SandRidge Energy tower to sell for $35.5 million
Mark Beffort, whose property group owns several of downtown's largest office properties, is set to buy the SandRidge Energy headquarters in a deal that is being looked at as a home for several state agencies, The Oklahoman has learned.
The buyer's identity was not disclosed by SandRidge Energy, which did not return calls and emails. SandRidge has laid off the bulk of its staff and employs about one person for each of the tower’s floors. The company announced in a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to remain a “going concern” with an agreement reached Friday to sell the building for $35.5 million.
Sources have told The Oklahoman the tower is being bought by a group led by Beffort on behalf of the Commissioners of the Land Office as an investment expected to generate revenue for schools with tenants being state agencies relocated from privately owned locations or state-owned offices.
Beffort confirmed his Robinson-Park group is buying the property, which will include the Broadway-Kerr Parking Garage purchased by SandRidge in 2011 from the city for $8.6 million. At the time, SandRidge's then-CEO Tom Ward was pursuing a growth strategy to employ 2,000 downtown.
Sources have told The Oklahoman the tower purchase is tied to House Bill 2840, which calls for the Department of Environmental Quality to sell its building at 707 N Robinson Ave. and for the agency to move into an unspecified property along with Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Department of Labor and the Department of Mines.
Jessica Grogis, director of communications at the Land Office, said her agency is not buying the tower and has no deal on where to move the agencies.
“Are we in talks to acquire a property to house state agencies in one campus? Yes we are,” Grogis said. “But we do not have an offer to buy it.”
Beffort has represented SandRidge on past efforts to sell its headquarters and he represented the Commissioners of the Land Office in buying the Robinson Renaissance building, 119 N Robinson Ave., which he now manages.
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“I have talked to the Land Commission about possible use,” Beffort said. “We’re going to buy it whether the Land Commission steps in or not. We are fully committed to acquiring the asset on our own, not as a straw buyer.”
Oklahoma's Commissioners of the Land Office holds property, mostly public lands, and uses those assets to benefit common schools.
The pending sale represents another unexpected twist in the story of the one-time headquarters of Kerr-McGee Corp. That company, once on the Fortune 500 employing hundreds in Oklahoma City, was shut down when it was bought by Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in 2007.
Anadarko then sold the tower along with several other properties and oil holdings to Chesapeake Energy, whose CEO at the time, Aubrey McClendon, sold the tower and adjoining properties for $23 million to Ward, his former partner and co-founder of Chesapeake.
Ward tore down four buildings that were a part of the Kerr McGee campus and spent $100 million renovating the tower, the adjoining Braniff Building, and building a planned amenities building. Both the Braniff and the amenities buildings along with nearby surface parking lots were later sold, leaving SandRidge with just the tower, adjoining parking and the Broadway-Kerr garage.
SandRidge declared bankruptcy in 2016 and has gone through several layoffs since, leaving it with a skeleton presence in the tower. The company announced in February, before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was going to limit its 2020 capital expenditures to “bare essentials.”
In its filing with the SEC, the company reported it closed the headquarters after implementing work from home policies for remaining employees in response to COVID-19.