Tulsa's City council is in Texas this evening, meeting with a developer who is planning a retail development at the site of Helmerich Park on Riverside Drive.
Councilors also visit developments along rivers and trails in Dallas and Fort Worth.
A visit to an REI outdoors store closed out their trip.
The REI store in Southlake Texas is typical of the size of the kind of store that might be coming to Tulsa if the development at 71st and Riverside goes ahead.
And it was inside the store where Tulsa's city council met with Texas developer Don Bouvier. While the council may not get a say in the design of the Tulsa store, it clearly wants it to connect to the river and trail, like what they've seen in Dallas.
“The form, the quality of the materials we are proposing and the general landscaping plan we are putting into this property exceeds a lot of what the councilors saw on their trip, which is nice,” Bouvier said. “I think it will be something that they can be proud of.”
The store in Southlake is a typical big box, surrounding by parking, but the developer says Tulsa's would be in a more natural setting.
The company says when it generally fills an unmet demand when it moves into a community, and that Tulsans already buy REI products online, where there's no sales tax.
“Right now we have we generate a good amount of sales from an online perspective,” REI Retail Director Janet Hopkins said. “We have about 3,500 members of the co-op who live in Tulsa today, who want an art store. So we are interested in adding some local convenience and partnering with the community to bring an REI store there.”
Several city counselors expressed support for this particular store, an REI coming to Tulsa, and they believe they can work with the developer to come up with something acceptable for 71st and Riverside.