Tulsa Mayor Thinking Of Moving City Hall

Friday, March 16th 2007, 6:18 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's mayor unveils a plan to move city hall. Mayor Kathy Taylor believes the city could buy a new building and make money in the deal, between the savings of consolidation and the sale of other buildings. City hall could be moved into what is now called One Technology Center. The building is on the market for $80 million, but the city has already negotiated a lower price. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports the mayor says it could be the new home for hundreds of city employees by this fall.

It's been the city's main address since the 1960's, but Tulsa's City Hall might soon be moving. The city signed an option to buy the One Technology Center building, located on the north side of downtown, and will decide by July whether to finalize the deal.

"We believe that these buildings, particularly city hall, have prime economic development potential," said Don Himelfarb, Tulsa Economic Development Director.

The current city hall has millions of dollars in overdue maintenance; the mayor says that might be better applied to buying a new building. At the same time, she says developers want the land for a hotel to serve the new arena.

"We miss conventions in this city because we don't have enough dedicated hotel rooms next to the convention center," Mayor Kathy Taylor said.

The idea is to move employees from the current city hall and five other addresses all to the One Technology Center building. It would consolidate the offices and employees, now scattered across 12 buildings, into one address.

The public works administration on the west bank of the river would move out making the building available for developers. The fire department headquarters would be moved there and the police would move too. The new building has more than enough room, and the city says it's ready for the technology the city needs to be using.

"We have help desks and technology spread out over 8 locations today, the technology center is state of the art, not just for Tulsa or Oklahoma, probably in the country, as far as a technology building,” Himelfarb said.

The building is bigger than the city needs, but the rest of it, the mayor believes, can be rented out possibly to the tenants who are already in there.