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  1. #1
    Pete's Avatar
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    Default Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    The project Wiggin proposed was never viable -- that was pretty obvious from the outset. So why the heck was it chosen?

    At least Wiggin builds quality projects so hopefully this won't turn into another Legacy eyesore. However, I still think the competing project was better.

    **************************************


    MidTown housing plan scaled back
    By Steve Lackmeyer
    Business Writer

    A changing housing market is being cited as a reason the developer of the proposed Overholser Greens looks at reducing the size and cost of the MidTown project.

    Chuck Wiggin's original Overholser Greens proposal, selected in March by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, called for 109 units in a complex of three four-story towers and one eight-story tower with parking underneath the entire block at NW 13 and Walker Avenue.

    Prices were to range between $350,000 and $800,000.

    Wednesday, Urban Renewal commissioners approved a redevelopment agreement with Wiggin that allows him to cut the number of units to between 85 and 100. The new, smaller units would sell between $220,000 and $450,000.

    "We're trying to address a wider market than our original concept, which was based entirely on empty nester home buyers,” Wiggin said. "The original thought was we would sell units entirely to people moving out of large houses into smaller units. To sell 109 of these units (at the original costs and floor plans) might take us nine years.”

    Wiggin said after the meeting that the housing market, including trouble looming with high-end "jumbo” mortgages, prompted him to change the development mix.

    The changed plans call for 12 three-story town homes instead of a four-story tower to be built as part of a first phase, but for a second phase to still include an eight-story tower. Following phases would include another set of three-story town homes, and one more four-story tower.

    He revised the estimated development cost from $62 million to between $35 million and $40 million.

    Urban Renewal commissioners were told in March that Wiggin's proposal was over-priced and wouldn't be feasible.

    Daniel Crane, a senior vice president with Plano, Texas-based Capmark, advised that the high-priced condominium market was slowing down nationwide. Crane handled financing for downtown's Legacy at Arts Quarter apartments, and also wasprepared to finance a competing proposal for the site awarded to Wiggin.

    Wednesday, Wiggin appeared to confirm that very warning.

    "The market is not deep on the high end,” he said.

  2. #2
    metro is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    OCURA Disappoints yet again!!! Unbelieveable! How do they get away with BS like this. First they pick the worst proposal because its probably their buddies, second, they say don't worry, we'll give you the contract, and then you can dilute your proposal even further after you get chosen. I think OCURA should have to do another RFP if the developer is renigging on their original proposal in which they were chosen for.


    Midtown condo project sees changes
    The Journal Record
    December 6, 2007

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Original plans for the development of a city block in Oklahoma City’s Midtown for condominiums is undergoing changes and fine tuning, but work is scheduled to begin by July 2008.


    Chuck Wiggin, developer for the Overholser Green project, originally received approval from the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority in March to develop vacant land between NW 12th and NW 13th Streets and Walker and Dewey Avenues. The block is the former site of Mercy Hospital. Wiggin’s plan, as originally approved, called for 109 units spread out among four buildings, four four-story and one eight-story, starting at about $350,000 per unit and going up to about $800,000 each.“Since that time we have done extensive research on comparable condominium projects in more than a dozen cities,” Wiggin said. Wiggin said after examining recommendations by a consultant on the project, he has determined it would be prudent to change the unit mix and reduce both the number of units and the average size of the units and offer them at a lower price point. The original plans showed units that were about 2,600 square-feet. Wiggin said he is now targeting units that will average between 1,000 to 2,000 square-feet costing between $250,000 to $450,000 each.The number of units will also be reduced to between 85 to 100 depending on market demand and sales. “It’s my hope that we can build 100 units,” he said.

    The new preliminary plans will also target a wider market rather than the original concept, which was geared toward empty-nester homebuyers who might be downsizing from a larger home. After carefully evaluating the market, Wiggin said by targeting that small segment it could take nine years to sell all of the units. “In order to make this project successful, we believe that our target sell-out needs to be three-and-a-half years,” Wiggin said. “Doing that means we need to address a wider audience at lower price points.”

    The revised plan still calls for an eight-story building on one corner of the property as well as a four-story building, but with the addition of individual town homes with three per building facing NW 13th Street.

    Joe Van Bullard, executive director of Urban Renewal, said the townhomes facing north would fit well with the nearby Heritage Hills neighborhood.“I think one of the attractive design features of this, as opposed to his original, was that on the south side of 13th Street you have the residential feel almost of a Heritage Hills,” Bullard said.

