BOK readies move to new towerPublished: Friday, December 1, 2017 By: Molly M. Fleming Source: The Journal Record
Bank of Oklahoma employees will end their year packing their offices in preparation for a move in 2018.
The bank is moving 250 people into BOK Park Plaza, 499 W. Sheridan Ave., from the BOK Commerce Center at May Avenue and Britton Road, and BOK Plaza, 201 Robert S. Kerr Ave. Those employees will be working on floors 24, 25, 26, and 27. They are from the commercial lending department, wealth group, and financial securities group.
“The three groups are the primary marketing arm of the bank,” said John Higginbotham, Oklahoma City CEO. “It will save a lot of time going back and forth.”
Those employees will be up and running in the new space by Jan. 26, he said. The bank will also have a full lobby on the first floor, which will move from the existing downtown space on Feb. 1.
Higginbotham said the new space will have safety-deposit boxes with the latest in security technology.
“This is pretty monumental for our bank to move 250 people at one time,” he said.
Hines real estate is developing the 27-story office tower. The building has 692,716 square feet of rentable space. It also has two parking garages at Sheridan and Walker and Main Street and Hudson. The west garage will measure 35,000 square feet. The north garage will measure 20,000 square feet. Each garage, as well as 499 Sheridan, will have ground-floor retail space.
In Oklahoma City, Class A office space is tight, with a 6.5-percent vacancy rate in 2017’s third quarter, according to an NAI Sullivan report. The rate was flat compared to 2016’s third quarter.
In the Central Business District, vacancy for all office space is 6.3 percent, NAI reported.
The market also absorbed 8,773 square feet of Class A space in 2017’s third quarter.
When the building was announced in 2015, neighboring Devon Energy was supposed to lease 250,000 square feet there. Corporate Communications Director John Porretto said in an email that the company has secured space in the building.
Chairman Emeritus Larry Nichols asked the Downtown Design Review Committee to allow a bridge between the BOK building and Devon’s headquarters because it was needed for Devon employee collaboration. The DDRC was concerned it would take away from street activity.
“However, Devon has no plans to occupy the space at this time,” Porretto said.
Higginbotham said BOK’s new space will be a good tool for recruitment. The building offers a view of the forthcoming Scissortail Park and there will be bike racks installed outside.
“I’m really proud of the commitment that BOK is making to the Oklahoma City market,” he said. “We’re investing in a downtown facility that’s been somewhat difficult for our energy industry.”
BOK’s build-out was designed by Workspace Solutions, led by Scott Rice. Higginbotham took the executive team to the Steelcase office furniture headquarters in Michigan so they could pick the best options. BOK isn’t moving any of its furniture.
The new space is equipped with video screens that will display stories of the company.
He said he’s been reflecting on the leaders who made these decisions at their existing office.
“This has been a dream-come-true opportunity,” he said.