Meridia Building: A Successful Massive Remodel

GTR Media Group photo
IMPRESSIVE PROJECT: The Meridia building in downtown Tulsa is one of the most impressive downtown apartment projects in the nation with many energy and environmental highlights.

The Meridia building at the north west corner of 6th Street and Boston Avenue is a prime example of a massive remodel with a successful outcome. This building site began its development in early 1920’s in Tulsa as a parking lot owned by my grandfather, C. C. Cole. In the late 1920’s, Cole sold the site to a developer who put up a non-descript nine story office building. We know little about its exterior appearance. We can assume its perimeter walls were the brick masonry common for the period with regularly spaced windows utilizing its street corner exposure. We know the building has a structural concrete frame. We also know it abuts a small two-story building on the north, still owned by the Cole family which allows some windows on the north for its upper floors. The building’s 150-foot depth ends at a service alley on the west.
Sometime in the mid 1950’s, in Tulsa’s last 20th Century downtown boom years, the building received a new light bronze aluminum curtain wall skin. Perhaps the owners hoped a new look would keep tenants in the building as downtown office occupancy dwindled. The building, with its name changed to the Enterprise Building, gradually emptied. It remained empty for over 20 years.
Enter River City Development, owned by the Jim Hawkins Family. As downtown Tulsa began making an economic comeback, the time was ripe for conversion to apartments, and in 2015 RCD bought the building. In 2017, the Meridia opened with 93 apartment units and a ground floor which houses three food service establishments and soon a Dollar General convenience store.
What is really interesting about the Meridia is the attention given to energy and environmental design. It is the first LEED-certified high-rise apartment building in Oklahoma. Innovative features include ultra-high efficiency heating and cooling systems, heavily insulated walls, water-saving plumbing fixtures, energy saving light fixtures, and argon gas-insulated windows. RCD acted as the developer, the general contractor, and now the building owner-operator.
The east and south elevations feature recessed balconies each of which occupy a full column bay. Facing these in the recess are four panels of floor-to-ceiling glass. The balconies are augmented by exposing some of the concrete structural frame. The balcony railings are glass with a light aluminum support frame and a perforated metal feature panel at one end. Elsewhere, the new building skin features off-white flat metal panels.
RCD has not publicized the current occupancy level of the Meridia, but after almost three years in the marketplace, best guess is that its high.