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  1. #201

    Default Re: First National Update!

    I am saying that if he fulfills his dreams and promises then it will be a different stories by the officials that did not show up.

  2. Default Re: First National Update!

    So if they have increased their tenant base 3 fold, they should have also increased their intake on rent by AT LEAST that much. So why are we not seeing more being done with that money. If he can show that new money is being used to pay off previous owner debts or something, that might change some opinions. I can understand the need to get the non-sexy stuff done first too. You need infrastructure before you do the pretty. But at some point, people want to see something. And taking out marble to put in ceramic or linoleum or something....that's going the wrong way. Start with the first TENANT floor and work up or something. The lobby can be addressed later because the tenant floors are where the people WORK all day long and see it.

    And FYI - the structure of the building ensures that it will NEVER be a competitor with someone like Leadership Square. FNC is a small floorplan building until you get over to the monstrosity crap of the additions. And I'd just assume see them razed and rebuilt to match the origional building.

  3. #203

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Article in today's Journal Record that the ownership group of FNC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

    http://journalrecord.com/2010/10/08/...11-bankruptcy/

    I wonder how this will impact their stated intention to fight against foreclosure and possible sheriff's sale?

  4. #204

    Default Re: First National Update!

    First National owners file for bankruptcy
    By Steve Lackmeyer
    Published: October 8, 2010

    Read more: http://newsok.com/first-national-own...#ixzz11oB8fdXx

    Owners of downtown Oklahoma City's landmark First National Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday evening, just hours before a scheduled receivership hearing in Oklahoma County District Court.

    California bankruptcy court documents show First National I and First National II — investment groups led by Milbank Real Estate Chief Executive Officer Aaron Yashouafar — reporting liabilities between $10 million and $50 million.

    "We are committed to our investment and our promise of supporting the downtown Oklahoma City business community," Yashouafar said in a statement today. "Ownership of First National Center is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our tenants' leases remain secure and building operations will continue without interruption. This reorganization permits us to address the lender's issues while continuing to renovate and lease this historic building."

    Yashouafar spent much of the summer battling a foreclosure by Capmark Bank before Oklahoma County District Court Judge Vicki Robertson ruled in favor of Capmark and ordered both sides to agree on a receiver.

    The receivership hearing scheduled for this morning was canceled.

    The First National partnerships led by Yashouafar purchased the property in 2006 for $21 million.

  5. #205

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Walked around FNC a bit yesterday...

    I was actually suprised by how many businesses are operating in the arcade. Two or three restaurants, a large and nice gift store, a tourism center, a pharmacy, etc. Looks like they are about 75% leased.

    However, the renovation started through there has been left in the lurch. The ceiling is torn up in the western section and unfinished. The floor (very plain) has been replaced in that area but doesn't tie into the remainder. Would look much better if they would just finish what they started and continue on when they have more funds.

    Also, the Great Banking Hall was being prepped for a big Halloween event of some sort. Nice to see it being put to use.

  6. #206

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Capmark seeks control: First National lender claims owners won’t be able to emerge from Chapter 11
    By Brianna Bailey
    Journal Record
    Oklahoma City reporter - Contact 405-278-2847
    Posted: 09:19 PM Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    OKLAHOMA CITY – Capmark Bank claims the out-of-state owners of downtown’s landmark First National Center owe more on the property than it is actually worth and will be unable to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy because its largest tenant, Devon Energy, plans to move out when construction is completed on its new 50-story world headquarters.

    Capmark, First National’s lender, is asking a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to allow it to continue to try to gain control of the center through the state court system on the grounds the buildings’ owners have no equity in the property and will not be able to reorganize, according to a motion filed Dec. 3 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

    Capmark claims the nearly 80-year-old art deco First National Center at 120 N. Robinson Ave. is worth significantly less than the $21 million balance of the note on the building.

    U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Niles L. Jackson has yet to rule on the matter.

    Capmark was in the process of foreclosing on First National and an Oklahoma District Court judge was about to appoint a receiver to take over day-to-day operations at the property when the center’s owners filed for bankruptcy in October.

    Devon leases about 41 percent of the occupied space in the First National Center and accounts for about 50 percent of the monthly rental revenue on the property, Capmark claims.

    Capmark claims in court documents that the energy company’s lease expires in September 2013. Devon leases about 227,835 square feet of office space in First National. The company plans to move all of its employees into its new building two blocks away from First National after the construction on the building wraps up at the end of 2012, said Alesha Leemaster, a spokeswoman for Devon.

    “We have not been asked to help to find new tenants there and it would not be appropriate for us to do so at this time,” Leemaster said.

