|By Brian Barber, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 23, 2011-- A hotel is expected to be announced for the $100 million One Place project across from the BOK Center before the end of the year, the developer said Thursday as ground was being broken on the second phase of the project.
One Place LLC principal Bob Eggleston told the Tulsa World that "advanced talks" are ongoing with a major hotel group that wants to be part of the city's largest private downtown development in decades.
Planned to encompass the entire square block bounded by Second and Third streets and Denver and Cheyenne avenues, the project will include office space, a hotel, public courtyard, on-site parking and residential, retail and restaurant components within four construction phases.
"Our intent is for this to be a destination spot, and it's well on its way to becoming a wonderful reality," Eggleston said.
"People are going to say, 'Let's go downtown,' and it won't just be to attend a concert at the BOK Center."
The ceremonial dirt turned Thursday was for a five-story building along the Denver Avenue side of the block that will have two floors occupied by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
The bottom two floors of the building, set to be finished next August, will be commercial space in prime position across from the arena.
The remaining floor will be a conference center with possibly more office space.
This was the second groundbreaking for the development.
In June, work was begun on the 18-story One Place Tower, which is on the Second Street and Cheyenne Avenue corner of the block and will house Cimarex Energy along with retail space.
It will be completed in early 2013.
By the time these two buildings -- with 700 people working inside -- open, restaurants and stores are planned be in operation, although no formal announcements have been made on that front yet, Eggleston said.
"There will be 40,000 square feet of retail just in this half block," he said.
"The restaurant market is obviously very interested because of the BOK Center and the lunchtime crowd. We are talking to several restaurants who don't have a presence in Oklahoma right now who really want to be here.
"At the moment, we are being quite picky," he said.
"We haven't really done or needed to do any marketing. They are all coming to us. We are trying to achieve a high level and get a good mix of establishments."
The bulk of the square block was sold for $1.5 million to One Place LLC by the Tulsa Development Authority, the city's real estate arm.
Passersby will notice two giant holes dug on one side of the block. They are the beginnings of the tower for installation of its piers, said project director Bart Boatright of Flintco, the construction firm.
The mound separating the holes is where a utility line needs to be moved.
Site work will begin for the Northwestern Mutual building in the next few weeks, Boatright said.
Construction of the BOK Center was led by Eggleston and Boatright, who were part of the Tulsa Vision Builders partnership.
"It's very special to me to be to be working on One Place with Bob because it's this sort of private downtown investment that was the goal of building the BOK Center," Boatright said.
Northwestern Mutual managing partner Lance Franczyk said his company's employees are excited to move from their south Tulsa offices to be part of downtown's renaissance.
Franczyk said he and Eggleston were having lunch together more than a year ago and he mentioned being interested in relocation, asking Eggleston for a recommendation on a good spot.
"A Cheshire grin spread across his face, and he said, 'I think I know just the place for you,' " Franczyk said with a laugh.
Project leaders considered the rain during Thursday's ceremony a good omen.
"They say rain is good on wedding days," One Place LLC principal Hank Pellegrini quipped to Franczyk. "So maybe with the mayor here he can oversee a marriage of landlord and tenant."
Brian Barber 918-581-8322 email@example.com
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