Vision 2025 demoltion work continues in downtown Tulsa

Monday, January 10th 2005, 6:35 am
By: News On 6

One business leaves downtown, another settles down, after both were bought out to make room for Tulsa's new arena.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has this Vision 2025 update.

Firestone confirmed Monday they will leave downtown, instead of rebuilding, once their downtown location closes next month. The company was searching for a spot downtown, but could not find one fast enough to meet the city's deadline to move out. The site of the future arena is a danger zone of demolition.

Over the weekend, the Gellco Shoe store and a warehouse next to it were demolished. The city's "buy it and bulldoze it" plan is on schedule. Paul Zachary with the City of Tulsa: “We have from now to July 1st to get all the buildings down, then also route the utilities rerouted around the perimeter and we'll keep marching on.”

The city owns 15 of the 19 pieces of land on the arena site. The postal garage is one of the few still in limbo and still occupied - others like the Citgo have less than a month left. Chris Shew with Firestone: “half my crew is down here already.” Firestone decided to move its employees to the Promenade Mall store, instead of trying to rebuild downtown. “Hopefully someday we'll be back downtown, but for now there's not a sufficient place for us downtown, and in the meantime I'll going to be running a shuttle or whatever it takes to service my downtown community.”

One business has resettled downtown. The Denver Grill moved to Boulder Avenue and reopened inside the Ramada Inn. It’s got a lot of the mementos of the old place, but it's a lot bigger. The kitchen is so big the old Denver Grill could fit inside it. Peggy Jones with the Denver Grill: “I'm glad it's over, and I'm glad I held out, I had a lot of sleepless nights. I didn't want to be unreasonable, but I didn't want to be taken advantage of either.”

The demolition work is moving fast to keep the arena construction on schedule. Firestone didn't have to be condemned but as it turns out, will be the last property to sign a deal.

The Citgo has already been condemned, and all these buildings will be cleared as soon as the ink is dry and the bulldozers can move in.