Harvey Young Airport used to be a premier destination in Tulsa. Now a developer wants to return it to its old form.
Jack Randal has proposed a complete redevelopment of the airfield located just east of 129th East Avenue and north of 21st Street. His plan started with a World War II-era airplane.
“Our group was interested in bringing a rare warbird to Tulsa and we put it under contract without a place for her to call home. As we did more and more research, our idea evolved into an entire facility that could house these rare and iconic aircraft and be available to the public. And much more than just house these beautiful pieces of craftsmanship,” Randal continued, “but create a living, breathing history that people can touch, experience, and relive the days of the greatest generation. To that end, the name would be obvious… we’d call it Douglas Memorial, to pay homage that built these aircraft here in Tulsa for the war effort.”
Randal's proposal also includes a new Fixed Base Operator designed after a 1930s air terminal. In addition, the design includes a meeting and event space that can hold up to 150 people at the main terminal as well as four large hangars that hold up to 1,100 people. This would make Douglas the largest private event space in Oklahoma.
“We found a gap in the market for large event space. It has also become clear that people want themed events, and with Tulsa’s rich aviation history, it's no surprise people love our theme.”
Harvey Young was named for its founder, who bought the land and built an airport in the 1940s, where he trained hundreds of pilots for the war.
According to Randal, there's already a waiting list for events and plans to finalize the plans to build this facility this summer.
The redevelopment will include a complete clean-up of the existing property, lengthening of the runways, installation of new FBO and hangars, walls and gates surrounding the facility for security. It will also serve as a new entrance from 21st Street.
According to Randal, some of the long-term plans include a hotel, restaurant, and facilities geared toward the restoration and maintenance of vintage aircraft.
“We want this place to be a mecca for aviation enthusiasts all over the world. Douglas Memorial is the center mass for the United States and we know we will get great daily traffic, because piston-engine aircraft make up the bulk of general aviation, yet they’re treated like second-class citizens at jet centers. We’re going to change that with VIP service and the best fuel prices exclusively for piston aircraft. We’re also really looking forward to the big fly-in events and airshows that can have great economic impact on Tulsa,”
Randal says there's been a ton of excitement building around the aviation community and he says it's long overdue.
“We have been surprised at the outpouring of support we have received so far. We’ve been told ‘thank you’ by so many people that we know we are on the right track. Before all this got started, there was a great team in place. We have actually added to that team through this process and are always looking for great people to bring into the project.” With the scope of the project's growth, Randal said, “There is such a great opportunity here, both for aviation enthusiasts and smart investors. We can’t wait to bring this project to Tulsa.”
Douglas Memorial Airfield's projected date for opening is set for next summer.