Week in review
BY LAURIE WINSLOW World Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2012
9/23/12 at 3:21 AM
Tulsa ranks 35th in 2Q economic recovery
Both the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metros ranked in the top half of the nation's largest 100 metros for their overall economic recovery in the second quarter, according to the latest edition of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program's MetroMonitor index.
Tulsa's overall ranking dropped a notch to No. 35 in the second quarter, and Oklahoma City ranked No. 22 overall.
The September 2012 MetroMonitor tracks the economic recovery in the nation's 100 largest metro areas. The reports look at economic performance using several key indicators, including percentage changes in employment, unemployment, output and the housing price index.
Overall, the report found that the nation's largest metros mostly slowed their rates of recovery in the second quarter 2012, after relatively fast growth during the first quarter, according to the report.
"In the race to recovery, metro areas are running at slow speeds with some tripping along the way," Alec Friedhoff, a research analyst with the Metropolitan Policy Program and lead developer of the MetroMonitor, said in a written statement. "Texas and Oklahoma metros weren't hit as hard in the recession, and their recovery remains stronger as natural gas has boomed."
- LAURIE WINSLOW, World Staff Writer
Unit makes $594.5M property acquisition
Longtime Tulsa contract driller Unit Corp. has expanded its oil and gas production base with a $594.5 million "transformational" acquisition of Oklahoma and Texas properties, the company's top officer said in a Tuesday release.
Unit bought 84,000 net acres from Noble Energy Inc. The properties are primarily in the Granite Wash, Cleveland and Marmaton plays of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, with estimated proved reserves of about 44 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE).
"This acquisition is transformational for Unit in that the assets benefit all three of our business segments," Unit CEO Larry D. Pinkston said in a statement. "The assets are synergistic with our existing profile in the Granite Wash play, enabling us to leverage our operational knowledge and experience to economically develop the assets."
- ROD WALTON, World Staff Writer
American, pilots feud over flight problems
American Airlines and its unionized pilots disagree on the causes of flight delays and cancellations that led the bankrupt carrier Thursday to shrink the rest of its September and October schedules by up to 2 percent.
The Allied Pilots Association, which represents 10,000 American pilots, said there is "no job action of any sort that is organized, supported or sanctioned by the Allied Pilots Association," and the increase in flight delays and cancellations is due to American's mismanagement of aircraft maintenance and crew resources.
American management says flight disruptions are the result of escalated mechanical write-ups by pilots and high rates of sick time taken by pilots.
"We are confident in the causes of the recent operational challenges of flight cancellations and delays," said American spokesman Bruce Hicks. "Prior to the recent issues, American had been running a good operation, with on-time performance and reliability measures at their best levels in many years. The recent disruptions are primarily due to the significant increase in maintenance write-ups by our pilots, many right at the time of departure.
"Additionally, continued higher-than-normal sick usage by pilots, which has been up more than 20 percent year over year and has been elevated for months, impacts the availability of reserve pilots, which can ultimately lead to cancellations."
American canceled about 300 flights out of nearly 24,000 departures scheduled across its network this week.
- D.R. STEWART, World Staff Writer
SpiritBank forecloses on Eastgate over $2.4M loan
A $2.42 million loan that was at the center of a foreclosure lawsuit for a portion of Eastgate Metroplex has been paid, the site's owner said.
In a statement released Friday, Rob Phillips, managing partner of Eastland Partners LLC, said the loan held by SpiritBank and secured by the portion of the property that was formerly occupied by Dillard's Inc. has been paid in full.
"We are proud to say we have corrected the issue within one day of being notified of the problem," Phillips said in the statement.
Paul Cornell, deputy CEO of SpiritBank, said he couldn't comment on matters involving individual customers.
The bank filed suit claiming nonpayment of the $2.42 million loan on Tuesday.
In the initial lawsuit, the complaint says the original loan of $2.38 million was granted in September 2008 and secured with a portion of the 1 million-square-foot Eastgate property. SpiritBank alleges the group had not paid back the loan, which had grown due to added interest.
Phillips said earlier that the lawsuit was the result of a misunderstanding.
He said the Eastgate ownership group has a total of $25 million in loans from SpiritBank tied to the complex, formerly Eastland Mall. A statement released by Eastland Partners noted that the group owns more than 2 million square feet of commercial space in the area and has never had a foreclosure notice filed in its 30 years of operations.
The former Eastland Mall was converted into the office-oriented Eastgate Metroplex over the last five years at an approximate cost of $45 million.
- ROBERT EVATT, World Staff Writer
Don Lambert walks through engines with Miratech's emission equipment installed for demonstrations at its facility on Wednesday. The Tulsa emissions facility unveiled a new research and engineering testing facility on Thursday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World