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Thread: Project 180

  1. #1

    Project 180 Project 180


    Information & Latest News

    3/18/14: Five Years later Project 180 continues
    4/29/12: Project 180 Progress
    Milestones

    • Main between Walker and Hudson complete June '12
    • Robinson between Park and Main complete July '12
    • Sheridan between Robinson and EK Gaylord complete July '12
    • Bicentennial Park complete October '12
    • Couch Drive complete Dec '12

    Links

    Gallery

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    Last edited by Pete; 03-19-2012 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Devon advocates creating tax district
    By Jack Money
    Business Writer
    Oklahoman

    The leader of Oklahoma's largest publicly owned company said Tuesday he sometimes has a hard time believing his own ears.

    But Larry Nichols, chairman and chief executive officer of Devon Energy Corp., advocates creating a new tax increment finance district — with his company's future building at its heart — to generate the maximum amount of tax revenues possible to use on improving areas near the planned new headquarters, he said.

    "We want to create a new TIF that has Devon at the core of it, so that we are the only ones taxed by it — that's a strange thing to ask for,” Nichols told members of the Downtown Rotary Club.

    But, it would be worth it. A new TIF district could generate as much as $150 million or more, he said.

    "Together with what the city has in its budget, we can really enhance that area of the city,” Nichols told his audience.

    "It could be used to enhance streetscapes and to connect the Arts Council to the Myriad Gardens, and the Myriad Gardens to the rest of downtown.”

    Nichols said this while answering questions about the planned $750 million skyscraper, which will go up on the south half of the Galleria block, west of the Colcord Hotel.

    The company hopes to break ground in about a year and hopes to move in three years after that.

    Nichols talked about a downtown park in Houston that is next to its convention center.

    He would like to see the Myriad Gardens used similarly to the Houston park, which has thousands of visitors daily.

    "The city and the Myriad Gardens Foundation, which I am on, have been doing a good job with very limited resources,” he said.

    "But when you look at large quadrants of that park and ask what's going on, the answer is nothing,” he said.


    Devon development ideas
    Nichols said a restaurant could be built on the park's edge that has an outside patio, overlooking a water feature that could be frozen for ice skating.
    A more informal sandwich restaurant could be in the park's center and could be surrounded by playgrounds and perhaps a large water park similar to the small one in Bricktown, he said.

    "There is a long list of things that could be done,” he said, adding that final choices will depend on what park users, the city, and the Myriad Gardens' patrons decide.


    Oklahoma City's reaction
    City officials agreed Tuesday the existing TIF district has a limited lifetime.
    They said Devon's call to create a new district, though, will have to be thoroughly evaluated and discussed.

    Cathy O'Connor, an assistant city manager, said Devon's plan filed with the Urban Renewal Authority discusses the need for various public improvements to surrounding streets, the Myriad Gardens, and to other areas surrounding its project.

    But what still must be determined are what projects will be done, how much that all will cost, and how it will be paid for.

    Various entities including a tax increment financing board, the Myriad Gardens Authority, the gardens' foundation, the Urban Renewal Authority and other entities likely will get involved, she added.

    "We will work those things out,” she said.

    An admiring neighbor
    Tom Ward, chairman, chief executive officer and president of SandRidge Energy Corp., introduced Nichols to the Downtown Rotary club.
    Ward, whose company also intends to establish a significant presence downtown by renovating Kerr-McGee's old corporate headquarters, called Devon Energy Corp.'s new project "just amazing.”

    "From knowing Larry, and seeing the vision he's had for this company starting with Hondo, Santa Fe, Ocean, Mitchell and Anderson Energy ... bringing all those companies into Oklahoma City is just truly fascinating. So it didn't surprise me when the plans for this new building came out last week.

    "A couple of other amazing facts,” Ward added. "Devon is roughly 1.5 times larger than Nike, and Devon is larger than American Airlines, United Airlines, GM, Ford, Campbell's Soup and Hershey, combined (in market capitalization),” Ward said.

    "But we are not going to buy any of those airlines,” Nichols said, stepping to the podium, which drew a laugh from audience members.

    Business Writer Jack Money

    You can also go here and watch a video of Larry Nichols addressing the Downtown Rotary Club:

    NewsOK.tv

  3. #3

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    No kidding, so on top of his $750+ million (likely to get higher with rising construction costs), plus self taxing his TIF of about $150 million. He's staring at about $1 billion for this project.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Actually, I think Devon was going to be taxed anyway.

    A TIF just takes that tax and dedicates it to the specific area rather than going into the general coffers.

