Looking at the future of Tulsa's downtown entertainment district

Thursday, March 17th 2005, 6:10 am
By: News On 6

The downtown Tulsa entertainment district is dark in a few popular spots. The Baja Club and Studio 310 are empty.

Wednesday at 5 PM was the court ordered deadline for club owner Steve Kitchell to move out.

The News on 6's Heather Lewin says normally the area would be packed with crowds celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Now would be club goers are greeted with locked doors and no sign of a party.

Property owner Michael Sager arrived early Thursday morning to survey the situation. "The reason there's no lights is they took all the fixtures." What they found, two popular downtown nightspots, stripped bare, missing furniture, electronic equipment, even bathroom doors.

Tulsa Police were first alerted around 2 AM Thursday after reports of the Baja and Studio 310 outside doors left wide open, alarms sounding. Property owners say it's in response to the eviction of club owner Steve Kitchell[pictured] who recently declared bankruptcy after being sued for what property owners’ claim is about $150,000 in unpaid rent. "When Steve Kitchell took Studio 310 it was a 250 seat restaurant, Finales, fully equipped and today you see what you see."

Kitchell tells a different story, he says the eviction was a mutual agreement and that the restaurant furniture was moved out long ago by Sager during a remodel. As for cleaning out the clubs. “It all belonged to us."

Kitchell claims he doesn't owe thousands of dollars in rent, he says he stopped paying because it was understood he had put that money into improving the property. In fact he says Sager owes him. “We actually have a credit balance with Mr. Sager that will be taken up in district court."

Sager says Kitchell's claims are quote-"absolutely false." Both sides are still battling out the issue in court. As for the future of the property. Michael Sager: "We will seek some new tenants, do some new remodel activity. The downtown district or this particular entertainment area will prosper again."

Property owners changed the locks Thursday and secured the building. Sager says Studio 310 will probably become a restaurant with residential lofts up above. He called the whole situation positive for the area.

Kitchell says he plans to open a series of new clubs on 2nd Street.