Plans For West Arkansas River Development Sink

Tuesday, August 9th 2011, 6:22 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The city of Tulsa says it's back to the drawing board to develop the west bank of the Arkansas River.

The city offered up the land, but didn't get any big ideas from developers. It turns out what many people consider to be a prize piece of property isn't such a prize after all -- at least right now.

04/29/2011 Related Story: City Of Tulsa Solicits Plans For West Bank Of Arkansas River

Developers tell the city they can't get financing for big projects right now. What could be considered Tulsa's best real estate isn't to the point that developers can get financing for a project the city wants.

"Retail financing is hard to come by these days," said Mike Bunney, Tulsa Economic Development Director.

In a briefing for the city council, the city's economic development team said no one is offering to build the kind of retail development and tourist attraction the city would like to see on the west bank.

The city asked for ideas and got three responses:

A 200 apartment senior living complex and a 300 room adventure hotel with a roller coaster. Another was to make the west bank a venue for the 2020 Olympics, including the Olympic stadium and park.

The third was less specific, an idea to build a 700 foot oil derrick replica with a shopping area around it.

Read the proposals for the riverfront project

"There's no water in the river right now, so we need to do some work on the low water dam at 31st street" said Tulsa City Councilor Rick Westcott. "Maybe we need to retool the proposal a little bit and maybe we need to wait until the economy improves a little bit."

The city doesn't have to accept any of the offers, and is likely to wait for better economic times to pitch the idea again.

Another developer could come forward at any time, but these three plans will be turned down by the city in hopes of waiting for something better.