Oklahoman Real Estate Editor Richard Mize has a great column today about James Cotter, owner of downtown Oklahoma City’s Chase Tower. While Mr. Cotter has made some significant efforts to do some braggin at Chase Tower by emblazoning the floor with his brand, he’s taken no such pride with some Main Street properties in the northern Oklahoma town of Cherokee.
Richard has given a voice to these folks by writing about their unsuccessful efforts to get Cotter to sell or donate key downtown properties that obviously have no value to him as evidenced by their lack of upkeep.
But if Mr. Cotter doesn’t care about what the folks in Cherokee think about him, I wonder if he places more value on his reputation in a town where he owns the largest office tower – one that will be half empty in a few years when Devon moves into its own tower. One might think he might need some good will to fill up all that empty space in a 36-story building he claims is legally named Cotter Ranch Tower (I bet you didn’t know that).
After doing some research on Mr. Cotter, it appears as if “Cotter Ranch” Chase Tower is the gem of his portfolio. According to the San Antonio Express News, Cotter got into the real estate business after leaving the Army in the 1950s. He attended Walla Walla College in Walla Walla, Wash., and developed a 36-lot subdivision before graduating in the late 1950s.
Around that time, Cotter also owned the last privately owned bus line in Washington, which served Walla Walla and the surrounding area.
Now he owns about 70 buildings, including medical office buildings, retail centers and warehouses in Texas, Washington, Idaho, California, Oklahoma and Florida. He wants to get his three sons — all named James — started in the real estate business.
Now let’s talk about tiny Cherokee, population 1,437. Like many small Oklahoma towns, Cherokee is fighting the same battle faced by many towns its size. Between 2000 and 2007, its population dropped 10 percent. Yet the town, as evidenced in the above photo, is trying to keep its Main Street nice and doing what it can to rebound. A donation by Mr. Cotter of two buildings with little value to himself would be a big boost to this town.
What do you think? I wonder whether anyone in the big city, home to “Cotter Ranch Tower,” would contact Mr. Cotter if they knew they could contact his local representative, Chase Tower manager Tammy Powell, at (405) 601-6600 or by Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As for Cotter and his sons, I couldn’t find a web site or email address in San Antonio. But they are located at 802 NE Loop 410, San Antiono, Texas, 78217 and their phone number is (210) 822-2001.