Area Districts See Development
By EMILY RAMSEY
EAST VILLAGE: Construction is moving forward on the multi-level town homes Urban 8, located in the East Village District at 3rd Street and Greenwood Avenue. A model unit is planned for completion in the coming months.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Revitalization and changes continue to come to a number of past-blighted and historic Tulsa districts.
In March, Hoot Owl Coffee opened on the northeast corner of Lewis Avenue and Admiral Boulevard in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood.
Since opening six months ago, Calaveras Mexican Restaurant is already planning to expand its restaurant, which sits on the southwest corner of Lewis Avenue and Admiral Boulevard, into the adjoining storefront to its south. The expansion will allow for additional seating and a larger kitchen.
“We’re taking meetings with prospective tenants every day,” says Ed Sharrer, executive director of Kendall Whittier Main Street, “sometimes several meetings a day,” due to the growing popularity of the area.
Sharrer attributes the renewed interest in the district to the resurgence of downtown Tulsa.
In particular, the area has seen a recent influx of creative businesses, including artists, photographers, filmmakers and architects. “Generally speaking, if you make or create something, the emerging creative corridor between downtown and the University of Tulsa is where you want to locate,” he says.
Sharrer promises a number of soon-to-come development announcements (up to 12 projects are currently under discussion). Some of those businesses are expected to occupy the storefronts south of Circle Cinema, including the southernmost storefront at the corner of Lewis Avenue and 1st Street, which was the longtime home of Swinney Hardware.
“In another year, this area is going to look entirely different,” he says.
The East Village District, located in downtown Tulsa to the east of the Blue Dome District, is seeing a flurry of development, much of the activity coming in the form of residential projects.
Obvious progression has been made on the multi-level town homes Urban 8, located at 3rd Street and Greenwood Avenue. A model unit is planned for completion in the coming months. Units are built to suit, with many customizable features including floors and countertops.
Dirt work is underway to the north of Urban 8 for Hartford Commons, an apartment complex to feature more than 160 units.
Construction on the East End Village, 401 S. Elgin Ave., is nearing completion, with many apartment units already rented. In addition, several units are coming to the Coliseum Apartments, which sit at 7th Street and Elgin Avenue.
As the number of residential offerings grow in the district, property owners are becoming increasingly focused on bringing retail options to the area, says Stuart McDaniel, president of the East Village District Association.
“We want to draw more shops and restaurants,” he continues, that includes along 3rd Street. “We want foot traffic, to see 3rd Street become the connecting street to everything else that downtown has to offer.”
Additional projects on the horizon include the 40,000-square-foot Bacon and Son building at 1st Street and Lansing Avenue, recently purchased by local developer Michael Sager, and the Hartford Building, acquired by the developers who are responsible for renovations of the Mayo Hotel, Aloft Hotel and building. Reportedly, the building will be a mixed-use structure, large enough to house a major retailer and residential units.
Additionally, Cherry Street will undergo a street rehabilitation project in mid-to-late 2016, says Doug Helt, lead engineer for the project.
The project will cost $3 million and be funded by the Improve our Tulsa package.
Helt and his team are currently beginning the design process for the project and plan to have design renderings by August or September.
The project will focus on repairing all portions of 15th Street from Peoria to Lewis avenues, including sidewalks, parking areas and crosswalks.
“There have been temporary changes made to the street regarding painting and striping in various areas,” says Helt. “Now, we want to go out there and make those temporary changes permanent.”
Those temporary changes are important, though, because they “give us a working model to come back and, later, make them permanent if they work,” he says.
Helt does not foresee any changes being made to parking layout or street width.
At least one public meeting will be held later this year in order to receive feedback from residents and others, Helt says.