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City Seeking Developer For Mixed-Use Project At Evans-Fintube Site

Chris Polansky
The Evans-Fintube / Oklahoma Iron Works building.

The City of Tulsa announced Monday it plans to develop 11 acres on the Evans-Fintube property, the site of the former Oklahoma Iron Works building, for a mixed-use project potentially including up to 200 units of housing and 75,000 square feet of commercial and cultural space at the corner of Archer and Lansing.

"The City’s goal is to redevelop the site into a major destination through a potential combination of entertainment, cultural, retail, and flexible office uses. The site also includes several acres of undeveloped land fit for multifamily housing or hotel development," the city said in a news release, citing the location's desirability due to its proximity to the Greenwood Cultural Center, the Greenwood District generally, downtown, and the under-construction BMX national headquarters and Greenwood Rising history center.

Wyatt Donnelly-Landolt, small business and entrepreneurship program director for the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, told reporters at a virtual press briefing Monday that the city hopes to engage with and benefit the community through the development, which is currently in the request-for-qualifications (RFQ) stage.

"We're very excited about this area. We think there's a lot of growth happening and we're very focused on creating opportunity for the community in terms of wealth creation, homeownership opportunities and economic opportunities," Donnelly-Landolt said. 

The City said that based on input from community stakeholders, they will be looking at bids that will provide opportunities for input from Black Tulsans in the planning and construction stages of the project and that will "leverage the history of Greenwood."

“This project represents a substantial opportunity to develop a neighborhood and commercial asset in Greenwood that not only reflects its unique history, but which makes tangible strides in revitalizing the spirit of Black entrepreneurship that was embodied by Black Wall Street,” District 1 City Councilor and Council Chair Vanessa Hall-Harper said in a statement. “I look forward to reviewing responses received through this RFQ process, as we seek to partner with developers who are committed to facilitating a process and project that not only engages North Tulsa residents and Greenwood stakeholders, but seeks out potential Black developers who have historically been shut out of local development opportunities.”

“As we approach the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial, this project creates an opportunity for community-driven economic growth in the Greenwood District,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement. “I am hopeful this site will create a cultural destination that honors the history of Greenwood, while also building economic opportunity for the community.”

City director of economic development Jim Coles said the site has been environmentally remediated from former industrial uses since the city took ownership roughly 12 years ago, and that they are hopeful the Iron Works building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, can be utilized rather than razed as part of the development.

"It really helped build a lot of the buildings -- I mean, it seems funny, but it's a building that helped build buildings," Coles said. "Through the manufacturing that went on, it helped to build a lot of the buildings that you see that are great Deco buildings in our downtown. We've tried to position it to give it every chance to succeed, but we really are going to need the development community as they come in to really assess and evaluate whether that makes sense.

"We sure hope it does. We'd like to see it stay. But at some point there's just an economic reality, whether that makes sense."

Donnelly-Landolt said the RFQ phase will be open through June 7th, after which three to five finalists will be selected for the request-for-proposals (RFP) phase. The winning developer is projected to be selected by late 2021 or early 2022, the city said. 

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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