Developing Tulsa's Brady District

Tuesday, October 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Business may have dried up a little during the recession, but now the next wave of downtown development is underway in the Brady district and in the East Village area of Tulsa.

As News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg tells us, one young entrepreneur has his sights set on one of Tulsa's oldest buildings. Built in 1905, the building at 1st and Elgin is about 70 years older than its new developer, Elliott Nelson.

But he thinks its the perfect place for a bar and restaurant. "Mainly the character. It would cost you millions of dollars to re-create a building like this and get the character that's already there.” Which is not to say it's cheap. Nelson is putting $300,000 into the building to create McNellie's Public House, an idea he got while living in Dublin for six months.

"After going to Ireland, I really liked the pubs there. The furniture, I bought all of it in London, it's all 1880's and 1890's furniture, most of it came out of pubs, with drink rings on the tables." After months of delays, work has finally begun to reinforce the floors and put in an elevator and kitchen.

The building will have a bar on both floors and restaurant seating for about 200 people. In the Brady District meanwhile there's another groundbreaking of sorts, new sidewalks and streetlamps and other long-awaited infrastructure improvements to this suddenly revitalized area. "I'm a native Tulsan, so we saw it in its heyday and we're helping it come back to that."

Longtime downtown developer Michael Sager says the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together. "We're seeing city involvement and code improvement, economic development money, private investment, commerce, and it's all good."

Now, Nelson just needs a little luck of the Irish. Nelson: "More than anything, we want to be open by Saint Patrick's Day." Steve Berg: "Very important for an Irish pub." Nelson: "Exactly."