By BLAKE AUSTYN
20TH ANNIVERSARY: The Shops of Seville, which sits at the corner of 101st Street and Yale Avenue, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The center features many founding tenants and other services and retail shops.
GTR Newspapers photo
Back in the mid-1990s, there was a need for an upscale shopping center in the growing Jenks school district.
Therefore, in 1997, long-time Tulsan Ray Biery set out to construct one of the first shopping centers, Shops of Seville, in the southernmost portion of the city at that time, at 101st Street and Yale Avenue.
Current tenants of the Shops of Seville have not changed much over the center’s 20-year history. The Bistro, Donna’s Fashions, , The Winbury Group, Hunter Construction and various salon and personal care services continue to thrive in the upscale south Tulsa boutique center.
Joining the Shops of Seville in December is a new restaurant concept called Levain Kitchen & Bakery. Also, in February of next year, Sweet Pea Couture will be moving into the center.
By the time that the Shops of Seville was constructed, Yale Avenue had already established itself as an area with affluent residents and high quality projects, including such well-known developments as St. Francis Hospital, the Warren medical campus, Kingspointe Village and LaFortune Park.
“I thought, ‘These residents deserve a high-quality commercial development where they live,’” Biery says.
As the idea for the Shops of Seville began to emerge, the picture of an upscale center with quality tenants and an elegant exterior design began to take shape. One shopping area used as inspiration was Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza and the ornate exterior detailing of its buildings.
Don Merrill, with Parker & Associates Architects, was chosen to design the Shops of Seville mediterranean colonial style buildings. Hunter Construction Management Company constructed the center.
Special attention was given to creating a center that highlights each storefront and tenant, with unique individualized designs that make the center look like an old-time village.
Also taking place during the early design period was the selection of the proper mix of shops and services.
“We knew that we would be the ‘last oasis’ in south Tulsa for residents before they arrive home,” Biery says, “so we wanted to make sure we had a proper mix of services and retail.”
Most of Shops of Seville’s founding tenants had been selected and confirmed before ground was broken on the center.
For elegant dining, The Bistro was selected to add an upscale element to the center.
Other ongoing efforts to maintain Shops of Seville as a quality center over the past 20 years include a strong focus on beautification and community gatherings.
A bronze sculpture of an eagle by local artist Jay O’Meilia and a fountain were added.
Seasonal plants and planters are located at tenant doors and in front of the Shops of Seville signage. When it was learned that street widening would take place along 101st Street and Yale Avenue, efforts were made to protect the trees around the center in order to maintain the welcoming ambiance of comfort and luxury, says Biery.
For the past 15 years, Shops of Seville has welcomed the Mid Life Crisis Band for Thursday evening outdoor entertainment during the spring, summer and fall, an event that regularly packs the center’s parking lot with listeners.
All of these elements have helped to position and establish Shops of Seville as a center that will endure for many more decades as Tulsa continues to grow and as consumers continue to choose Shops of Seville as their preferred shopping destination.