Growth and Investment in Tulsa, OK
Tulsa has experienced robust private and public investment in the City’s Downtown District and the adjoining Arkansas River Corridor — the new Route 66 Mixed-Use Development Project Site is ideally located between the two. Since 2009, nearly $1 billion in private and public investments have revitalized Downtown and the River Corridor with a vibrant mix of entertainment, art, food, multi-family dwellings, and recreation.
Downtown attractions include: the 18,000-seat BOk Arena, designed by internationally known architect Cesar Pelli, which hosts national talent and sporting events; ONEOK Stadium for the Tulsa Drillers, a Double A-Central affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and the commercially vibrant Tulsa Arts, Blue Dome, and Art Deco Districts.
River Corridor improvements include enhanced amenities for the trails and the River West Festival site. River Parks includes 26 miles of asphalt-surfaced trails, many of which are dual trails for pedestrians and cyclists. Tulsa has received the Bicycle Friendly Community bronze-level designation from the League of American Bicyclists which recognizes the commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure, and pro-bicycling policies. In Tulsa, bicycling activities range from the nationally recognized annual Tulsa Tough racing event attended by more than 50,000 people, to ongoing activities such as kids’ after-school bike clubs and adult bike clubs that ride on a weekly basis. Tulsa also is the home of the USA BMX national arena and headquarters, to be built at the Evans-Fintube historic site in the Greenwood District. Construction of this project began in 2018, with $15 million in funding from the Vision Tulsa sales tax.
Located just 1.8 miles south of the Route 66 Mixed-Use Development site on Riverside, the Gathering Place, opened in 2018 with an investment exceeding $400 million, is a 100-acre outdoor river-front destination providing free access to recreational opportunities in addition to food, art, and entertainment events. Opened adjacent to the Gathering Place in 2022 is the 50,000 SF Tulsa Children Museum’s Discovery Lab. Construction on a new low water dam project with an integrated white-water flume and an iconic pedestrian bridge is well underway and will increase recreational opportunities on the river.
Since 2003, the City of Tulsa has invested over $20MM citywide to construct and create a notable Route 66 heritage celebrating its two Route 66 alignments. These enhancements include those abutting the Site: Avery Centennial Plaza, East Meets West sculpture, Route 66 Skywalk, and Avery Plaza Southwest Motel Neon Sign Park. Other citywide Route 66 exhibits include the Historical (Train) Village, East and West Gateways, Route 66 Rising sculpture, mosaic artwork, and restored iconic two-paneled neon Meadow Gold sign installed on an outdoor Pavilion.
Tulsa is the adopted home of the Father of Route 66, Cyrus Stevens Avery. The Art Deco bridge adjacent to the Site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, aided Avery in aligning Route 66 through Tulsa. Preliminary studies are underway to determine restoration feasibilities.
Inspired by these and other citywide capital investments, entrepreneurs have made private investments to adaptively reused historic buildings and create five unique areas along Route 66 featuring classic and kitschy designs and a mix of food, art, and retail. To date, over forty businesses have participated in a City-sponsored Neon Sign Grant Program bringing classic neon features back to the storefronts of Route 66 businesses.
The new Route 66 Mixed-Use Development represents the City of Tulsa’s continued support of and investment in preserving and promoting Route 66 and capitalizes on the momentum of growth in and around the Project Site.