By EMILY RAMSEY
THE BOXYARD: Patrons explore The Boxyard, a commercial development at Third Street and Frankfort Avenue in the East Village, featuring 20 businesses housed in 39 shipping containers. The Boxyard will hold its grand opening on Dec. 10. Local shop Dwelling Spaces opened Nov. 25.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
The flurry of development projects in downtown Tulsa is obvious to anyone passing through. Besides the many residential and hotel construction projects currently underway, perhaps the two most anticipated upcoming commercial projects are taking place in the East Village and the Brady Arts District.
Officially opening Dec. 10 is The Boxyard with 39 shipping containers to house 20 businesses, including local retail shop Dwelling Spaces and JoeBots Coffee, which got an early start in the center, opening Nov. 25.
The retail center is a development project by Elliot Nelson and Casey Stowe, partners in Nelson+Stowe Development. The Boxyard is located at the corner of Third Street and Frankfort Avenue.
Many of the businesses will use more than one container, says Stowe. Dwelling Spaces, for example, occupies five containers.
The main aim of the project is to bring more retail options to the area, says Stowe, but there will be a mix of other businesses as well. Confirmed tenants include Abelina’s Boutique; Blue Sky Bank; a barber shop; Boxyard Comics; Downtown Dry Cleaners; Landella jewelry; women’s clothing store Modern Mess; Rose Rock Microcreamery; a bar named Open Container; Sole Massage; cell, a science retail store; Sweet Boutique, a candy shop; The Water Co.; and Wirwar, a Belgian Honky Tonk featuring street food, beer and music.
As for The Boxyard’s location on the western end of the growing East Village, “we are right in the middle of so much,” says Stowe.
Besides the recent addition of various residential options, including Urban 8, The Edge and the East End Village, further commercial projects are coming to the area, including right next door where work is underway to renovate the former building into suitable commercial space.
“This area has exceeded all of our expectations,” Stowe says.
In a few months, the Brady Arts District will welcome its latest completed project, a mixed-use building on Archer Street, spanning the block between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Detroit Avenue.
Work began in 2014 by the George Kaiser Family Foundation to renovate the 75,000-square-foot building that formerly served as a Bank of Oklahoma warehouse.
“We had been eyeing this location for a while. It was an underutilized property and an obvious piece to the puzzle of the Brady Arts District,” says Stanton Doyle, senior program officer.
When the building is fully completed by spring 2017, it will feature 35 Tulsa Artist Fellowship () work studios, 14 apartments and 10 ground-floor retail spaces.
With nine of the 10 retail tenants confirmed, the building will include Strange Donuts, Goods Bodega, Lone Wolf restaurant and bar, Glacier Confection, Holy Mountain Records, Magic City Books, and Made.
When determining which potential tenants to contact, “we were looking to fill the gaps in the neighborhood,” Doyle says, such as retail.
Regarding Holy Mountain Records and Magic City Books, “a record shop is a place where people congregate, and reading is an art form not yet represented in the district. We want to provide anchors for different communities.”
Magic City Books is a project by nonprofit organization Tulsa Literary Coalition. The independent bookstore will support the organization’s mission to affect social change through literature and to grow the local literary community, according to its website. It will also serve as a venue for Booksmart Tulsa and will provide a welcome resource for ’s 2017 cohort, which will include writers, a first for the program, Doyle says.
The is a Tulsa-based artist recruitment and retention program that provides artists with a $20,000 stipend and, in most cases, free housing and studio work space.
The inaugural class launched in 2016 and included solely visual artists. However, for the 2017 class, due to demand, the expanded its fellowship. For the 2017 class, saw more than 575 applications from 40 states; the selected fellows hail from 13 states and include graphic novelists, play/screenwriters, poets, painters, ceramics artists, photographers and street artists. The fellowship will begin on Jan. 9, 2017.
“A thriving arts district needs galleries and museums, but it also needs to see success as a residential district,” Doyle says.
“In order to make the Brady district a long-term successful district, we need more affordable housing for artists and teachers who bring life to the area.”
The next project on the list for in the Brady will be the Western Supply building at North Boulder Avenue and Easton Street. Doyle hopes that the foundation will be able to offer additional information on the multi-use project in 2017.