There’s a new plan and developer for the more than 22 acre 'Evans - Fintube' site. This time, the City of Tulsa feels it may finally have the right fit for the industrial site.
The 1920s historic building is sitting empty near 41st and Elwood, just outside downtown Tulsa. The City of Tulsa is a motivated seller and has a preliminary deal with a Texas developer.
There are a few hurdles to overcome, but this could be a catalyst for pushing the boundaries of what is considered downtown, and could generate more sales tax revenue for the area.
City of Tulsa Economic Development Director Clay Bird said it could've sold the property a number of times.
“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had contact me about trying to acquire that property for industrial manufacturing, warehousing, those sorts of thing,” he said.
But, Bird points out, the community doesn't want that.
Instead, he said, “The mixed-use development and then you can bring in something on a larger entertainment scale, where you can get a movie theater, some of the things the neighborhood has said they want to see over there.”
And he said Texas-based development group, Jackson Shaw, has the means to do it, but only if the city works on some things first – like moving the Watco rail yard site and cleaning up some contamination issues to bring it to EPA standards.
Bird said they've got a lot of parties working to get the project moving, realizing its potential as an extension of downtown Tulsa.
“Perhaps a single-family residential neighborhood that would become part of downtown, and just further development as it pushes north,” Bird said. “And that’s why, I think that is such a key site for us.”
Other proposals have fallen through - like the idea of an open air market place and apartments. Recently, Scott Phillips asked for vision money to renovate the site into a makers’ village called RawSpace, he wasn't successful.
But the vision to move the project forward didn't end there.
If all the moving parts fall into place, and Jackson Shaw finalizes the deal, the rundown building could start to be brought back to life within the next six months to a year.
Bird said, “This is a site that can be transformational as I think no other site over there can be.”
The city has received a $600,000 grant to begin the EPA cleanup but it has a price-tag of $2 million.
Bird said they're considering a few options, like possibly dropping the price for the developer to cover the remaining cleanup costs, or increasing the price and the city will handle it.