    And I think at least part of these tax dollars will go to maintain the new park Devon is planning to build in front of it's tower.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by amaesquire View Post
    Larry Nichols and Devon never quit ceasing to amaze me. "Please tax us and our new property so we can better this part of town."

    Absolutely amazing. A true citizen of Oklahoma City, willing to ensure years of future growth and betterment of the CBD, at his company's own expense.
    We should build a temple for him

  6. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    The park that they are referring to in Houston is extremely nice. It is directly across from the convention center, and has the ballpark on one side, and the Hilton Americas on the other. On the other side of the Hilton is the Toyota center. It is a really nice setup. I would enjoy seeing something like this in OKC. Last time I was there they has salsa aerobics dance class going on out there...

  7. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by amaesquire View Post
    Larry Nichols and Devon never quit ceasing to amaze me. "Please tax us and our new property so we can better this part of town."

    Absolutely amazing. A true citizen of Oklahoma City, willing to ensure years of future growth and betterment of the CBD, at his company's own expense.
    That's not how TIF works. The reason that businesses love TIF is because it takes the property tax they'd already be paying at the current assessed value and applies the post-construction assessed portion of the tax to pay off a bond which improves land primarily used by that business.

    The cost of TIF is that OKC Public Schools (who would be the primary beneficiary of this new ad valorem revenue) will not see a dime of this new revenue until the bonds directly benefiting Devon are retired.

    The argument in favor of TIF is that but for these TIF districts, many improvements which would have never been made will be made and benefit the schools 20-something years from now when the bonds are retired.

    The argument against TIF is that it takes money away from the schools and instead, directly benefits companies who could in many cases, afford to do the work on their own.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Another argument against TIF's is that they give a government-support advantage to property and business owners while others that also pay taxes have to compete against them.

    This wouldn't necessarily be the case here, since it sounds like the TIF funds would be going to parks. But it also sets the precedent that every time someone wants to building a new building, they'll expect to get their property taxes redirected back to their own development.

  9. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Pete, it's a horribly overused policy. In Chickasha, I recall they recently used TIF to build the "public" infrastructure adorning the local Wal-Mart. While it did help OKC seal the Skirvin deal, it, at least in my opinion has done more harm than good. Especially to our schools.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Another obvious local example is University North Park in Norman.

    That's just a big strip shopping center getting it's own tax dollars back then competing with all the other developments and stores in the area.

    Sometimes it's really needed in order to revive a blighted area or property (like the Skirvin) but I agree it's often used incorrectly and unfairly.


    Not sure how I feel about this Devon proposal. I suppose it's a different situation because they want to improve public spaces -- but it's still a dangerous precedent.

    SandRidge is pumping tens of millions into it's new HQ... What if they wanted all their tax dollars back to fund the plaza/block renovation? Same goes for BOK Plaza and First National Center.

    I would feel better about this is the Devon TIF was just for the Myriad Gardens and not for their own property -- yet, I understand their thinking and what they are proposing isn't necessarily unfair.

  11. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Brzycki View Post
    I would feel better about this is the Devon TIF was just for the Myriad Gardens and not for their own property -- yet, I understand their thinking and what they are proposing isn't necessarily unfair.
    I tend to agree. I think the issuing authority (whoever they are, the city council?) made the right call here. In the case of University North Park or Chickasha's Wal Mart, however, I think political expediency and personal interest took a front seat for the deciding body while what was good for the community took a back seat.

    Our schools are struggling and this is essentially taking money directly from their budgets and applying it to projects benefiting companies who in all of the above listed cases could be doing things on their own or because they were forced to by stringent code or city planning committee requirements.

  12. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Schools should take priority over beautification.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Where in the article or otherwise does it states the proposed TIF would go to the park outside Devon HQ's? I re-read the article and actually attended the meeting last Saturday and physically talked to Larry in person. I have still heard no mention of the TIF money being used for the Devon landscaping but have understood it to be all for the Myriad Gardens.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Nichols has mentioned this several times in previous interviews. To wit:

    Devon Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Nichols said his company will only request a fraction of the TIF dollars generated by the project for creation of a 2.5-acre park that will front Sheridan Avenue, across from the Myriad Gardens.

    The area will consist of a lawn, shade trees and fountains. The design by James Burnett and Murase Associates calls for a "living pool teeming with aquatic life.” A public green will accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 people during special events. At the western edge of the park, a pavilion will rise up from what is called "a skin of water” and will provide a shaded space for festivities and picnic lunches.

