Development concerns at 15th and Utica

Wednesday, January 12th 2005, 5:33 am
By: News On 6

Plans for a midtown Tulsa intersection have run into a roadblock because of a nearby historic preservation district. Arvest Bank wants to put in a large, upscale building on the southeast corner of 15th and Utica, but to do that, they need more parking.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says the bank has trouble finding common ground with the residents.

It’s just one house that stands in the way, but some residents and some on this preservation subcommittee say it's one worth saving. Susan McKee with the Yorktown Neighborhood Association: "It's like any kind of architecture, if it's not being created anymore, then there is a nostalgic feeling and a willingness to keep it preserved."

Even as the subcommittee was meeting, work continued on the site of the old H.L. Moss property. The developer is the same one that built the Bank of America structure at 21st and Utica and at 21st and Lewis.

The Arvest Bank they say would have the same luxurious architecture. Charles Norman, attorney for the developer: "The entire project is really intended to really make the corner significantly more attractive than the Moss property."

Most residents say they like the idea of the bank. But they want more compromises on the amount of parking. And they don't want an entrance off Victor Street which they say will increase traffic in the neighborhood.

Arvest developers warn that if they pull out, someone else will eventually move in and it might be a lot worse than their idea. Susan McKee: "Well I think the argument could be made that there could be something better put there as well."

It all comes down to one house and about 40-feet, but if the two sides can't agree, they might as well be miles apart.

The subcommittee is recommending that Arvest's request be denied. The full preservation commission will take the matter up Thursday. Arvest says it has to have more parking spaces for the size of building they want.