A new downtown Tulsa parking garage project will be easy to spot.
The 168,000 square foot First Place Garage at 419 South Main St. will feature long, vertical aluminum panels on its three above-ground floors. The panels will spell out "Tulsa" over 3,000 square feet of glass-enclosed retail space and a large, wraparound patio. The exterior will usually be blue but will be able to change colors.
Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tulsa is rethinking how parking garages look and function.
"The fact that you’ll have retail and restaurant on the first floor, on the street level that people will be able to utilize. The fact that the facade of it will be so beautiful. This is not just a strictly utilitarian facility," Bynum said.
Developer Stuart Price said there will be around parking 500 spaces, which will help spur more downtown projects.
"There’s over $1 billion that has been spent downtown, and there will be billions yet to come. This is a happening place," Price said.
Bynum says downtown needs more parking, but surface lots are not the best use of limited space.
"This is not suburban countryside down here. This is the part of our city that has the greatest potential to be a vibrant economic sector with high density," Bynum said.
The $12.8 million project received a $1.7 million, interest-free city redevelopment loan and a six-year property tax abatement. It’s expected to open this fall.