    Nichols hopes a significant amount of the TIF dollars generated by the project will pay for an overhaul of the Myriad Gardens, which already has seen an upgrade of its water stage funded by Devon. Nichols said his landscape architects also will be charged with assisting the city and the Myriad Gardens Foundation on possible improvements.

  15. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by OKCMallen View Post
    Schools should take priority over beautification.
    This priority problem is one reason our public schools are among the worst-funded in the nation.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    By Devon investing almost a BILLION dollars in downtown, others will follow. The improvements will certainly hurry that. In the end, the property tax revenue will be hugely more than now because of the Devon stimulus.

    I don't think some people understand the concept of investment. What Devon is doing is priming a very big pump.

  17. Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    By Devon investing almost a BILLION dollars in downtown, others will follow. The improvements will certainly hurry that. In the end, the property tax revenue will be hugely more than now because of the Devon stimulus.

    I don't think some people understand the concept of investment. What Devon is doing is priming a very big pump.
    And now, every Tom, Dick and Harry who builds something downtown will be demanding the free government cheese to beautify their projects when they very well could have paid for these things themselves.

    All the while, at least until all of these loans are paid off, the schools will be robbed of a huge amount of increased tax revenue.

    Certainly the "greater good" argument can be made. Your argument is completely speculative though. No one actually knows whether or not Devon will be the last to build downtown for another 20 years.

    Do you think anyone in the early 80's thought that Leadership Square would be the last major downtown construction project for almost a quarter-century?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by OKCMallen View Post
    Schools should take priority over beautification.
    The TIF should have no effect on the funding for education. In Oklahoma our school districts are self governing and have their own property tax stream entirely separate from city government. The city has power to commit a portion of taxes owed the city to a specific use, but school money is outside their control. A TIF can direct city taxes to a specific use, but NOT school taxes.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    By Devon investing almost a BILLION dollars in downtown, others will follow. The improvements will certainly hurry that. In the end, the property tax revenue will be hugely more than now because of the Devon stimulus.

    I don't think some people understand the concept of investment. What Devon is doing is priming a very big pump.
    Exactly. I could be wrong, but isn't $1 billion more than we spent on MAPS and MAPS for Kids combined!!! If not, it's darn close to that figure. Look what all that investment spurred, MAPS I alone spurred about $2 billion additional dollars in downtown since (and that's not including the Devon tower and NBA by the way). Just think of all the additional sales, property, BID and other taxes collected since then. I wonder if all the development caused the schools coffers to become more full after they were completed. TIF's are in every other major city in America, don't think Dallas, KC, Omaha, etc. do TIF's, BID's and other things? It may not be the most "ethical" thing, but it's part of the game if we want to stay competitive in a global economy.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    This is probably a difficult argument for some to see, but frankly I'm tired of sinking money into educational systems. If there is ever a group that knows how to waste money, hire unnecessary staff, and generally screw things up, it's educational systems. I was all for MAPS4Kids, and was really excited about it. The results have been so-so IMO. Sure we have three new high schools. But...

    The thought in everyone's minds was that by having new, shiny schools, a number of people would begin to send their kids back to OKC schools. That is not happening. For me to ever buy into big city or inner city public education, a lot will have to be changed fundamentally. And that will never happen. People are going to send their kids to the schools with they feel comfortable...where their kids are safe. But until there are fundamental changes within the OKC school system, this will not happen. Meanwhile, McGuiness, Cassady, Christian Heritage and the others in the area will continue to flourish.

    Devon deserves to benefit from the enhancement that they are providing to OKC. Frankly I don't want to hear whining from the education lobby. I'm tired of hearing it.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Looking at this from Devon's point of view, I'm sure the TIF funding would be for on-going maintenance of their park, not necessarily the construction.

    Nichols may just want to insure that the park is taken care of on a on-going basis over the long term.

    It sounds like they won't be asking for a lot of the TIF funds and since they are already spending $.75 billion, it probably has more to do with the future than spending money in the present.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    I agree Pete, from what I got from Larry in person at the meeting last weekend, it was more for long-term maintenance from how I understand it. I could be wrong though, I'm not a Devon insider.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    Devon tax district gets key approval
    Development Funding would help revitalize downtown
    By Steve Lackmeyer


    A proposed tax increment financing district to be funded by construction of a new Devon Energy world headquarters is expected to provide a significant overhaul of the Myriad Gardens and rebuild downtown streets and sidewalks. PHOTO PROVIDED BY MERRYWEATHERPHOTO.COM

    A new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district funded solely by a proposed new Devon Energy tower won a key approval Friday from representatives of local schools, libraries, CareerTech, the county and city.

