View Full Version : Sandridge Update

08-27-2008, 07:44 AM
Company plans for ex-Kerr-McGee tower may reshape the look of whole city block
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

Life is returning to the former Kerr-McGee tower downtown, where more than 300 construction workers are working to recreate the landmark into a modern office building.

SandRidge Energy, which bought the tower last year, has about 250 employees working in the first 16 floors while the 17th through 29th floors are being gutted and rebuilt. By year's end, the company expects to have all of its 500 employees headquartered downtown.

To date, the company has spent about $50 million to buy and renovate the tower.

‘There are still a thousand things to consider'
Dirk Van Doren, chief financial officer at SandRidge, acknowledges the company has been fairly quiet about the project — but it's not because they're being secretive.
"There are still a thousand things to consider,” Van Doren said. "This building was really built in the '60s — it opened in 1972. But the thinking was '60s — it was different.”

Van Doren said the company is taking a major step this month with the hiring of New York City-based Rogers Marvel Associates. Instead of just looking at potential improvements to the tower, the architectural and planning firm is tasked with looking at the entire city block and how it relates to the rest of downtown, he said.

"We want to engage the public more than what has happened in the past,” Van Doren said. "We want to impact the energy of the city in a way that will draw people out.”

Van Doren said he's eager to look at how much, if at all, the tower should tap into The Underground pedestrian tunnels. While understanding of the need for underground access during inclement weather, Van Doren said he's not so sure of the message sent by empty sidewalks.

In the final years before Kerr-McGee was bought out by Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum, the tunnel access was heavily secured and not open to the public.

Van Doren said Rogers Marvel Associates also will look at the tower entrance and older buildings on the former Kerr-McGee campus that have been empty for more than 20 years.

Just before Kerr-McGee was sold, the company eliminated fountains at the entrance and replaced them with bushes. Van Doren said one of the top challenges ahead is whether to recast the tower's entrance.

"How do you enter the building and how does the building interact with the park across the street?” Van Doren asked. "Should there be a fountain there? Should there be a driveway? Should the entrance be pushed out or pulled back in?”

What will happen to older buildings?
Likewise, Van Doren said the company is awaiting architects' recommendations before deciding the fate of the older buildings, which include the original Braniff Airlines headquarters and the 1902 India Temple Building.
Despite the ongoing removal of asbestos from the old buildings, the company is still open to keeping them standing, said Marsha Wooden, vice president of administration at SandRidge.

Wooden also confirmed several downtown housing developers, including Richard Tanenbaum, who converted the Park Harvey from offices to apartments, have expressed an interest in developing the older buildings.

A similar project was announced, but never started, a year before the sale of Kerr-McGee. Van Doren and Wooden say the older buildings will not be re-used as offices.

"It's very important to know whether those buildings will bring value to what we want to be a good city block,” Wooden said.

Brett Hamm, president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., is among those watching the progress. He said the company is widely seen as a "savior” of the former Kerr-McGee tower, and he anticipates the company's move to downtown will only hasten its ongoing resurgence.

SandRidge Energy plans to have 500 people working in the former Kerr-McGee tower when the first phase of renovations is completed later this year. Floors like this one on the 28th floor have been gutted and rebuilt from scratch. By Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

08-27-2008, 08:51 AM
I know McDermid & Co. got screwed over on acquiring those smaller buildings, but why can't that deal be resurrected now that SandRidge clearly is not going to use them as office space?

Also, as I stated on another thread, I hope someone took good pictures of the interior and plaza of the tower before all this work started.

10-13-2008, 11:06 AM
any news on how this is going and if it has been impacted by the economy?