    The company has been in communication with the owners of several downtown office buildings where it leases space about its intentions to build a new headquarters since 2008, she said.

    Capmark is also fighting First National’s owners’ ability to renew its tenant’s leases and enter into new leases. Capmark has filed an objection with the bankruptcy court to First National’s request to enter into new leases with tenants on the property.

    Several First National tenants’ leases have expired or are about to expire at the end of December, according to court documents. First National’s owners filed a motion in November, requesting permission from the court to enter into new leases with its tenants, after it was unable to come to an agreement on its leasing program with Capmark.

    “The debtors are concerned that any further delay in the debtor’s ability to renew existing leases or enter into new leases for space within the property will result in the loss of current and prospective tenants,” First National said in court documents.

    Capmark has objected to First National’s leasing program because it lacked adequate credit checks for potential tenants and restrictions on tenant improvements, among other reasons, according to court documents.

    The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, which leases about 2,700 square feet of office space at First National, has a lease that expired on Oct. 31.

    The nonprofit has had its offices at First National for more than a decade and has no plans to leave, foundation director Emily Stratton said. The organization is in the process of negotiating a new lease, she said.

    “We love being in this building and we hope everything comes together smoothly,” Stratton said. “This is kind of a nerve center of downtown.”

    The Oklahoma Department of Securities’ lease on more than 11,400 square feet of office space at First National expires on Dec. 31. The state agency has no plans to move and intends to renew its lease at First National, administrator Irving Faught said Tuesday.

    The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, which takes up about 3,200 square feet of office space at First National, also had a lease that expired on Nov. 30, according to court documents. The commission has renewed its lease through the end of the year through the state’s leasing office and also does not intend to move, said Elaine Spell, chief operating officer for the commission.

    Calls to Los Angeles attorneys David Neale and Juliet Oh, who are representing First National’s owners in the bankruptcy, were not immediately returned on Tuesday. Aaron Yashouafar, chief executive of Los Angeles-based Milbank Real Estate, which is part of the partnerships that own the First National Center, also could not immediately be reached for comment.

    The partnerships First National Building I and First National Building II, both associated with Milbank Real Estate, bought the First National Center in 2006 for $21 million.

  7. Default Re: First National Update!

    Once Devon is out, really, we need to get the place gutted. Take out all of the office space, and rebuild for each tenant as you go. The place is class C folks...and the floorplans are so incredibly small. You really have to have an entire floor to make it of any use to something other than a small office (like a lawyer). If they don't find a way to re-design the floor plans, the building will simply continue to falter with each owner until someone finally closes the place down and abandons it. We'll have to have a Maps4 to he re-hab the place by then.

  8. #208

    Default Re: First National Update!

    If someone presents a plan that doesn't involve converting FNC to housing then it isn't a serious plan. The owners of Park Harvey, Montgomery, City Place, and other potential downtown housing buildings need to get together and build a dedicated parking garage with shuttle service. They should buy the east tower of the City Garage and add 10 stories to it. Leave the existing 5 stories for current parking needs and use the 10 new floors for their residents.

  9. #209

    Default Re: First National Update!

    <sigh>

    They simply overpaid and underestimated how much non-cosmetic work needed/needs to be done.

    Plus, their other properties are floundering (a big condo project in downtown L.A. was foreclosed upon) and seems like they are just out of money in general.

    I think the best hope is that there is foreclosure then someone more sensible buys at a more reasonable cost. And remember, the tower itself is only a fraction of the office space in this complex. The other space is not so chopped up but obviously needs work.

    I don't think parking is a big issue as most the larger buildings downtown don't own any either. Devon just added to ton of more spaces and that frees up a lot in the city lots.

  10. #210

    Default Re: First National Update!

    First National owners dispute Capmark claims
    By Brianna Bailey
    Journal Record
    Oklahoma City reporter - Contact 405-278-2847
    Posted: 01:35 PM Monday, January 10, 2011

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The owners of downtown’s First National Center are fighting their lender’s attempts to gain control of the nearly 80-year-old tower in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

    In court documents filed last week, First National’s owners said lender Capmark Bank’s assertion that the center is worth less than the $21 million mortgage on the property is not supported by the actual facts.

    First National claims in court documents that the historic downtown center at 120 N. Robinson Ave., famed for its art deco facade, is about 56-percent occupied and has a positive cash flow.

    An independent appraiser recently pegged the First National Center’s value at about $26 million, the center’s owners claim.

    First National’s owners claim to have more than $3.8 million in equity on the property. The center’s owners also have doubled occupancy and made more than $8.5 million in improvements on the property over the past four years, according to court documents.

