Developers Hope City Approves Tax Incentive Grants

Wednesday, September 16th 2015, 11:19 pm
By: News On 6

Developers behind four major projects in downtown Tulsa want the city's help.

Thursday morning, a committee will review each one and determine if they deserve tax incentive grants.

River City Development wants to turn the former corporate headquarters building for Sooner Federal near 4th and Boston into a 90-room boutique hotel with a restaurant on the first floor.

Projects like that are expensive, and would most likely not happen without a program that provides some tax relief.

Jim Hawkins with River City Development said, "This building was the first glass box building built west of Mississippi, and about ten years after Seagram building in New York City."

That is why Hawkins wants to bring it back to life as a 90-room boutique hotel in the heart of the Deco District.

"This is probably one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the city," he said.

Thursday Morning, his two projects are on the list to be considered for the city tax abatement program, allowing developers to not pay property taxes on new investments made on the project for up to six years.

"These projects have asserted these would not happen without assistance and the gap being there," said Jim Coles with the City of Tulsa.

Since the program began in 1993, 15 are now completed or under consideration, and most of them applied for the tax abatement in just the last few years.

Coles said, "Which is really great because it does get the projects out there faster and into the market and keeps the momentum going."

Hawkins’ other project set for tax incentive consideration Thursday is the old Enterprise Building at 5th and Boston, which will be apartments with patios.

The other projects are the Hampton Inn by Promise Hotels planned for West 3rd Street, and The View Apartments by American Residential set to be built at 4th and Archer.

“We are all for downtown coming back. When downtown comes back all the ships in the harbor rise,” Hawkins said. “If we can bring ours back, some others might bring theirs back and you get your energy back.”

Hawkins also owns the Philtower and recently completed the Loft apartments there.

If approved Thursday, the four projects head to the city council and then full construction on them can officially begin.