The Vision for a new downtown Arena

Thursday, July 31st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

One item in the Vision 2025 plan would change downtown more than any other - the idea to build a new Arena, and remodel the existing Convention Center.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it's probably not a perfect location, but it's about the only option for a new Arena connected to the old Convention Center.

The planned Arena is the size of 4 city blocks, and the planned site is the space between First and Third Streets and between Denver and Frisco. Firestone is the biggest business on that land. It would have to be bulldozed.

It's not the first time the city has eyed these businesses - several have been planning on moving - convinced an Arena was coming their way. Gellco Shoes is delaying improvements to their building until after the vote.

The Vision plan for the Arena is a $125-million, 18,000 seat hall, that could handle some of the country's largest concerts and sporting events. A sky bridge would connect the existing Convention Center to the Arena. A new $58-million expansion of the Convention Center would be built.

While the drawings are very specific, the look is not - the drawings reflect the architecture of downtown. The plan requires clearing four square blocks of small businesses, several offices and shops - but if it's built - supporters say it would draw another 200,000 visitors to Tulsa every year - an economic difference that could filter to every corner of the city.

Concerning the existing businesses, the city would negotiate first - but they could condemn the land if negotiations don't work. But several business owners in the affected area say they're ready to go.