|By Brian Barber, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
June 25, 2011--To the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey," gold shovels dug into a pile of dirt Friday commemorating the start of construction on the $100 million One Place development across from the BOK Center.
"It is with sincere relief that we are finally here today," One Place LLC principal Hank Pellegrini said of the mixed-use project that was first announced in 2009.
The project is said to be the largest private downtown development in decades, encompassing the entire square block bounded by Second and Third streets and Denver and Cheyenne avenues.
It will have office space, a hotel, public courtyard, underground parking and residential, retail and restaurant components.
Flintco will do the construction with Bart Boatright, who was project director over the BOK Center, overseeing the effort.
Demolition of a small office building on the site, as well as utility relocation, will happen in July, he said.
An 18-story office tower on the northeast corner of the lot -- to be occupied by Cimarex Energy -- will start going up shortly thereafter.
It is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2013, with the ground floor serving as restaurant and retail space.
Later this year, construction will begin on a four-story building that will stretch along the west side of the block.
The top two floors will be occupied by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, while the bottom two floors will be restaurant and retail areas. It is expected to be done in 2012.
Being involved in One Place, Boatright said, is special because spurring such private development was the goal of the Vision 2025-funded BOK Center.
"This is close to the heart for me," he said. "This is going to be an extension of that success."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said it would have been great to have this development in place earlier this year when the NCAA men's basketball tournament was being held at the arena.
"It would have knocked them over," he said. "But the next time we host the tournament -- which will happen -- this will be a reality."
One Place will be a driving force for the renaissance occurring in downtown Tulsa, Bartlett said.
Bob Eggleston, who was the construction director for the BOK Center, is a One Place LLC principal along with Pellegrini. Pellegrini is the son-in-law of former Mayor Kathy Taylor and her husband, Bill Lobeck.
The development group is busy fielding queries from other possible tenants, Eggleston said.
Two more major office tenants will be announced within the next few months, he said. Waiting lists have been started for the planned apartments, and retail and restaurants are clamoring to be part of the project.
Eggleston said he's also been meeting with potential hoteliers.
"It's all very exciting ... the interest that's out there," he said. "What's happening here today is the tipping point."
The bulk of the square block is being sold to One Place LLC by the Tulsa Development Authority, the city's real estate arm.
The sale already has been approved for $1.5 million.
The closing has taken time, however, because the parcels have been split up because of the financing and the environmental studies needed.
The deals on the parcels for the two office buildings should be final within a month and the rest not long after, TDA attorney Jot Hartley said.
Negotiations continue with the private owner of the strip of land that used to be the site of the razed Towerview Apartments. That acquisition would allow the entire square block to be used for the development.
Brian Barber 918-581-8322 firstname.lastname@example.org
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