    First National’s Los Angeles-based owners also rejected Capmark Bank’s claims that the center will not be able to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, because its largest tenant, Devon Energy, plans to move out when construction is completed on its new 50-story world headquarters.

    “Even if Devon elects to move out of the property at the expiration of its lease on or about September 30, 2013, the debtors have nearly three years to find replacement tenants for Devon’s space,” California real estate investor Simon Barlava, one of First National’s owners, said in a letter to the court.

    Recent court documents also reveal that First National has reached an agreement with Capmark on an expedited process for approving new and renewed leases at the downtown center. The two parties had previously squabbled over leasing terms at the center.

    The partnerships First National Building I and First National Building II, both linked with Los Angeles-based Milbank Real Estate, bought the First National Center in 2006 for $21 million.

    An Oklahoma County District Court judge ruled in 2010 that First National’s owners had defaulted on their mortgage. Capmark Bank was in the process of foreclosing on First National and the Oklahoma County judge was about to appoint a receiver to take over day-to-day operations at the property when the center’s owners filed for bankruptcy in October.

    Capmark Bank has filed a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to gain control of the property.

  11. #211

    Default Re: First National Update!

    I guess the good news is that Milbank really wants to keep the property and obviously sees a future for it.

    If they've put $8.5 million into the place, I'm sure it is worth than $21 million.

  12. #212

    Default Re: First National Update!

    They've put $8.5m into it? Where?
    I see some renovations being done but nothing close to what I thought would be $8.5m...

  13. #213

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    If someone presents a plan that doesn't involve converting FNC to housing then it isn't a serious plan. The owners of Park Harvey, Montgomery, City Place, and other potential downtown housing buildings need to get together and build a dedicated parking garage with shuttle service. They should buy the east tower of the City Garage and add 10 stories to it. Leave the existing 5 stories for current parking needs and use the 10 new floors for their residents.
    Well it would be easier if COTPA just expanded the garages themselves. They have an outmoded formula they use to determine how much parking they need based solely on office needs. They should be pursuing deals with developers.

    I agree that residential or hotel are probably the only way the First National comes back to life. I think the council is wanting to do a Skirvin-like deal, but they can't use the same money which won't be repaid until the Skirvin is sold off. So anything that we've done before is off the table.

  14. #214

    Default Re: First National Center

    I have a feeling that MillBank is just tying the foreclosure up in court. Think about it; Devon is their constant revenue stream coming in that is paying their mortgage. I think after Devon is gone then they will let it fall into foreclosure. They are a California based company and clearly don’t understand the market. Hopefully a local investor or group will take it over and give it the attention it deserves! Or for God sakes a local commercial real estate broker! Hopefully most of you have been in the old bank lobby on the 2nd floor west side. It is so beautiful in there, but clearly needs some TLC.

    And please don’t get me started on the façade on the north facing center annex. Absolutely hideous. Although I hear Casey Cornett is a fan of the mustard colored panels!

  15. Default Re: First National Center

    I think we all would love to see someone local take the place, but that's been the problem...no one local wants it. I agree on the facade too, all the additions are HORRIBLE!!!!! If you ever saw a need to re-facade something, that's it. Please please please refacade to match the tower!

  16. #216

    Default Re: First National Center

    I'm afraid that this structure/complex will be one of the last things to get any major improvements downtown.

    As downtown continues to improve, at some point it will make economic sense to plow in the needed millions for a major renovation and still be able to make the thing cash flow.

    Unfortunately, this is about the third or fourth pass at this and it just doesn't seem to be economically viable, i.e. investors can't get enough rent to justify a major investment in renovations.

    At least the place is still open. Like the Skirvin, it will have it's day once again but it's sad to say we are all probably going to have to wait another five years or so.

  17. #217

    Default Re: First National Center

    I have never understood how they would be able to make it work as offices.

  18. #218

    Default Re: First National Center

    Tear down the expansion, put in a join venture parking garage for all downtown housing, and convert the FNC to residential/hotel.

  19. #219

    Default Re: First National Center

    The problem is that the tower itself doesn't have much square footage. I'm sure the large majority of the rent they receive is in the expansion which represents about 70% of the total area in the complex and contains all the retail space, which is amazingly pretty full.

  20. #220

    Default Re: First National Center

    The retail can stay. The 909 Walnut Building in Kansas City is very similar and they were able to get 159 units out of it plus 70,000 sq feet of office space

    If they took out the expansion they could put in a 15 story parking garage and offer spaces to other downtown housing developments. They could then use the roof for tennis courts, swiming pool, and garden space (not garden for food, but garden for relaxing).





