Another expansion of Broken Arrow's "Rose District" started on Thursday. It's adding a full block to a revitalized downtown.
On the south end, a big fountain project is underway. On the north end, the city started tearing down an abandoned church. Once the property is cleared, the hope is a developer will dream up something big.
The old Assembly of God church downtown once thrived, but it's been empty for 10 years, something the city considered a barrier to continued growth.
The teardown will take several days. The start of the transformation attracted a crowd.
“I'm seeing the process of the community grow, and he's seeing the process of a building going down and new stuff going in,” Carmen Robison said.
The church building is on the north end of the Rose District - a rebranding and public investment that's paying off with new interest in downtown.
"We think this is a big leap forward for the Rose District Expansion," Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce’s Wes Smithwick said.
The demolition makes room for redevelopment of a full city block.
"We envision in a year or so a three to five story building here with retail or restaurant space on the lowest floor, offices on the second floor, along with multiple levels of residential space here,” Smithwick said.
The demolition started on the north end, moving south through what looked like one building but is actually several.
The city bought the property for $600,000, figuring a major project would return the investment many times over.
So far, the city estimates that $10 million taxpayers invested in the Rose District has attracted $30 million in new projects.
"That is so exciting because Main Street is coming on north and that's exciting,” Robison said.
The city has expectations but no commitments yet. It is asking developers to submit plans to see what's possible.