chris Simon told OKCTalk that the property manager for the current owners could not promise him that they would be allowed to stay at the end of their lease term but would also not confirm they would have to leave at that time.

    In the recent community meeting, the attorney for the owners Red Oak Properties LLC said the Donnay and other structures would likely be demolished even if Braum's did not receive the requested rezoning.

    Thomas credits experience gained by working with Dr. Sam Coury who is planning a renovation of Bricktown's old Spaghetti Warehouse building -- on various other real estate projects as being instrumental in this process with Classen Circle.

    OKCTalk will continue to provide updates as Thomas steps through his inspection process and formulates renovation plans.

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