Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - Another shot for Century Center

Another shot for Century Center

OKC strikes TIF deal with downtown mall developer

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

by Brianna Bailey

The Journal Record

Oklahoma City has negotiated a tax increment financing deal worth up to $2.9 million with developer Stephen Hurst to renovate downtown’s long-vacant Century Center.

Hurst and a group of investors have plans to redo the dated exterior of the empty 1970s-era shopping center with glass and add another 400 parking spaces to the top of the attached parking garage at W. Main Street and Robinson Avenue.

The developers plan to renovate 93,500 square feet of office space and another 6,500 square feet of restaurant or retail space in the mall.

A group of investors using the name 100 Main LLC bought the Century Center for $2 million in May.

The mall had been owned for the past five years by San Diego-based hotelier American Property Management Corp., which purchased it along with the adjacent Sheridan Oklahoma City Hotel for $38.75 million.

Over the years, several different owners of the mall have come up with ideas to redevelop the space into everything from ballroom and meeting halls to additional parking, but plans have never moved forward.

The mall was built in 1977 and was part of a failed Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority plan to revitalize downtown with new shopping centers.

A tentative agreement between the city and Hurst’s group will help finance the redevelopment of the building with $2.1 million in TIF funds and a loan of up to $800,000 that must be repaid.

“The incentives are performance-based,” said Brent Bryant, economic development program manager for the city.

In order for the developers to recoup the money, the renovated mall must have an assessed value of at least $27 million and the office space must be at least 40-percent occupied, he said.

The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, which owns the parking structures on the top two and lower two levels of Century Center, is negotiating a deal with 100 Main to purchase the air rights to build two additional levels of parking on top of the existing garage, said Cathy O’Connor, president and CEO of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Downtown/MAPS Tax Increment Financing Review Committee gave tentative approval to the Century Center TIF deal last week, but the City Council still has to vote on the contract.

Work to clear old furniture and other odds and ends from the empty mall had already begun on Monday. The developer has expressed a desire to move forward with the development as quickly as possible and will probably begin construction by spring 2013, O’Connor said.

Hurst has not revealed what the possible office tenants for the space might be, she said.

Attempts to contact Hurst were unsuccessful. A copy of a presentation Hurst gave to the TIF committee shows drawings of a renovated Century Center with glass storefront-type windows facing the street.

The project would “reposition one of the remaining eyesores and crucial sites in downtown Oklahoma City into a premier corporate location,” according to Hurst’s presentation.