The Osage Nation closed on the purchase of three commercial property sites in Pawhuska, Okla., on Friday at the Pawhuska Business Development Center. The buildings purchased include the historic First National Bank Building, the former Irby's Pharmacy, and the former Hernandez restaurant. All three locations were purchased for $272,283, a final price that was lower than the appraised value.
In attendance for the purchase closing were Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Attorney General Holli Wells, Assistant Attorney General Clint Patterson, and Director of Tribal Development and Land Acquisition Bruce Cass. John Heskett, attorney, represented American Heritage Bank who recently acquired the real estate after buying out FNB.
Chief Standing Bear said the purchase is financially responsible for the Nation, “We need to start paying ourselves rent instead of other people.” There are still more programs and departments in need of property owned and managed by the Nation.
Currently, the Nation occupies more than 90 percent of the office space at the old bank. The building is four stories and 25,540 square feet. There are more than 20 offices. Like many of the brick and mortar buildings in downtown Pawhuska, the former bank is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The former drugstore is located adjacent to the building.
The former Hernandez Restaurant is scheduled for a structural inspection to determine whether the building can be repaired or should be leveled.