First request for $ 11 million national loan for hotel product after OKC approval



a Loan request of $ 11 million to complete the financing The First National redevelopment will take place after questions posed by the Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday about hotel employee salaries.

The Section 108 loan has yet to be negotiated with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and go through final city council approval. The loan is tied to job creation, on condition that the hotel, to be called The National, employs at least 220 full-time staff.

The loan is part of a mix of tax increase financing (TIF) and tax credits requested by developers Gary Brooks and Charlie Nicholas as they renovate and convert the historic 1931 art deco tower into a mix retail, a 146-room hotel and 193 apartments.

$ 11 million loan request:First National developers seek funding for downtown OKC hotel

The loan application, unanimously approved by city council on Tuesday, required their approval before it could move to HUD.

Brent Bryant, the city’s chief financial officer, told city council that development funding has been difficult and has been restructured to create separate funding for the hotel and apartments.

“It was a very difficult project to do,” said Bryant. “We knew this from the creation of the TIF district. The search for funding for this was difficult.

The $ 11 million loan, if approved, will help purchase fixtures, furnishings and equipment for the hotel, as well as incidental costs such as architectural, engineering, and other costs. and legal.

Section 108 loans are supported by federal community development grants allocated to the city. The city’s Section 108 borrowing capacity is $ 16,626,900, according to the most recently viewed publication by HUD in March 2021 and the proposed hotel loan represents 66% of the city’s borrowing capacity. article 108 of the city.

Following:The ups and downs of First National

Board members James Cooper, JoBeth Hamon and Nikki Nice have all indicated that they are interested not only in job creation but also in wages.

“It’s one thing to have a job,” Cooper said. “It’s another to have a job where you can afford to pay your food and rent. ”

Brooks asked to be tried on his background.

“Our commitment to identify, train and hire low-income workers and our often overlooked friends and neighbors started here in 2017,” Brooks said. “We have partnered with Rose State College to create and fund training and certification courses for asbestos workers, providing them with new life skills. We have hired many First Step Recovery workers, some of whom are now an integral part of our team. “

The new completed parking tower for First National faces Broadway just south of Park Avenue.  The garage is slated to open next month as work continues on converting the historic 1931 tower into a hotel and apartments.

Brooks has also worked with the Curbside Chronicle and the Homeless Alliance to create opportunities for those in need of housing and employment.

“We are committed to continuing this type of industry training, life skills coaching and mentoring support to help people become the best they can be,” said Brooks. “It’s part of our DNA, it’s part of the way we think, it’s part of the way we operate.”

The First National Center housed the First National Bank until the bank went bankrupt in 1985. After being sold from one out-of-state owner to another, the 1 million square foot property was no longer occupied. than 20% when utilities were closed. in receivership in 2016.

City Councilor Mark Stonecipher called the $ 275 million redevelopment “one of the most difficult in the city’s history.”

“It makes the Skirvin simple,” Stonecipher said. “There are a lot of bullets in the air, a lot of things going on and a lot of moving parts… Either we have a vacant building or we all move out together and do something really great for our city.”

Editor-in-Chief Steve Lackmeyer is a 31-year-old journalist, columnist, and author who covers downtown Oklahoma City, related urban development and economics for The Oklahoma. Contact him at [email protected] Please support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a subscription today at


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