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Long-Imagined Santa Fe Square Project Now Underway In Downtown Tulsa's East End

A rendering for Santa Fe Square shows its 12-story tower at Second Street and Greenwood Avenue, featuring the name Hall Estil, the law firm leasing a significant portion of the available office space.

Downtown Tulsa’s east end is getting some new rooftops with a $125 million mixed-use project now under construction almost 20 years after it was first envisioned.

Santa Fe Square will be built on four acres of former railyard bounded by First and Second streets and Greenwood and Elgin avenues. The property has been surface parking for years now.

Plans include a 12-story tower, apartments and 30,000 square feet of retail space built around a European-style plaza.

"Mixed-use" has been used to describe plenty of local projects lately. McNellies Group owner and project development partner Elliot Nelson said that amount of retail space is what sets this one apart.

"If you look at a lot of the other new apartment buildings, even ones that have retail, the retail's a very, very small piece of it, whereas our retail's pretty significant. So, all those different moving parts along with a public plaza make it kind of unique amongst what's been developed in downtown over the past, say, five or 10 years," Nelson said.

Nelson first pictured the Santa Fe Square project shortly after opening McNellie’s Pub across the street in 2004. Plans have changed several times in the years since, but Nelson said he hopes Santa Fe Square spurs development of other vacant lots in downtown’s east end.

"I think a project like this will raise property values and then in turn allow some of these other properties that maybe before weren't financially viable that now maybe will be," Nelson said.

Law firm Hall Estill will lease about one-third of Santa Fe Square’s 150,000 square feet of office space, making a short move from Third Street and Boston Avenue. Managing Partner Mike Cooke said the location offers easy access to the Blue Dome, Greenwood and Tulsa Arts districts.

"Those are places where our young people want to be. So, it's really not a very far move from where we are, but it's got things that we don't have over there, like access to those restaurants across the street and art galleries that way," Cooke said.

Santa Fe Square will also have a 730-space parking garage. It should be completed in early 2023.

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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