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Developers Reveal Proposal For Former Laura Dester Site

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

We're getting our first look at what some developers envision for the former Laura Dester site in Tulsa's Pearl District.

Six months ago, the Tulsa Development Authority put out a request for proposals asking developers what they would do with the space.

The site near 8th and Rockford has been abandoned for years.

But Tuesday, we got a look at what we could soon see there.

The neighborhood is welcoming new businesses regularly, like Garrett O'Dell's Cirque coffee.

"There are a lot of creative minds that are opening up businesses here and working out of here," O'Dell said.

But a problem, he said, is there isn't much of a live or work environment.

"Sort of since we've opened here there has been virtually no foot traffic in this area and so anything that can bring that here is awesome," O'Dell said.

He is referring to a proposal by Tulsa-based Ross Group and Nelson Stowe, who are partnering with lead developer PrairieFire out of Kansas City.

At least 140 apartments, parking, and a central courtyard that goes along with the city's request to keep that flood retention land in place.

Most people we spoke with felt good about it, saying it's something that will bring people to this area and keep people here who were considering leaving.

"Because it is quality housing near downtown that they can afford that is urban and cool and funky and they can walk to their coffee shop," said Leanne Benton, Pearl District Association president

But some question why the proposal has the current buildings being torn down instead of repurposed.

PrairieFire development said  the buildings simply aren't in good shape and the cost of rehabbing them would be substantially higher than building new.

"I think most developers come in and say 'how can we maximize the land, do a really quality infill project that matches the neighborhood but uses the land well and I think they have hit that target really well," Benton said.


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