    Greg Banta, president of the Banta Companies, which is developing the nearby Plaza Court for retail space, and with plans for condos of his own in two neighboring buildings, said he is ready to see some development on the former Mercy site.“I think any development that goes on that site is going to do extremely well and we’re real excited that Chuck’s moving forward with it,” Banta said. “I view everything that happens on there as a positive for Midtown and a positive for our stuff.”

    Under the contract with Urban Renewal, Wiggin must start work on the project by July 1. (I'll believe this when I see it)

    Wiggin said he would like to begin two phases of construction concurrently for the first 12 units as well as the eight-story building. The initial sales for the first two phases may well determine the ultimate number of units. Wiggin said he remained optimistic that sales would necessitate 100 total units for the project, but will plan accordingly as the project progresses.“If we encounter trouble moving these units then we may have to rethink what our total unit count is,” he said.

    Members of the Urban Renewal board discuss various property topics Wednesday in Oklahoma City. Photo by Jennifer Pitts

  3. #3
    Midtowner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Wow. They think they can get $250/sq ft. in that part of midtown?

    I would be shocked to see anyone buy at that price.

  4. #4
    BDP
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    I really don't understand this. What in the world are they approving in the first place if the plans can be drastically changed by completion. OCURA is clearly a sham. How can this not be a breach? I can't even believe that they will not enforce the proposals that they choose. I am not a lawyer, but how can the competing bids not have grounds to sue now? There needs to be some sort of class action to get this stuff stopped. Is there any cause of action here? It seems that OCURA will never work unless it's forced to.

    It was my understanding they chose this because Heritage Hills wanted an "upscale" development. They couldn't deliver so they should start over and have to compete. The other plan was clearly a better mid-level proposal. Sounds like once again OCURA is going to deliver ugly, small, expensive units because what they chose was unfeasible in the first place. Does anyone know what the market is for small, ugly, and expensive these days?

    OCURA is robbing Oklahoma City of its urban living future.

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    metro is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Don't forget that Wiggin is one of the good old boys and Marva Ellard (who also had far better proposals for the site) ais not part of the good old boy network. Same goes for McDermid not being a part of it and losing out on "The Hill at Bricktown" which is ironically not in Bricktown but Deep Deuce but of course good ole boys want to capitalize off the Bricktown name.

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    BDP
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    BTW, what's a four story "tower"?

    Those must be some pretty tall stories. I'm not even sure 8 stories qualifies as a tower. Reminds of when the centennial was announced and our wide eyed media called it a high-rise.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Here's what OCURA turned down to choose Wiggin's proposal, which was nothing but expensive condos (which were clearly not viable at the price points quoted at the time) and offered nothing to anyone other than the people that could afford to buy them:


    •Mercy Park: 111 apartments; 22 for-sale condominiums; 23,725 square feet for restaurants and shops; and a 72-room hotel. The development would be built above a 305-space underground garage. The development group is Mercy Developers, consisting of Marva Ellard and Robert Magrini (who are renovating the nearby Sieber Hotel) and electrical contractor and housing developer M. Paul Iser. The estimated development cost is $48.3 million and the developers are seeking $1.8 million in tax increment financing.
    The Mercy Park proposal calls for a restaurant, deli, shops and a grocery to face NW 13 between Dewey and Walker. Condominiums would face Walker while apartments would be built along NW 12 and Dewey. A hotel would be built in the center of the development, with underground parking serving the entire complex.

    The buildings would range between three and six stories high.

    "Our goal with all this is to design a project that has 24-hour-a-day life to it,” Ellard said. "It would allow employees of the medical institutions to live closer to work.”

    Ellard said the market rate apartments would range between 900 and 1,200 square feet.

    "We see them being leased by an RN who works at one of the hospitals who might send her child to Villa Teresa or a young couple who are just starting out.”

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Does anyone really know what kind of market there is for Wiggins' original proposed housing? I remember reading that he said he wouldn't start until he'd presold some units. Personally, before I plunked down that kind of money, I'd at least like to walk through a framed unit, and preferably, a model. I'd like to see what building materials were being used, and how the townhouse "felt". I think Midtown probably should have had less expensive apartments for sale and/or rent, as that would suit the neighborhood better. As someone who is contemplating buying a brownstone at Maywood, it's got a better location for what I want, and I've been able to walk through the rooms and get a feel for the design and space. It never occured to me to consider buying a townhome in Wiggins development before it was even started, nor would it now that I have considered it.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Well, the biggest problem with this development as I see it is that he's trying to command the same $/sq ft. as we're seeing at the Centennial. Other properties in the area (Harvey Place) are going for around $175. Seeing that this is even farther from the action than the other properties, I don't really see it justifying the sort of prices they're projecting at.

