Consultants are in Tulsa meeting with all the big players at City Hall discussing ways to build up the city’s Arena District, a 30-block area of downtown.
One vision for the district is to make it full of life, even during times when an event is not happening at the BOK Center.
It’s somewhat of a time capsule, a 165-acre area in the southwest corner of downtown Tulsa now referred to as the Arena District.
“It was built up in the 60s when civic districts were what many cities were really focusing on,” said Nick Doctor, Chief of Community Development and Policy for the City of Tulsa.
With the BOK Center being one of the top venues in the country, bringing in two million people a year, the question is how to capitalize on that.
“It has really struggled to spur the type of additional growth like we’ve seen, for example, around the ONEOK Field,” said Doctor.
A consulting firm from Columbus, Ohio, came to Tulsa on Wednesday to point out some possible strategies for this part of downtown. One major component – how to deal with the Page Belcher Federal Building.
At some point, we have to make a decision on what that future is,” said consultant Chris Hermann. “We think there are some great opportunities to reimagine that space as development and park that would really help energize the district.”
Options include tearing it down for park space, finding a way to cut through it somehow to open pedestrian traffic between the BOK Center and Convention Center, or leaving it as is and finding a way to repurpose it and find a new tenant.
“To find someone to use that kind of square footage, most businesses would build their own to fit exactly what their needs are,” said Hermann.
Doctor says “this is also the perfect time to be thinking about those buildings that need some revitalization and what we can be doing to help.”
There are a lot of challenges for the Arena District, but also a lot of potential.
A public meeting is scheduled for September 26th.