BOK Center Is Changing the Face of Downtown Tulsa

(Clockwise, from top left) GOING UP: Construction on the new downtown arena is moving ahead as interested developers submit proposal to city officials for construction projects supporting the facility.
COMING DOWN: A proposal before the city calls for the Towerview Apartments to be demolished to make way for a city block development called The Westin at Tulsa Garden Square.
NEW VIEW: Looking west under BOK Tower’s new Second Street walkway, the BOK Center is fast becoming a part of Tulsa’s skyline.
STICKING POINT: A hotel developer’s request to move Tulsa’s downtown bus terminal to make way for a new hotel complex across from the new BOK Center has stymied negotiations between city officials and the developer.

GTR Newspapers photos

As Tulsa’s new BOK Center nears top out stage, development activity around the site is picking up. A proposal was presented to the city in August on behalf of Westin Hotels to develop an entire city block from Second to Third streets and Denver to Cheyenne avenues.

The project would be branded. The Westin at Tulsa Garden Square and would require demolition of the vacant and dilapidated Towerview Apartments along with a small office building. Because the site is directly across the street from the new arena, Tulsa officials have expressed a desire to have a new hotel in place by the time the arena opens in September 2008. The Westin Hotels proposal also requested removal of the Coney Island Building at 123 W. Forth considered by the Arizona development group, Heavenly Hospitality, presenting the proposal to be an eye sore. Other requests made by the firm include moving the bus terminal and silencing train traffic through the city. City officials were pleased with the interest shown by the group, but conceded moving the eight-year-old bus terminal would be very problematic.

City officials and proponents of the arena development remain optimistic the BOK Center will continue to spawn private development around the site and that a new hotel is in the future.

Downtown Tulsa is also being revitalized by the Brady District to the north and housing to the east.

Another interesting development is the recent announcement of housing in the Mayo Hotel.

Updated 12-18-2006

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