OKLAHOMA CITY – If the closing goes as scheduled today, the former Bolen Motor Co. building in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley at 1101 N. Broadway Ave. will be purchased by The Banta Companies for $2.4 million.
The seller, BBD Investments LLC, which includes investment partners David Box, Roddy Bates, Mike Dillard and Chris Bolding, purchased the building in June 2004 for $950,000 with plans to transform the property into a 35-unit upscale loft complex above retail or office space. The name of the building was to be changed to The Chandelier.
“We spent a 1 1/2 years on the project,” Box said. “We did everything up to the construction documents. We then looked at how much everything has accelerated downtown – we’ve seen such resurgence in downtown Oklahoma City – we decided to throw out a line. We found out the market was hot and got tons of phone calls.”
He said the partners sat down as a group and decided to sell the property rather than proceed with what promised to be a very expensive renovation.
“It is just one of those deals where everyone is excited about downtown Oklahoma City,” he said. “We think it is a great deal for Greg and not a bad day for us. I wish they were all like that.”
Box said he is excited to see what Greg Banta will do with the 64,000-square-foot building, which he believes makes sense for The Banta Companies’ portfolio.
Banta, chairman and chief executive officer of The Banta Companies, said the four-story vacant building, which was built in 1924, is in a great location and has outstanding architectural features.
“It’s a neat old building,” Banta said. “We have no immediate plans for the building, but we’ll work the city and urban design and will figure out what we can get approved. We’ll run economic models for mixed use and will probably market space sometime by the end of the year.”
Banta said he wants to take his time in deciding on which direction to take the former Bolen Motor Co. building.
“The building has a lot of unique aspects to it and we just want to take our time,” he said.
The Banta Companies has acquired a significant portfolio of properties, primarily in Midtown, including the 1920s Plaza Court building.
“We have to see how all the properties tie in together,” Banta said. “It is time to sit down and do a development plan. The Midtown renaissance is alive and well. We have acquired what we set out to acquire or have the properties under contract. While we’re always looking for opportunities, our plate is pretty full.”
He said a new sewer line and gas line have been installed and the renovation of Plaza Court’s parking lot is complete.
“The new Subway is open for business,” Banta said. “Leasing activity has been tremendous.”
He said his company is making progress on its properties on NW 12th Street and North Francis Avenue, including two older apartment buildings, one at 1217 N. Francis Ave. and one at 1221 N. Francis Ave., which are being converted into office space.
“We’re happy with how that is progressing,” Banta said. “We have signed a lease with a medical group that will be moving into the surgery center at 815 NW 12th St. within the next 60 days. We’re just waiting on permits.”
The Banta Companies has several small condominium units at 909 NW 12th St. Banta said he believes there is a demand for condos in Midtown and downtown Oklahoma City.
“There’s a demand for all types of residential in downtown Oklahoma City,” he said. “A lot of people like the idea of moving downtown. It is fun and exciting. We’re sitting here trying to decide whether to sell our condos or lease them. We just have to decide how we’re going to capitalize our dollars.”