Planning Underway To Transform Downtown Tulsa's Arena District

Wednesday, May 9th 2018, 9:38 pm
By: Ashley Izbicki

A massive project is in the works that will transform 30 blocks of downtown Tulsa around the BOK Center.

It’s called the Arena District Master Plan and the goal is to transform the west side of downtown.

The Arena District has nearly two million visitors a year, with huge concerts at the BOK Center and a lot of traffic at the Convention Center.

But people who live and work in the area say that traffic is too temporary.

“You go in for two hours, you come out, you get in your car, and you go to either another part of downtown, or maybe you’ll go to Brookside or Cherry Street, or you will get on the highway and you will go home,” said Tulsa resident James Pigman.

It was a packed house at the downtown library for the first public workshop on creating a plan that will lead to investment.

But first, the district needs its own brand.

It also needs to improve walkability and connectivity.

The vision includes more street-facing retail, new restaurants, mix-use offices, and parkside housing.

Right now, design plans are underway for renovations to the convention center, an anchor of the area since the ‘60s.

“These days, convention centers are not just for meetings.  People don’t just come to the meeting and leave.  It’s a destination,” said Subha Sridharan, from Forest for the Trees.  “What can we do to attract more people and create a destination that’s interconnected to the other districts?”

The city also wants to make it easier to get from here to the riverfront, with the Gathering Place being a popular topic.

This isn’t about taking away from other districts, this is about getting activity in the Arena District on the days and nights that big headliners aren’t taking the stage at the BOK.