Tulsa Businesses Along 41st Street Recovering, One Year After Tornado
TULSA, Oklahoma - It has been one year since an EF-2 tornado unexpectedly hit part of midtown Tulsa, destroying a number of businesses and causing significant damage in the area.
The tornado struck Sunday, August 6th, 2017, and in the past year, significant progress has been made rebuilding the area along 41st Street between Yale and Sheridan.
More than 140 homes and businesses were affected by that tornado.
Business owners say they're glad to see buildings being rebuilt, like where the AT&T store and Woodcraft used to be. AT&T will return to its original location, while Woodcraft moved into a new space just down the road.
One of the areas being rebuilt is the Highland Plaza Shopping Center, which was Woodcraft’s home until that early Sunday morning storm destroyed it.
“I’m still kind of recovering,” said Woodcraft’s owner, Allan Chaney. “I think I’m over it now. It’s been a year, but it was pretty traumatic.”
Management at Highland Plaza said that by late this fall, a new AT&T store will open, along with a Coolgreens restaurant and a computer repair store. There will also be space for five more retail shops.
Shopping center owner Bob Franden said it's been a long year trying to get the area cleaned up and rebuilt, but he's ready to bring tenants back to the front of the complex so the rest of the businesses will benefit.
"More than anything else, they wanted to know what was gonna be here because for the longest time, it was just a wreck," he said.
It’s the anniversary of the 2017 tornado that unexpectedly hit the 41st and I-44 area, destroying and damaging a number of businesses. You can see where this AT&T store is being rebuilt. I’m checking in to see when other stores might reopen. @NewsOn6 pic.twitter.com/MWimaxSj63— Joseph Holloway (@a_cupof_JOE) August 6, 2018
Repairs have also been made at Southroads Village Shopping Center, where several stores were destroyed or suffered lots of damage.
There are several buildings in the area that haven’t been repaired or demolished and some businesses that haven’t reopened.
TGI Fridays has not said when or if the restaurant will reopen and a spokesperson for Remington Tower says there are no updates on what is going on there or what the future holds for that building.
For the businesses that rebuilt or reopened in a new location, they say it was the help from their neighbors that got them through the last year.
“The good will and compliments and once they found out I was going to reinvest and reopen, it was really encouraging,” said Chaney.