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Tulsa Crowne Plaza Redevelopment Plan On Hold After Group Withdraws Application Before Council Vote


Plans are on hold to remake a south Tulsa hotel into a development that includes a hotel, apartments targeted to older veterans and daytime senior care.

Veteran Services USA withdrew their application for the project hours before a city council vote on it this week, saying they wanted to allow more time for discussions with the community.

Residents near 81st Street and Lewis Avenue and Oral Roberts University opposed the proposal. The city council received dozens of form letters and emails from people saying they don’t want additional low-income housing in their area, blaming it for rises in crime. The project is in Councilor Jeannie Cue’s district. She said the city should take a better look at its affordable housing supply and needs.

"Do we need more units? Or do we need to see what units we have and get everyone involved in every apartment complex in our city to work together to support everyone in our district?" Cue said in a Wednesday committee meeting.

The redevelopment proposal narrowly passed the local planning commission to get before the council. 

District 7 Councilor Lori Decter Wright said she worries the former Crowne Plaza Hotel will fall into disrepair before another developer comes along and notes the area is already considered appropriate for the type of project Veteran Services USA proposed.

"The other thing is, Aero is very close to that. And so, when we invested in the BRT, it was with the idea that we would center housing and amenities on those rapid transit corridors," Decter Wright said.

District 4 Councilor Kara Joy McKee said any kind of new housing will affect the local market, but there’s a way to offer some stability.

"And so, my hope for this unit and for others is that there will be the possibility of mixed income, with perhaps some professors from ORU in this space, potentially," McKee said.

Veteran Services USA's proposal called for 120 to 160 apartment units, with 20% reserved for people earning up to 50% of area median income, 55% for people earning up to 80% and the rest offered at market rates. The organization admitted it could not, however, guarantee a certain proportion of veterans would be housed there.

Through their attorney, Veteran Services USA had asked on June 21 for the council vote to be postponed until July 28.

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.
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