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Future uncertain for collapsed Film Row building

A one-story building along Film Row that collapsed during Friday’s storms was set to be redeveloped for a law firm.

Andy Burnett and Jeff Johnson, who have redeveloped several historic and older buildings downtown, bought the property at 631 W California for $259,000 in June, 2016 from a seller who had bought it for $125,000 just a year earlier.

Burnett said he was surprised the building  collapsed, though he was aware it had no roof when it was purchased. He said the building was inspected when it was purchased and again two weeks ago and Burnett said he had no reason to fear the building would collapse.

“We had been trying to decide if we wanted to add two floors or not,” Burnett said. “We didn’t want to roof it until we had finished our architectural plans.”

The next step, Burnett said, is to meet with a mason and engineer on Monday and to keep the redevelopment on track.

“We bought it because of what was coming to the area,” Burnett said. “We planned on redeveloping it. We struck a deal with a law firm to move their offices and we were very excited about it. We felt like that would have been a good addition to the neighborhood, not just another bar and restaurant.”

Burnett and Johnson redeveloped the Mideke Building in Bricktown, while Burnett was originally partnered on The Steelyard, is a partner in the West Village on Film Row development, and also the restoration of the Pioneer Building on Broadway.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Burnett said. “We are good neighbors. We do not buy things and tear them down. We restore historic properties.”

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›