View Full Version : Brownfield funds awarded

08-26-2010, 10:59 AM
From OKCBiz it states brownfield funds were recently approved by the City Council for Dowell Center at 134 Robert S. Kerr downtown and also OCCC's building on SW 25th in Capitol Hill. Both facilities to undergo renovations after asbestos abatement is complete.

09-08-2010, 08:36 AM
New day for Dowell Center: Developer renovating skyscraper, targeting small businesses for tenants

By Brianna Bailey
Oklahoma City reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY – Developer Richard Dowell plans to court small businesses to lease space in downtown’s vacant Dowell Center after a large-scale $2.2 million asbestos removal project there wraps up at the end of the year.

About 13,000 square feet of office space on the first two floors of the Dowell Center will be available for lease at the end of the year, while extensive renovations begin on the rest of the building. The total cost of the overhaul on the more than 80-year-old building is estimated to be about $9.5 million.

Dowell’s company, Dowell Properties Inc., also plans to take up at least part of the 8,000 square feet of office space on the 20th floor of the building.

How long it takes to renovate the building depends on interest from tenants, Dowell said.

Dowell isn’t worried about competition for tenants from other downtown properties because he plans on luring small business tenants away from the suburbs.

“It’s about time downtown had a little revenge on the suburbs by drawing tenants back,” he said. “It’s a reverse of the situation it was 10 years ago.”

Each office space will have its own metered heat and air, as well as its own bathrooms, cutting down on costs for Dowell, who said he can turn a profit on the roughly 192,000-square-foot structure even if it’s just 10 percent occupied.

A 310-space parking garage is part of the property, but Dowell plans to expand it by 400 spaces as part of renovations on the building.

The 20-story building at 134 Robert S. Kerr Ave. was the tallest structure in the city when it was completed in 1927. Over the years, the Dowell Center has housed Kerr-McGee Corp. and The Journal Record. It’s been completely vacant for the past few years while undergoing asbestos removal.

The Dowell Center is just down the street from the planned site of the SandRidge Commons project, which will replace a block of abandoned buildings with SandRidge Energy’s new $100 million corporate headquarters.

Together with the SandRidge project, remodeling the Dowell Center will drastically change the face of several key blocks of downtown, said Jane Jenkins, president and chief executive of Downtown OKC Inc.

“Occupied space is good for downtown and marketing the space to small and midsized companies is a nice niche for the downtown office market,” Jenkins said.

The asbestos removal project has been partially funded with a brownfields redevelopment loan from Oklahoma City. The program offers financing to help clean up abandoned buildings with environmental hazards using federal funding. Part of the brownfields funding for the Dowell Center came from a chunk of federal stimulus money awarded to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We don’t like empty buildings in this city and the Dowell Center is certainly a featured building in Oklahoma City,” said Chris Varga, brownfields coordinator for Oklahoma City. “It’s a nice skyscraper and it would be great to have that place active again and have it full of people.”

09-08-2010, 08:52 AM
Where is this parking garage? The only garage I see is the one Sandridge said they were going to tear down to make their new activity center.

09-09-2010, 05:38 PM
Walk from a city garage!