The owner of the vacant Tulsa Club building is looking for a buyer who will rehabilitate the downtown nuisance into a historically significant piece of property, a local broker said Tuesday.
Cecilia and Will Wilkins of W3 Real Estate were hired to market the building for Carl Morony of California.
Morony also owns the Sinclair Building at the southeast corner of Fifth and Main streets.
The Wilkinses also are marketing that building.
The Tulsa Club, 115 E. Fifth St., is a Bruce Goff-designed building that is structurally sound but needs a lot of work, Will Wilkins told the Tulsa World.
The building is tied up in litigation that includes city code violations, a city lien for unpaid downtown assessment fees and unrelated judgments to other parties.
Morony tried to redevelop the building into lofts by vying for Vision 2025 funds, but he lost out to another developer, Wilkins said.
“Now that the downtown is going through a revitalization, this is an opportune time to find a developer that can find a unique use for the building, work with the Historical Preservation Commission and rehabilitate it,” he said.
When Morony bought the building at a tax sale, it had been gutted and was in poor condition, Wilkins said. No work has been done on it since.
“Carl made an investment so that sometime down the line when downtown Tulsa revitalized, he would be able to capitalize on that investment,” Wilkins said.
The Tulsa Club was one of 60 vacant buildings with code violations that the city targeted in 2007.
Vacant for more than a decade, the building has fire, electrical and plumbing code violations as well as safety and health issues.
Wilkins said Morony’s attempt to get Vision 2025 funds for renovations “speaks volumes to what he wants to see the building become.”
“It certainly hasn’t worked out that way, and we hate that it has gotten to the point that it has,” he said. “But now Cecilia and I want to facilitate action that makes something good happen for the building and the downtown area.”
Morony’s lawyer, Jasen Corns, said the city knows that the property is for sale.
“If the city genuinely wanted the building improved and rehabilitated, it would stay out of the owner’s business in his efforts to sell it,” he said.
“We believe certain city officials already have an end game in mind for this property and they are basically just manipulating the process to get the result they want.”
The city declared the property a public nuisance in November 2007 and ordered that its problems be corrected, with civil penalties of $1,000 a day for noncompliance.
The city has filed for a foreclosure on the property for an unpaid $331,815 default judgment for failure to remediate the building-code issues.
Morony has asked a judge to vacate that judgment. If the judge rules in favor of Morony or if he pays the judgment, the foreclosure action will dissolve.
The city also placed a lien on the property for 10 years of unpaid assessment fees linked to the Business Improvement District. The total owed is about $22,000.
Two other judgments against the property by separate parties total about $50,000.
Wilkins said he is actively showing the property to several prospective buyers, both locally and out of state, and some have expressed serious interest.
All are aware of the legal status of the property, he said.