  21. Default Re: First National Center

    Well again, the expansion is where they are making the money. The tower is the gem, but it's not where the cash is. So if they tear down the expansion, there goes the funding that is keeping the place from closing it's doors....as ugly as it is.

    The tower itself is in need of updating of it's services though as well. The whole place badly needs to be gutted and started over from scratch. Electrical, water, etc. The services aren't adequate for the needs of today...hell the place is almost 100 years old, of course it's not adequate. The place simply wasn't built to provide what is needed today...like enough electricity at each outlet for a person's desk (computer and the like) that would have once powered the lighting for the whole suite. They have managed to jerry-rig it to make it "work" but it's still not good...it's not stable.

    Trouble is, like Pete says, there's not a market need for that to happen. It's class B at best and really I'd put it at C (Tower). And while Continental is filling up Mid-America, Devon is still leaving a large hole in the other buildings it occupied. So as long as the office space downtown isn't at a premium, you aren't going to see it happen. There has to be a reasonable ROI in the place.

    I'm wondering if it would be better for the city to step in like they did with the Skirvin. Step in and buy the gem so it doesn't go down the toilet. They managed to do a wonderful job with the Skirvin, and I think they could do a similarly good job with FNC. It would create a return for sure, and not being privately funded, it would actually happen NOW instead of some blow-hard from a coast waiting to sink anything in it.

  22. #222

    Default Re: First National Center

    For crying out loud - it must suck being a defeatist. Even if the expansion is the money making portion, it isn't making enough money because every owner goes broke. They need to go to plan B; residential/hotel.

  23. Default Re: First National Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    For crying out loud - it must suck being a defeatist. Even if the expansion is the money making portion, it isn't making enough money because every owner goes broke. They need to go to plan B; residential/hotel.
    I think downtown needs more high rise residential but I don't like the idea of first national in that regard. It's a huge office building and after seeing what XTO was able to do with 5 or 6 century old buildings in dt ftw, I think it still has potential as an office building. Either way the whole tower needs to be gutted and redone to fit modern needs. It is a very recognizable tower on the downtown skyline, if it was class A office space I think it would be an easy sell and would lease up fairly quickly.

    As far as tearing down the expansion to build a parking structure, why? There is a parking structure connected on main that spans almost half a block. I think the facades should just be renovated.

  24. #224

    Default Re: First National Center

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiAlpha View Post
    As far as tearing down the expansion to build a parking structure, why? There is a parking structure connected on main that spans almost half a block. I think the facades should just be renovated.
    It is surprising how much of that block is owned by Milbank, but the parking garage is not one of them. It is owned by someone else.

    However, something like this would be the ultimate parking garage downtown.



    Here is what $6 million will get you.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11423051

  25. #225

    Default Re: First National Center

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    Well again, the expansion is where they are making the money. The tower is the gem, but it's not where the cash is. So if they tear down the expansion, there goes the funding that is keeping the place from closing it's doors....as ugly as it is.

    The tower itself is in need of updating of it's services though as well. The whole place badly needs to be gutted and started over from scratch. Electrical, water, etc. The services aren't adequate for the needs of today...hell the place is almost 100 years old, of course it's not adequate. The place simply wasn't built to provide what is needed today...like enough electricity at each outlet for a person's desk (computer and the like) that would have once powered the lighting for the whole suite. They have managed to jerry-rig it to make it "work" but it's still not good...it's not stable.

    Trouble is, like Pete says, there's not a market need for that to happen. It's class B at best and really I'd put it at C (Tower). And while Continental is filling up Mid-America, Devon is still leaving a large hole in the other buildings it occupied. So as long as the office space downtown isn't at a premium, you aren't going to see it happen. There has to be a reasonable ROI in the place.

    I'm wondering if it would be better for the city to step in like they did with the Skirvin. Step in and buy the gem so it doesn't go down the toilet. They managed to do a wonderful job with the Skirvin, and I think they could do a similarly good job with FNC. It would create a return for sure, and not being privately funded, it would actually happen NOW instead of some blow-hard from a coast waiting to sink anything in it.
    The city won't be able to step in like they did with the Skirvin for another 20 years, UNLESS Hilton sells the Skirvin to another operator. Only in that case Marcus Hotels would repay the lone instantly and the city could reinvest that into the FNC. But there would definitely be a consensus for doing that, it's an idea that is gaining traction. They talked about it at a city council meeting I attended before I left, in fact.

    I think there are a LOT of people right now that would rather find money for the FNC than $50M for an unspecified national hotel chain to build a convention hotel. What if they chose the Cox site (still a bad idea, IMO) and decided to use the FNC as the convention hotel? It is .5 blocks away. Just a crazy idear.

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