Widgets Magazine
  • Huge 5 building complex on Classen sells; upgrades planned

    Rick Dowell of Dowell Properties has purchased the former American Fidelity headquarters, along with related land.

    Dowell closed on the purchase this past Monday for $14 million, which includes almost 320,000 square feet of office space, a small strip shopping center, and several surface parking lots located along Classen Boulevard and Western Avenue, between NW 21st and NW 18th. In all, approximately 10 acres of land and 1,000 parking spaces.

    As we were first to report, in July of 2012 American Fidelity purchased the former OPUBCO complex on Broadway Extension and Britton Road and announced plans to relocate their headquarters to that property. The company has been slowly moving employees to the new location as they renovated empty space and after OPUBCO moved to it's new downtown offices in February.

    Dowell said that American Fidelity still occupies 300,000 square feet in the his new acquisition, with three years left on their lease. However, if new tenants are found for the space currently occupied by AF, Dowell said he would release them from their current obligation.

    The sellers were east coast investors Kreigel Eaton, represented by Amy Dunn of CB Richard Ellis. The group had owned the property since 1997.

    Dowell has plans to update the exterior of the offices buildings and may add structured parking on one of the surface lots.

    When American Fidelity announced their plans to relocate, there was great concern that they would leave a hole that would be hard to fill. However, Dowell indicated he already has strong leasing interest and expects to keep the buildings near capacity as American Fidelity migrates their workers to their new complex.

    The office market in Oklahoma City remains very tight and this particular area is surrounded by several key historic neighborhoods and borders the booming Plaza and Uptown districts.

    Dowell owns several buildings in the central core and will soon start renovation of the 20-story Dowell Center in the heart of downtown.

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