In late 2008, local businessmen Roy Oliver, Mark Beffort, Rand Oliver and Stan Nelson - dba City Place LLC - purchased the 33-story, 329,830-square-foot City Place building at 204 N Robinson Ave. The group of investors paid $4 million to Globe Life and Accident Insurance, which remains a major tenant in the building, along with UMB Bank and Interurban Restaurant.
Work began immediately on the historical office building, with plans to give the Downtown Oklahoma City high-rise a multimillion-dollar makeover. This would include the addition of six luxury residential units to be located on the building's top seven floors, and a parking facility for residents. The new owners hired architects Hans E. Butzer and Jeremy Gardner of Butzer-Gardner to assist in keeping with the quality and significance of the structure's original design during renovations.
"A lot of times, renovating an existing building is far more difficult than just building something from ground up, because you have all of these components that you have to work around and replace," Beffort says.
Entering 2010, City Place remains in renovation mode with significant progress behind the scenes.
"We've decided to make significant improvements to the infrastructure of the building, so as a result, it's kind of delayed us a little bit," Beffort says, adding that all mechanical systems and elevators in the building are being replaced. The elevator contract alone holds a price tag of $1.8 million, and 80% of the work has been completed. Elevator work should be finished by June.
The building's six luxury residential units, each of which will range between 3,200 to 5,000 square feet, are currently under construction. The 32nd and 33rd floors will become one entire unit totaling 5,000 square feet, with 3,000 square feet on one floor and 2,000 on the other. Each of the remaining five floors will consist of one unit per floor. All six units, when completed in late June, will be available for sale.
"A few months ago, we demoed everything and started the build back," Beffort says, adding that interior designer Carson See of Sees Design has been retained to assist with the luxury units, as well as to correct lighting throughout the building's lobby areas. "The first unit will hopefully be done in April, and we anticipate to begin selling the top units in May."
Beffort says the building is gaining interest from prospects wanting to view the residential units. However, he stands firm on not showing any of the units until they are completed.
"Oklahoma City doesn't have anything like this (high-rise residential living) to offer, and we just think that there's going to be some demand for it," he says. "To me, this is going to be the most awesome residential living experience that you can get, similar to what you can get when you're in New York, Chicago or Atlanta or some other 24-hour city. I think Oklahoma City is on the cusp of being ready for that."
Plans are to wrap up construction throughout the building's main lobby by the end of the month.
Construction is underway for the interior parking garage on the east side of the building. Each resident will have access to one space in the garage, which will have an entrance on Park Avenue and exit on Couch Drive.
"We've already submitted our plans to the city for the parking area, and the Downtown Review Committee has made some suggestions, which we're going to do," Beffort says. "So we plan to do more work ... to complete the garage sometime in March."