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Analysis: Downtown Tulsa Accounts for 0.7% of City Land, 20% of Sales Tax Collections

A coming report offers new insight into downtown Tulsa’s economic importance to the city.

The State of Downtown report says downtown Tulsa makes up 0.7% percent of the city’s area but produces 20% of its sales tax revenue.

Downtown Coordinating Council Executive Director Brian Kurtz said the research confirms the area’s importance as the city’s economic engine.

"Whether it’s sales tax based on parking, based on ticket sales for events, and the growing number of restaurants and entertainment establishments that we’ve seen in downtown, people are spending their money here, but it’s also benefiting the entire city," Kurtz said.

Those sales tax figures also include collections at all city locations of businesses with a license tied to a downtown address. Kurtz said that's likely offset by businesses with multiple locations and a license tied to an address outside of the Inner Dispersal Loop.

Kurtz said the finding is a good reminder for voters, who will soon consider a funding package with more benefits for an area that’s already received heavy public investment for improvements, including an arena and a ballpark.

"Oftentimes, people will ask why we need to keep investing, and it’s because of this major economic generator that we need to continue that investment going forward," Kurtz said.

Kurtz said this calculation of downtown's impact has never been done before — along with several other findings in the State of Downtown report — making it a valuable resource for the DCC to have.

"The importance is in the data and having this data and research in our hands and able to talk about the health and vitality of downtown, to help businesses or developers make informed investment decisions," Kurtz said.

The State of Downtown report is an analysis of city data done for the DCC. It’s under review, and the full report is due out in the fall.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.