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SandRidge closes deal to sell landmark tower, but future office location still in question

SandRidge's former office tower. The company closed on its plans to sell the property earlier this month. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]
SandRidge's former office tower. The company closed on its plans to sell the property earlier this month. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]

SandRidge Energy banked about $35.4 million through the sale of its corporate tower and associated annex to the state of Oklahoma.

The proceeds enabled SandRidge to “significantly” reduce its net debt and ensure its continued operation into the future, the company stated in an announcement reporting the sale had closed.

However, it wasn't clear where the company will do so, at least not yet.

Elliot Chambers, secretary of the Commissioners of the Land Office, said Monday the company will be leaving the property soon.

"SandRidge is preparing to vacate the property and will not stay on as a permanent tenant," Chambers said, adding that various state agencies are making plans to move into the space "in the near future."

State officials have said they expected the tower at 123 Robert S. Kerr Avenue could be the new home of the Tax Commission, Tourism and Recreation Department, Department of Health and other state agencies.

"Our office will provide more information as we finalize and get closer to a move in date," Chambers said.

The block, bordered by Robinson, Broadway, Robert S. Kerr and Dean A. McGee Avenues, was initially developed by Kerr-McGee, a hometown-established energy company that grew into a global force before being acquired by Anadarko Petroleum in 2006.

While Anadarko’s acquisition of Kerr-McGee briefly raised concerns about the block’s future, they were quickly extinguished when SandRidge, then led by former Chesapeake Energy executive Tom Ward, bought the property in 2007 for $22.3 million as part of a three-way deal involving SandRidge, Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko.

SandRidge obtained a 512-space, on-site garage, three older adjoining buildings and three surface parking lots along Broadway in addition to the tower, at the time.

Under Ward’s leadership, the company began to work on redeveloping the block to create “SandRidge Commons,” replacing four older, mostly dilapidated structures with landscaped plazas and renovating the Braniff Building.

SandRidge also built a new building at 120 Robert S. Kerr Ave., and later sold it and the Braniff Building to other owners.

While SandRidge had 1,878 full-time employees at the end of 2014, including 661 at its Oklahoma City headquarters, it has been steadily reducing its workforce since then.

In January 2016, the company had just 717 employees, including 376 in Oklahoma City.

After emerging from bankruptcy in October 2016, it had about 630 employees, including 350 at its Oklahoma City headquarters.

By July 2019, SandRidge only had about 280 employees after another round of layoffs.

Job cuts at SandRidge in 2020 continued, with the company announcing in February it would cut half of its 120 employees in Oklahoma City. It followed that with another cut of 33 additional jobs, just weeks after the arrival of Carl F. Giesler Jr., its latest CEO.

As of June 30, the company said it had $59 million of outstanding debt and about $15 million of cash on hand.

Jack Money

Jack Money has worked for The Oklahoman for more than 20 years. During that time, he has worked for the paper’s city, state, metro and business news desks, including serving for a while as an assistant city editor. Money has won state and regional... Read more ›