The Downtown Tax Increment Financing Review Committee approved OPUBCOs request for $1.5 million in economic development funds from the TIF 8 economic development fund, informally known as the Devon TIF.
The proposal next will go before the Oklahoma City Council for final approval. It would be the first project to be partially financed by the Devon TIF, from which $24 million is set aside to lure corporate headquarters downtown.
Earlier this month, OPUBCO announced plans to move from its current location at 9000 N. Broadway into the Century Center building, a former shopping center largely vacant for decades.
Oklahoman publisher Christopher Reen said the company had eyed several options for relocation, but ultimately decided to return downtown, which it had left 20 years ago.
Reen said the idea is to create the media environment of the future at Century Center. Glass walls would allow the public to see the first-floor newsroom at work, while a large display screen and ticker along the exterior would serve as a sort of modern-day town crier.
OPUBCO estimates show that around $2.9 million in tenant improvements and around $4.1 million in other expenditures will be necessary to complete the move. The city economic development money will help offset the costs of the furniture, fixtures and equipment, according to Cathy OConnor, head of the Alliance for Economic Development.
Last May, OPUBCO sold its current campus, including a 12-story tower, to American Fidelity Assurance Company. Since that sale, the publishing company has occupied about 95,000 square feet of the 250,000-square-foot space.
It plans to use 67,000 square feet at the Century Center location.