    The high-end condo buyer market in this city is an extremely limited market. Sooner or later, they're going to have to come down in price so that these things are attainable for young professionals as we're more likely to be the kind of people to be interested in this sort of lifestyle.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    I really liked Marva Ellard's proposed buildings better but since that went with Wiggins I hope that they will require him to start on the project immediately. Midtown really needs to see more housing if we want the retailers to really start coming into the area.

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    metro is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Mid, what is Harvey Place?? Do you mean the Harvey Lofts?

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Yep i do.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Don't forget that Wiggin is one of the good old boys
    What exactly qualifies someone as a "good old boy"? I would like to know, maybe I am on too! Maybe you can supply a list so we will all know.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Well, they never should have picked Wiggin over Ellard, but now that they have, I'm glad it has been scaled down because it would have been a disastrous failure if built as proposed.

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    metro is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Quote Originally Posted by ksearls View Post
    What exactly qualifies someone as a "good old boy"? I would like to know, maybe I am on too! Maybe you can supply a list so we will all know.
    According to the OKCTalkapedia:

    See OCURA or any of their buddies.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Well, they never should have picked Wiggin over Ellard, but now that they have, I'm glad it has been scaled down because it would have been a disastrous failure if built as proposed.
    True!

    And as I mentioned, Wiggin has built a lot of nice developments, like the Waterford complex and Hotel ZaZa in Dallas.


    However it once again calls into question OCURA's judgment, as they selected a project that wasn't viable to start with -- so much so that it had to be substantially revised just months after approving.

    I'm not a big one on conspiracy/corruption theories but many of their decisions just don't make a lot of sense in terms of what's best for OKC.

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    BDP
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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    I'm not a big one on conspiracy/corruption theories but many of their decisions just don't make a lot of sense in terms of what's best for OKC.
    I agree. I think most of it boils down to ignorance and arrogance. If it wasn't for their pseudo-stealthy way of operating, I would think that was all of it. But at some point you have to start wondering what is really driving their evaluation process. It sure doesn't seem to be viability, feasibility, or appropriateness. And, really, if they would just make some sort of attempt to enforce their initial decisions, then they'd improve their credibility tremendously. As it is now, they come off as some sort of impotent puppet organization that has no real control over development in Oklahoma City

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    like the Waterford complex and Hotel ZaZa in Dallas
    Sorry, you got the wrong guy. You are thinking of Charle Givens. I think if you do some background on Chuck Wiggin you will be impressed.

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    Smile Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    "And as I mentioned, Wiggin has built a lot of nice developments, like the Waterford complex and Hotel ZaZa in Dallas."

    To my knowledge Chuck Wiggins has never built anything! He redeveloped the DEQ building downtown .. go take a look at that. Primarily he has been a property managerfor many properties. He has been trying to redevelop the old Mayo office building in Tulsa for the last several years... but nothing visible is happening yet.
    The properties you mention are great and where developed by Charles Givens, not Charles Wiggins.

    Mike

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Yes, I was confused! Thanks for the correction.

    I know Chuck as a commercial real estate broker and manager... What has he developed?

    Has he ever built residential complexes in the past?

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    I have asked very knowledgeable people and the only thing they know of is the Mayo office building in Tulsa, it is supposed to be apartments. He got 3 million in Vision 2025 money and has still not started. It is supposed to be apartments. Funny thing seems he is using The Sieber as his finance model, tax credits, city money,etc..
    Mike

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Quote Originally Posted by ksearls View Post
    What exactly qualifies someone as a "good old boy"? I would like to know, maybe I am on too! Maybe you can supply a list so we will all know.

    You may well be. If not now, your hard work in defending their every action will make you one soon.

    You do some good work, Kim. However, you seem to always come to the defense of the indefensible because you know many of these people. And, let's be honest, your livelihood depends on good relations with them.

    Cronyism is what the "Good old boy" network is all about. It's despicable when it hurts our city. Defend the best for the city - not what's best for the crony network of money grubbing insiders.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Let's put this to another vote and get Marva back in there, or just start over. There's no need to rush this.

    Banta can get the Osler done in the meantime.

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Now I'm really worried now that I'm straight that it's Wiggin.

    Why was he even qualified to be seriously considered in this process?

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    Default Re: Shocker: Overholser Green project completely changed

    Quote Originally Posted by ksearls View Post
    What exactly qualifies someone as a "good old boy"? I would like to know, maybe I am on too! Maybe you can supply a list so we will all know.
    Are you on the board of any public trusts?

    That might just qualify you

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