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OKLAHOMA CITY-Cataclysmic growth and the need to consolidate five CBD offices are fueling Devon Energy Corp.’s plan to build a one-million-sf corporate headquarters building. There are still hurdles to clear over the proposed site, but Devon’s plan is to have an estimated $350-million structure ready to occupy in 2012.

“We’re in five locations in Downtown Oklahoma City right now and we’ve really run out of options,” says a Devon Energy spokesman. “We just leased another block of space in the First National Center about a month ago to simply help us sustain our growth.” The company leases 669,668 sf in five buildings in the CBD: its headquarters at 20 N. Broadway Ave., First National Center at 120 N. Robinson Ave., Chase Tower at 100 N. Broadway Ave., Corporate Tower at 101 N. Robinson Ave. and space in a North Broadway Avenue building near Third Street.

Devon held a press conference yesterday to unveil the project although it still has a few hurdles to clear before its preferred site is in hand. Devon has its eye on five acres along Sheridan Avenue, two blocks west of its headquarters. The land is owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, which is required to issue a request for development proposals for the site. According to the local media, the request will be floated in one week.

If Devon wins development rights, it also must work out a parking agreement with the authority. In one published account, an official says City Center Garage could end up with additional floors to supplement the proposed building’s underground parking spaces.

Tim Strange, managing director with Sperry Van Ness-Oklahoma City, says the energy company had few options for expansion without going to the suburbs, given the dwindling amount of class A space in the CBD. “We’re not in single-digit occupancy Downtown, but a lot of the space available is class C obsolete space,” he observes. “Their options are becoming fewer for expansion in buildings closer to their headquarters.”

Strange tells GlobeSt.com that the selected site has many advantages for Devon, particularly its central location. Furthermore, the company is taking a site that will anchor an expansion dubbed “Core to Shore,” which will extend the CBD south to the shore of the Oklahoma River. “That will be the first development in the Core to Shore expansion if it’s approved,” Strange says. “It’s a beautiful site, and it obviously indicates Devon’s support for the concept.”

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