View Full Version : Plaza Court Renovations

03-12-2005, 01:15 AM
A new owner may mean new renoations and new life for this famous landmark. But, downtownguy has his reservatinos. View his blog:

Here's the article from today's Oklahoman:

"New owners to breathe life into historic building
By Richard Mize
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's historic but long-empty Plaza Court has new owners, and neighbors hope the building will have new leases on life.
Corsair-Caughron LLC paid $900,000 for the two-story building, constructed in 1927, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

R.D. Smith, a principal, said long-term plans for the building at 1100 Classen Drive include renovations and a return to its historic office-retail use.

Plaza Court's market value was assessed last year at $667,805, according to county records, which list its size as 39,148 square feet. A new assessment is due next week.

Oklahoma Investment Group, the seller, had the property listed as office space for lease for $6.50 per square foot, with tenants paying for utilities and cleaning.

The property's value to the community goes beyond its monetary worth, a fact reflected in its historic status.

The triangular building once was the home of Oklahoma City's first radio station, WKY-AM. It was a former home to Crescent Market, which opened for business on April 22, 1889 -- the day of the Land Run. Veazey's Drug Store once occupied the ground floor.

The sale comes at a time when the area, known as MidTown, is experiencing something of a renaissance, although not without some pain as construction slows traffic to area businesses.

Plaza Court is at the five-way intersection of NW 10, Walker and Classen Drive, which is being repaved as a traffic circle -- one of many improvements the city is making in tandem with changes at St. Anthony Hospital. The hospital, just west of Plaza Court, after flirting with a move to the suburbs, is staying put and expanding.

"That corner is an important focal point for that area," said Joyce Brown, president of the nonprofit MidTown Redevelopment Corp. Inc. "That building is an anchor. We've always been looking forward to it being developed."

Brown said the purchase made sense because at least one of the new owners already owned property around it.

John Hefner, vice president of the MidTown group, said "we in MidTown are cautiously optimistic" that the new owners will restore Plaza Court "to its former beauty."

"It's a linchpin for the area," Hefner said, and its turnaround would spur more investment in the area. Hefner, who owns property nearby at 1305 Classen Drive, said a restored Plaza Court would aid his own efforts to find investors for Georgian-architecture condominiums he envisions for MidTown. "

03-12-2005, 01:17 AM
Here are some comments from downtownguy:

"As for the Plaza Court, that's an interesting development if it's true. The R.D. Smith you speak of does not enjoy a good reputation among some in the MidTown/downtown area. I suggest you look at his properties, some under the name of Cossair Cattle Co., or other names similar to that. His holdings include the old Dorn Office store on Main Street, a longtime eyesore near City Hall."

"Interesting story in the Daily Oklahoman. The Plaza Court building, one of MidTown's most striking landmarks, has been bought by R.D. Smith. The article goes on to detail how Smith is promising to renovate and reopen the property. His track record is mixed. He did just that with the building across the street that is home to Dis Guy's Costume shop. But he also owns the old Dorn office supply store on Main Street, which has stood empty for 20 years or so - even as surrounding properties are renovated and put into good use.

Speaking of Midtown, why is the circle still not done?

- The Downtown Guy"

03-12-2005, 12:46 PM
I see it becoming a neighborhood retail center (grocery, dry cleaning, etc) with a lounge/restaurant on top. It's such a unique building, it should be a neighborhood center. We need more residents there in Midtown, though.

03-12-2005, 06:45 PM
You might get them if they ever finish that circle, which was supposed to be done before the first of the year. Weather caused some postponements, but surely not three months' worth.

03-14-2005, 01:34 PM
That thing requires at least 2.5 million in renovations just to be serviceable, if not more.

I'm skeptical about this group. This reminds me of the many owners of the Skirvin who were going to develop it back to its "original splendor" and then sat on the investment as a tax shelter for years.

I'm not by any means a financial wiz, but the metrics don't look good for the Plaza Court to be renovated unless:

1. There is significant public financial involvement
2. The renovation that is done is very shoddy

I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it.