Tulsa's BIG downtown building deal

Friday, August 5th 2005, 9:50 am
By: News On 6

A California millionaire has bought six high-profile buildings in downtown Tulsa all at once. The deal just went through a few days ago.

Spokesmen for Kanbar Spirits out of San Francisco say the company has big plans for the big buildings.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says Maurice Kanbar thinks Tulsa could be the next Portland and that downtown is on the verge of a renaissance and he's putting millions of dollars behind it.

The buildings are some of Tulsa's most historic and most beautiful. The original Public Service Company building at 6th and Main, a prime Art Deco example. At 4th and Cheyenne, The Adams Hotel, which is on the National Historic Register. The Oil Capital building is on the newly refurbished Bartlett Square. Not far away, The Secure Agent Building has also been bought and just across the street the Pythian Building, another art deco jewel.

The buyer is San Francisco millionaire Maurice Kanbar, who his representatives say has high hopes for Tulsa and was motivated in part by the Vision 2025 plan and what that will mean for downtown. Kanbar made a good chunk of his fortune with his Skyy Vodka Company, but he's also well known as an inventor and philanthropist and for his interest in movies and the arts.

His spokesperson, Christine Booth says this building deal is not at all your typical real estate transaction and that they think Tulsa will be elated when it hears the long-term plans.

Kanbar's company says they view this as a long-term deal, some of the buildings will not change much at all they say, while with others they have plans for mixed-uses with a heavy emphasis on residential use.

Preservationists will no doubt be pleased that the buildings appear to be in stable hands.
And city leaders who have long been looking for developers to nurture residential areas in downtown say the vodka company owner is creating quite the buzz.