Tulsa Church Begins Removal Of Tower On Downtown Building
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa skyline is changing as Monday crews got to work on dismantling an old microwave tower on top of what used to be the AT&T building.
Though the tower may be coming down, it's actually a sign of downtown Tulsa rising.
A multi-million dollar crane will be at 5th and Detroit for the next four or five days as, piece by piece, it will take down the microwave tower that has sat on top of the old AT&T building for decades.
The demolition is the first step in a $12 million development project by First Baptist Church.
Monday, it was out with the old along 5th Street, as tons of iron pieces were scrapped and an old microwave tower - unused for years - started coming down.
First Baptist Church now owns the old AT&T building and has big plans for it; at the top of that list, Bobby Hart said, is redoing the roof.
“It is a solid structure. However, it has got to come down someday. It is useless and kind of an eyesore, so we wanted it to come down before we invested any more dollars into the building,” he said.
First Baptist is beginning a more than $12 million project for the downtown block. What is now green space will soon be a brand new four-story building for a pre-school and children space.
The church will renovate the first three floors of the Detroit Tower for adult life groups. After all, the congregation is growing at a rapid pace - with 2,000 people alone worshiping just on Sundays.
Hart said, “It is great to see this in a downtown setting because it’s not typical in most cities and we're growing really with a younger demographic."
Dismantling the tower is no easy task, especially with the Oklahoma wind.
“It is tricky being a demolition project. We're used to building up downtown Tulsa, not taking it down,” said Nic Palmer with Bennett Steel.
Crews used more than 90,000 pounds of counterweight to counteract the wind.
“Play it safe every time. If it gets too out of hand we will shut it down and come back on another day,” Palmer said.
First Baptist hopes to break ground this spring and open the new doors in 2017.
“All this work you see going on is just in preparation for that,” said Hart.
It’s also in preparation for continued growth at their downtown location.
Hart said, “The community is growing around us - East Village just across the street from us and all kinds of new communities that are popping up downtown. So, we hope to see people take advantage of everything there is to do downtown."
It’s actually phase three of five for First Baptist, having already redone a number of the buildings.
The next two phases include tearing down another building on the west side of the block to make up for green space lost in this phase.