The $55 million renovation of the Cox Business Center begins, marking the end of Tulsa’s convention center arena.
It’s being turned into a 41,000-square foot ballroom to boost the meeting space that's available. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said the arena holds a lot of memories for a lot of people, including a WWF wrestling event he attended as a kid.
"Ted DiBiase jumps out of the ring and grabs my dad’s metal chair and jumps in the ring and hits Killer Khan with it, and that was the most exciting event of my entire childhood. And it happened right here," Bynum said.
The renovation also includes an upgraded kitchen for event food service and a new entrance on the east side. A coalition of local engineers, builders and architects is tackling the work.
"So, the benefits to Tulsa do not start once it opens. The benefits to Tulsa start today with the demolition and the jobs that this project will create through the construction of this facility," Bynum said.
Cox Communications Vice President Roger Ramseyer said the company sees the building as more than a giant downtown ad.
"Cox thinks of this as an investment in our community’s nonprofits so that they can fulfill their vision by raising money under this roof. We think of it as an investment in Tulsa’s civic organizations to educate and enlighten us … and an investment in attracting convention business to Tulsa," Ramseyer said.
The changes are intended to lure more large conventions and similar events to Tulsa.