The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 5, 2013

Ready to build: LodgeWell fully financed; hotel construction delayed by demolition, title work

ENID, Okla. — LodgeWell, developer of a proposed downtown hotel and parking garage, is fully financed and ready to begin, Enid City Manager Eric Benson said Tuesday.

The only thing holding LodgeWell up is uncompleted title work, a survey and actual demolition of the current structures at Maine and Independence — all of which are a responsibility of the city to complete. It could delay closing the deal by another two months.

“LodgeWell is far more disturbed about this than we are,” Benson said, “and we’re very disturbed.”

Demolition on the Kress building and Cherokee Strip Conference Center is estimated to begin around Nov. 22.

The title work was delayed because the land under the structures is made up of 13 or so separate tracts of land. The existing abstracts for those tracts also were difficult to find, city staff told Enid City Commission during an informal study session Tuesday.

After the title work is complete, the property’s surveyor must measure the boundary lines for a second time. That can’t happen until the structures come down, though.

“They can’t close on the survey that we thought was going to be final, because we know that the description is going to change,” said City Attorney Andrea Chism.

Both the commission and city staff seemed unsure as to why the property lines would need resurveying after demolition, and the surveyor contracted to do the work was not present at the meeting to explain.

What’s next

Because the commission approved a contract for demolition, the city is prepared to immediately file a permit with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and work with OG&E to fully remove any utilities from the structures.

Benson said the legwork on both requests already has been done by the city, but he expects he won’t hear back from both for another two weeks.

Then, the demolition firm must secure a bond, prepare equipment and set up.

After the buildings come down, the city then can commission the final survey and close the deal with LodgeWell, which is paying $10 for the land.

In return, LodgeWell will spend $18 million constructing a parking garage and Hilton Garden Inn hotel.

Closing on the land has been delayed once already. In August, the commission approved an extension to allow LodgeWell more time to secure funding.

Benson said Tuesday he has spoken to the financier and said they are ready for the project to begin.

The commission took two votes Tuesday. One was to extend the closing deadline to 30 days beyond demolition. The other authorized a contract with American Demolition, of Tulsa. The bid was to complete demolition within 28 days for a price of $150,550.

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