RELEASE: Negotiations to redevelop historic Guthrie building begin


For Immediate Release

Finance, Administration
and Information Technology


Feb. 23, 2016

Negotiations to redevelop historic Guthrie building begin

Proposal contingent on city issuing permits, other factors

OKLAHOMA CITY — The State of Oklahoma has entered into negotiations with a private group that would redevelop the State Capital Publishing Co. Building in historic downtown Guthrie as a senior living center with a micro-museum dedicated to the structure’s past.

The proposed redevelopment would occur under the Oklahoma State Government Asset Reduction and Cost Savings Program, which requires underutilized state-owned properties to be sold or redeveloped and the resulting proceeds be deposited in a statewide building maintenance fund.

Pursuant to the Oklahoma State Government Asset Reduction and Cost Savings Program, the Office of Management and Enterprise Services in March 2015 solicited redevelopment proposals for the building on behalf of its owner, the Oklahoma Historical Society. The building, located at 301 N. Harrison, has been closed since 2011.

A seven-member selection committee rated proposals received from Bywater Development Group and WRGM Ventures, the Lauren R. Ladd Trust, the Logan County Historical Society and the Williamson County Investments Corp. The committee evaluated each of the four proposals based on historic preservation, community benefits, qualifications and experience, and the financial capacity of the redevelopers.

The state has entered into negotiations with Bywater and Oklahoma City-based WRGM, who specialize in community revitalization initiatives. The group’s plans call for converting a part of the building into 34 high-quality, affordable senior apartments.

Bywater and WRGM intend to commemorate the building’s past by dedicating a portion of the first floor as a micro-museum featuring preserved pieces of historic printing and typesetting equipment. 

The State Capital Publishing Co., organized in 1889 just before the first Oklahoma Land Run, was one of the largest printing operations in the southwest. The building, constructed in 1902, is a Joseph Foucart design and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Oklahoma Historical Society acquired the property to convert into a printing museum in 1975 as a bicentennial project, but due to lack of funding for critical maintenance issues, the museum was closed in 2011.

Redevelopers will be required to meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation in order to qualify for tax credits, as well as adhere to the local regulations and guidelines of the Guthrie historic district. Additionally, the Historical Society will retain partial interest through a perpetual façade easement to protect the historic integrity of the building’s exterior. This will ensure the outside appearance is maintained to the Secretary of the Interior’s standards, whether or not tax credits are pursued. 

Before the contract can be finalized, there are several factors that need to be addressed, including special use permits for the proposed renovation and use. Once negotiations are complete and the contract has been awarded, financial terms and details will be available. No state funds would be spent under the proposal.

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The Office of Management and Enterprise Services provides financial, property, purchasing, human resources and information technology services to all state agencies, and assists the Governor’s Office on budgetary policy matters. Our mission: Supporting our partners through unified business services. For more information, visit