Still standing

In October, Standley, one of Oklahoma’s largest office equipment and software companies, opened its doors at 26 E. Main St. The two-story, 10,000-square-foot building was constructed in 1928. Standley was founded in 1934 as a manual typewriter and 10-key adding machine sales company. Fred Standley, the company’s founder, wanted something more than just another sales pitch; he wanted a reputation for being a reliable company.

Standley now offers a full line of office software and machinery that goes well beyond the Stone Age products of the past.

Tim Elliott, CEO of the family-owned business, says he chose Bricktown because “it is a fun and exciting place to be.”

With its proximity to the central business district and major highways, Elliott says the Bricktown office makes it easily accessible to clients.

The company purchased the building for $897,500. Sherman Iron Works is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the company’s owners had to maintain the building’s historic facade before opening for business. The entrance and tile floor are just like they were in 1928.

“We hired a preservation architect that could help us through that process,” Elliott says. “It goes through both the state and federal process for approval. Our process was pretty smooth.”

But there were a few bumps in the road with windows and doors. Elliott wanted to replace the old windows, to go with a more energy efficient variety. However, the National Park Service, which oversees the register, didn’t approve the change, and Standley had to refurbish the current windows.

“The door to the east and the Downtown entrance was a concern to NRHP,” Elliott says. “They considered those to be historically significant.”

To keep within historic requirements while still maintaining a modern atmosphere, Standley spent about $1.2 million on the renovations, about $500,000 more than it had planned.

“Everything cost more than anticipated,” Elliott says.

As
part of the new modern feel, the building has a technology portal
featuring a showcase of office machinery from the past and present.

“This really showcases the old, in a 1928 building, and the new and latest technology,” he says.

Andy
Burnett, a commercial real estate broker who handled the sale to
Standley, and president of Burnett Equities LLC, is developing the
building just to the east of Standley into apartments. He says it’s nice
to see a new face in the entertainment district.

“They’ve
been a good corporate citizen in Downtown by taking two buildings that
were fairly dilapidated and bringing them back to life” he says.

Standley also will provide more people in the district who will eat out and spend money in Bricktown.

“The
more daytime population we can achieve in Bricktown, the better the
retail and restaurants will perform,” Burnett says. “The better they
perform, the more retail options we’ll see in the future.”

Jane
Jenkins, president and CEO of Downtown OKC Inc., says the new office
complements Bricktown and the Downtown areas perfectly.

“Bricktown
is more than just an entertainment district; it is mixed use,” she
says. “Employees of offices populate the area during working hours and
create a daytime vibrancy. They are also ‘built-in’ customers for the
entertainment-oriented businesses.”

Standley
brings about 30 jobs to Bricktown with salaries from $15,000 to
$150,000. Elliott says the company plans to grow and add more employees.

“We’re always hiring,” he says. “We hire whenever we can find good people.”

Elliott also thinks the move to Bricktown was beneficial
for everyone involved and says there were no major setbacks or hurdles
with moving into the entertainment district.

“People
like us being there,” he says. “There’s an excitement that goes on.
There’s always something going on outside the building.”

The only challenge the company has experienced is parking. He says parking spaces are limited during lunchtime.

“But there’s a parking challenge anywhere Downtown,” Elliott adds.

While
the Bricktown phase is now complete, Standley has other projects it
expects to complete in the near future, including at its corporate
headquarters in Chickasha.

“We are planning on remodeling our Chickasha location, which consists of three buildings, in the next six months,” he says.

Standley bought a Church of Christ building to remodel as its corporate headquarters.

“We bought an old church and rehabilitated it to keep it from going vacant in downtown Chickasha,” he says.

After the Chickasha project is complete, the company plans to sit back and grow.

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