Historic Tulsa Building Taken Off Auction Block At Last Minute
TULSA, Oklahoma - The historic Sinclair Building in downtown Tulsa almost went up for auction Tuesday morning for the fourth time.
But, at the 11th hour, the building owner, C.J. Morony, paid every dime he owed in fees dating back to 1996.
He filed last minute bankruptcies at the previous three auctions for the property, then, on Tuesday, he paid $274,651.32 - but many worry he will continue to leave it sitting almost empty.
Built in 1919 by Harry Sinclair, the building housed the headquarters for Sinclair Oil for 30 years.
“The story of oil is the story of Tulsa, and the story of Sinclair is the story of oil - this is it,” said Amanda DeCort, head of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.
It has sat almost empty under Morony’s ownership - who also used to own the Tulsa Club, which recently sold to the Ross Group at auction.
DeCort said, “The Tulsa Club was a scary situation for a long time, so not a good track record.”
But, until the same thing happens at the Sinclair Building, there isn't anything the city can do.
City Attorney Bob Edmiston said, “The only interest the city has had in the property is to collect the unpaid assessments for the downtown Tulsa stadium improvement district.”
The 274,000 covered that and deficiency fines related to the Tulsa Club.
DeCort hopes someone realizes the building's potential, and soon.
“That would be the absolute best thing for downtown, for this building to change hands and be properly restored to its glory, and for people to be using it again,” she said.
A lawyer representing Morony said they plan to do some immediate and minor interior improvements. However, before sinking any major money into the building, he wants to watch how the Tulsa market grows.
“So much could be done with it and could be a really great asset,” DeCort said.
If that is something Morony decides he wants to do, the city is ready to work with him.
“We invite him to come and make the building better for him and for the community,” Edmiston said.
The most recent appraisal for the building came in at $1.2 million.