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OKLAHOMA CITY-Three years into the hold, an East Coast investment group has sold the 236,446-sf Bank of Oklahoma Plaza and adjacent parking garage to a local partnership for $15.8 million. Word on the street is the buyer plans to invest up to $3.5 million to upgrade the 35-year-old office building.

Gramercy Capital Corp. of New York City was set to inherit the building at 201 Robert Kerr St. when it acquires Jenkintown, PA-based American Financial Realty Trust in March. The class B-plus asset was already tagged as non-core by Gramercy, according to an SEC filling.

The buyer of record is BOKP Investors LLC, which is led by William Mee of Oklahoma City. Craig Tucker, senior vice president of local firm, Price Edwards & Co., brokered the sale. He didn’t return a telephone call by press time seeking comment on the transaction.

American Financial paid $20.5 million in May 2005 for the asset. Although the seller ended up taking a loss on the transaction, Mark Beffort, principal with Grubb & Ellis/Levy Beffort in Oklahoma City, says it doesn’t reflect on the value of the 98%-occupied asset.

Beffort wasn’t involved in the transaction, but is familiar with the buyers. He points out that the building has a stable lead tenant in the Bank of Oklahoma, which is part of BOK Financial Corp. Its roster includes other financial professionals and attorneys. Additionally, the building houses early adapters within the telecommunications industry, meaning it’s wired for advanced data networks, cabling, cooling systems and other amenities necessary for a data center.

“From an investment standpoint, the building really has some financial security,” Beffort tells GlobeSt.com. “I think this was probably a little overpriced when they paid for it a couple of years ago.” He adds the price difference isn’t quite so pronounced given what the new owner is rumored to be investing into its upgrades.

Beffort says he knows for a fact that the buyer has taken control with a renegotiated long-term lease from the Bank of Oklahoma. “When you look at the individuals involved, and their other real estate deals, they’ve typically held properties for a significant amount of time,” he says. “They’re probably going into this with the idea that they’ll keep it for awhile.”

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