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Chesapeake Energy’s “Land Grab” Endures in Oklahoma City

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
September 25, 2012

Chesapeake Energy has been selling off assets at a frenzied pace.

Billions in pipeline interests and natural gas fields have been shed this year, and Chesapeake has been trying to unload an office tower in Fort Worth, Texas, for $110 million.

But the company is still leading a “land grab” near its corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City, the Journal Record reports. Chesapeake’s “ever-expanding” campus is growing through purchases by shell companies and affiliated businesses, like Property Development LLC, Brianna Bailey reports:

Property Development has spent about $8 million since September 2011 to buy a little more than 35 acres of land in northwest Oklahoma City, property records show.

And some of the million-dollar purchases are for derelict, dilapidated properties, the paper reports. What does Chesapeake want with the land? The former property owners don’t know, and neither the company nor its business partners are talking.

In August, Property Development bought two homes near the Chesapeake campus for $1.19 million, the Journal reports.

The homes include a dilapidated, two-story farmhouse built in 1938, according to property records, as well as a 1,000-square-foot fieldstone ranch house next door. The farmhouse has peeling paint and a sagging porch.

The homeowner’s son wouldn’t give any details about the sale.

And another home near the campus — “a run-down, 1,108-square-foot white stucco house” — is part of a $1.89 million land deal the Property Development company bought in April. The home, the Journal reports, is near an unfinished wine cellar Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon stopped building in 2008.

Entrepreneurs have tried to cash in on Chesapeake’s land buying by purchasing homes near the campus, nearby homeowner Lewis Matula tells the paper.

Matula said he has not been approached by Chesapeake, but believes that it’s only a matter of time.
“I feel it’s inevitable that they will buy my home, but I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said.

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