Downtown Tulsa Development Hopes To Fill Affordable Housing Need

Wednesday, August 31st 2011, 1:34 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A new apartment building downtown will help fill a shortage of affordable downtown housing, according to the developers.

It's a long way from finished, but the new building called the "Metro at Brady Arts District" is taking shape. It's designed to look like the Tribune Lofts building next door, because it's owned by the same company.

The brick facade is half done and the inside walls are going up, but it's due to open in December. The 71 new apartments, with rent starting at $850 a month, is just what city leaders want to see.

"Slow, but it's happening and we have to be thankful for what's taking place," said Julius Pegues, of Tulsa Development Authority.

The Metro is another building financed in part with a $4 million, zero interest loan from the city. That's enabled several renovations like the Tribune Lofts and continuing new construction like the Metro.

"It's interest free for a 10 year period. The money has to be paid back. Then we'll invest the money in other downtown housing projects," Pegues said.

Even with the new apartment building, and others in the planning stages, there's actually a shortage of downtown housing. Most of these new buildings have waiting lists to get in.

"The Renaissance uptown at 10th and Denver, and the Tribune Lofts next door, both are full and we have waiting lists, and it's exciting having people living downtown and people are finally wanting to do it," said Amber Bayles, of American Residential Group.

The new building has the unusual feature of a few work and living units combined, with storefronts on the ground floor and apartments just above it.

It's going to have a swimming pool and a parking garage the buildings will share. But more importantly, city leaders say it's helping build a critical mass of people living downtown.

"The community is so lucky and so blessed to have good company risk good money on a good idea," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

The Metro is a $12 million dollar; 79,000 square foot building that is both contributing to, and part of the growing Brady district.