Widgets Magazine
  • City Council to consider demolition of historic City Jail

    On Tuesday, the City Council will consider a resolution that seeks to start the process to ultimately demolish the old City Jail as well as buildings previously used by Municipal Courts and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

    The entire resolution is as follows:

    The Old City Jail Facility (“Jail Facility”) located at 200 North Shartel Avenue, was built following the issuance of City and County bonds, that were approved in 1935, together with a federal matching grant, which were also used to construct the Civic Center Auditorium, City Hall and Oklahoma County Courthouse. Construction of the old Municipal Court Building ("Court Building") began in 1951 and construction of the old Police Headquarters ("Police HQ") began in 1968, with additions to the building made in 1980 and 1995. None of the three buildings have been designated as a historical preservation site or structure.

    While the structural condition of the Court Building is fair, the interior is in major need of rehabilitation and has had long term issues with the sewer system, the mechanical and electrical systems, the roof and windows, and numerous other issues. Additionally, while the structural condition of the Police HQ is fair, the water, sewer, and electrical systems all need to be replaced and there are numerous other issues with the building as well.

    The six story Jail Facility is comprised of approximately 41,310 square feet with a partial half basement, two elevators, only one of which is operable, with floor plates equaling 6,885 square feet. The floor heights vary in the Jail Facility as floors 1-2 have at least eight feet of ceiling clearance and floors 3-6 only have a clearance of 6’10”, rendering it difficult and expensive to rehabilitate.

    On July 1, 1997 (Item VIII.I 1. and 2.), the City entered into a Jail Services Agreement with the Board of County Commissioners of Oklahoma County and Sheriff of Oklahoma County, effective July 1, 1997 to house prisoners that were arrested on City charges. After July 1, 1997, the Jail Facility was no longer used to house persons arrested on City charges; however, the City Marshal’s Office did continue to occupy office space in part of the Jail Facility until June 14, 2013.

    The 2007 General Obligation Bond provided for construction of a new Police Headquarters and a new Municipal Court Building. The new Police Headquarters opened in 2015 and the new Municipal Court Building opened in 2017.

    On June 20, 2017, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was advertised to redevelop the Jail Facility, which resulted in only one proposal being submitted by Gator Industrial, LLC, even though eighty-nine potential proposers viewed the RFP online. On November 7, 2017, the City Council rejected the proposal from Gator Industrial, LLC for the redevelopment of the Jail Facility and authorized staff to re-advertise the RFP. A redevelopment group called Allied Redevelopment L.L.C., headed by local developer Marva Ellard, submitted a response to the readvertisement.

    A Review Committee consisting of representatives from the Planning, Police, Finance, and Public Works Departments, along with representatives from the City Manager’s Office and Municipal Counselor’s Office reviewed the proposal and submitted follow-up questions to the prospective developer regarding their plans for the Jail Facility. After much review and deliberation, the Review Committee recommended designating the developer as the conditional redeveloper of the Jail Facility.

    On April 10, 2018 (Item VII.AI.), City Council approved a resolution to conditionally designate Allied Redevelopment L.L.C. as a potential and conditional redeveloper of the Jail Facility described above, subject to the final determination and approval of the Mayor and Council. The Resolution authorized and directed the City Manager or his designee(s) to conduct negotiations with the conditionally designated redeveloper for a period of ninety (90) days in an attempt to reach an agreement as to development plans, financing arrangements, price contingencies, and other terms and conditions, and if satisfactory, present an economic development contract to the Mayor and Council for review for the sale of land and the redevelopment of the Jail Facility. Allied Redevelopment L.L.C. was not able to reach an agreement with the City Manager or his designee(s) as of May 1st, 2019 and Allied Redevelopment L.L.C. did not meet the requirement to have a proposal ready to submit to Council within the 90 day period.

    The construction of the new Municipal Courts Building and the new Oklahoma City Police Headquarters caused the loss of at least 235 parking spaces for the City’s public safety campus. There is a critical need for parking to support the City’s five-building public safety campus, consisting of the Communications/911 Center, Municipal Court/Criminal Justice Center, Police Headquarters, Police Property Facility and Police Forensic Laboratories. The demolition of the old Police HQ Building, the old Courts Building and Jail Facility would provide an estimated 166 additional surface parking spaces. Funding has been set aside to demolish the no longer needed structures.

    City staff, based on its analysis of the structures and the demonstrated need for additional parking for the expanding public safety campus, is ready to proceed with demolition of the former Police HQ Building, the Jail Facility, and the old Court Building. Based on experience, it is very likely the City will realize significant savings through bidding all three demolition projects through the same competitive bidding process.

    Adoption of this resolution authorizes the City Manager or his designee(s) to apply for a Certificate of Approval from the Downtown Design Review Committee to demolish the Jail Facility, old Police HQ and old Court Building.

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