    The district still needs approval by the Oklahoma City Council, which along with the city’s planning commission is set to hear the proposal next month. Projects to be funded by the district, as requested by Devon Energy, include an overhaul of the Myriad Gardens and most major downtown streets.

    The estimate of the cost of district projects to be financed also was revised Friday from $135 million to $175 million with the addition of sales taxes from the tower’s construction.

    "Obviously this increases the size of this TIF dramatically,” said Ron Norick, chairman of the committee that oversees the TIF districts.

    Assistant City Manager Cathy O’Connor said the district is expected to generate $10.7 million a year over 25 years for a total of $224 million. The district will only be able to finance about $175 million, including the sales taxes. Remaining funds would go toward interest payments related to the projects.

    "We’re hoping it gives us flexibility in financing the projects and bringing more headquarters companies to Oklahoma City,” O’Connor said.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    TIF district proposed to support Devon Tower
    by Brian Brus
    The Journal Record December 3, 2008

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Devon Energy Corp.’s preconditions for building its skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City – $175 million in infrastructure, parks and streetscaping projects – were enthusiastically accepted by City Council members Tuesday.

    Devon Chief Executive Larry Nichols told the council his company expects the city to provide public improvements to create an appropriate environment for a world headquarters. The company plans to build more than 1 million square feet of space on the northeast corner of Sheridan and Hudson avenues, just north of Myriad Gardens. “It is not, in many ways, a logical place to put a building of this size,” Nichols said. “We do have people inside Devon and people in Houston that think a corporate headquarters of this size and magnitude in our industry is more appropriate to be located, quite frankly, in Houston.

    “But that’s a problem we can fix,” he said. “We have imposed two conditions on our ability to build this building. And that is both to fix up the neighborhood and help bring other businesses into Oklahoma City.”

    To that end, city staff has proposed the creation of a tax increment finance (TIF) district to support $175 million in projects. A TIF district is designed to set aside a small portion of growing property or sales taxes from a predetermined area and dedicate those funds to pay for public improvements – in the case of Devon, those improvements are projects in the so-called core-to-shore redevelopment between downtown and the relocated Interstate 40 Crosstown at the Oklahoma River’s edge, which the Devon tower would overlook.

    “Before we get to the shore, we need to fix up the core,” Nichols said.

    Assistant City Manager Cathy O’Connor said a TIF district is the only tool available to generate adequate revenues to support Devon’s preconditions. The district, the eighth created in the city, would last 25 years and tap into ad valorem and construction sales tax revenues. And it would be composed only of the Devon property, already within an existing TIF district.

    O’Connor said the plan is based on several assumptions, including an expectation that Devon will pay at least $11 million per year in ad valorem taxes once the building is open. Although Devon wouldn’t generate ad valorem in the first five years of the plan, it would still pay about $20 million in city sales taxes during the construction phase.
    With a combination of cash already on hand, an unspecified amount of debt at 6-8 percent interest rates, and the TIF-dedicated funds, $175 million in Core-to-Shore projects could be completed within four to five years at about the same time the building would be complete, O’Connor said.

    City officials said the headquarters, once completed, are expected to generate about $800 million in real estate market value and $100 million in personal property value.

    “I can’t imagine that if somebody from Houston had contacted us and said, ‘I’m going to build a billion-dollar project on my own money in your city and bring in another 6,000-10,000 employees – what can you do for me?’ We would be falling all over ourselves trying to get that kind of project here,” Councilman Gary Marrs said.

    “I’m really struck again by how it seems this is nothing but a win-win for us, and that the revenues that you’re capturing wouldn’t be there without the Devon project, but all of the revenues it’s capturing are used for public things outside the building itself,” he said.

    Councilman Larry McAtee and others agreed. McAtee said, “Not only does this project here affect downtown and the immediate area … it also has a much broader impact on the whole central Oklahoma metropolitan area.

    “There’s going to be economic opportunities; there’s going to be quality of life opportunities for this entire area to benefit from this,” McAtee said. “This is a great day.”
    The TIF district ordinance was set for a final hearing and decision by council on Dec. 16.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Devon advocates TIF district

    This all sounds great but I'd sure like more details on how this $175 million is to be spent.

    Sounds like Nichols wants it directed towards the Myriad Gardens and sprucing up the CBD while city leaders are talking about new development as a part of Core to Shore.

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