The Enid City Commission approved City Manager Eric Benson to pursue the purchase of the long abandoned Homeland Building in early November, 2011.  Before that time, the owners of the building had a rather hefty price tag on it and had seemed somewhat uninterested in selling it.  Benson was successful in garnering a deal with them and purchased the building for $1.75 million, making it an asset of the City of Enid.

Homeland BuildingThere was much speculation and gnashing of teeth as to why a city would purchase an old empty building and many people thought surely the City folks were up to something nefarious. Why was the City in the real estate business? Why would anyone want an empty abandoned grocery store? Surely they would have to give up the whole farm to get anyone to buy it. Surely they were the stupidest people to ever grace the face of the earth. Surely they would lose a tremendous amount of money because after all, they have no idea what they’re doing.

After many secretive meetings in smoky backrooms with various members of the Prairie Mafia, the City took ownership of the building and have since been using the facility for the housing of aliens, as well as using it as a laboratory for experiments involving kool-aid and its mind altering effects on wayward drifters and sundry transients.  On Saturday afternoons, they truck in hookers and Scotch and have cockfights and run an illegal gambling ring. (Disclaimer: I have never faked a sarcasm in my entire life).

If only it were that exciting.

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the purchase and sale of the Homeland building is as follows: The City was able to get it for a decent price, lower than the original asking price by quite a lot; it is, in fact, the prime retail spot of the whole city and as such, has been actively sought after since they purchased it; they are able to sell it to a buyer whose interests lie in bringing new retail to Enid; and they are purchasing it for more than the City paid for it AND the City is not having to give up anything, incentives or otherwise. It’s all been very simple, cut and dried.

In three short months the City management, staff, Commission, and the City’s retail consultant were able to work together to retain the prime retail property in Enid for a fair price, to see presentations from eager developers, and will sell it – at a profit – to the one they think will fit best in that location, which will, in turn, begin a new era of retail development in Enid. Three months. It sat empty for 7 years until the City bought it. This single purchase will not only spark new retail in Enid, it will also put money in the coffers and the sales tax revenue it brings in will indeed be a boon to the city. Very simply put – it’s good business.

The Trustees of the Enid Economic Development Authority will meet today 3p.m. in the lower level conference room of the City Administration Building to consider a proposal for the sale of the building, after which the Commission will approve or deny the proposal.

So there you have it – I know, not quite as exciting as shady alley dealings, Mafioso, crack whores, and all that – but that’s how it really went down. Some day people will look back and realize it was a smart move on the City’s part – while some people love to revel in stagnation, your city government is not about to.