Developer Giving Back To Tulsa Building That Gave Him A Home
TULSA, Oklahoma - A local developer who came into the country with almost nothing is now living the American dream in Tulsa. He's helping give new life to the building that changed his.
In 1969 Neal Bhow had just moved from India to attend the University of Tulsa and stayed in a ten-by-ten-foot room in a YMCA.
Bhow is now partnered with a number of big developers in town and in about a year, what is old on Denver, will be new again. He's turning his first home into 83 new apartments.
"It is very personal to me," he said.
With hardly a dollar to his name, there weren't many options in Tulsa when Bhow first arrived for college.
"I stayed here the very first three nights because it was the cheapest place to stay," he said.
Now, decades later, Bhow has partnered with developer John Snyder and they are bringing the 125,000 square foot building back to life.
“Tulsa is my home, so I feel that Tulsa has given me so much and I want to preserve as much as I remember in '69," he said.
But this is no easy task. Snyder said it was “nasty.”
“We knew we had major asbestos problem," he said.
The asbestos is out, the demo is done and now the walls are taking shape and the 83 apartments are set to be finished late next year.
Not only is the outside staying the same, but so is inside. A basketball hoop, old scoreboard and even an old vertical jump test aren't going anywhere.
"You gotta make it a little funky, people like that," Snyder said.
With a number of other renovations in the area underway, the city is trying to finalize a plan to extend 5th Street and spruce it up.
"We've got the convention center and BOK Center and this was designed to be a public space. We now have all the things triggering those people coming and we still have the falling apart plaza," said Paul Zachary with the City of Tulsa.
In another year, this part of town will look totally different.
"I came here in ‘95 and it was empty, and now it's going crazy," said Snyder.
Bhow said, "It has given me everything in my life. This is home for me even though I was born in India, Tulsa, this is home.”
Bhow is also developing a Best Western Plus at 7th and Houston which used to be a city building and sat empty for years.
We got our first look at another project the guys are doing set for the area near 2nd and Hartford.
Another empty city building will be new apartments right near the Blue Dome District.