The Tulsa Public Facilities Authority on Tuesday agreed to sell 12.3 acres of city-owned property on the southwest corner of 71st Street and Riverside Drive to a Texas developer for $1.4 million.
The sale is contingent on the developer, North Point Property Co. LLC, securing the promised anchor tenant.
Neither city officials nor the developer has named the anchor tenant but it is widely expected to be REI.
In fact, renderings of the development shown to trustees Tuesday were marked “REI.” Previously, the attorney representing the developer mentioned REI by name at a Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission meeting.
Tuesday’s vote was 3-2 with trustees Marcia MacLeod and Patrick Cremin voting against the sale.
Before casting her vote, MacLeod said she liked the project but questioned whether the authority had the power to convey the land to another owner without the property first being declared surplus and not needed for park space.
The property was once part of Helmerich Park.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who sits on the board, joined fellow trustees Charles Blue and George Sartain in approving the agreement.
“Good things take a long time,” Bartlett said after the meeting.
He defended the proposed commercial development along the Arkansas River.
“A reasonable amount of development, if it’s done properly, it helps enhance the river and it helps enhance the city,” Bartlett said.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, a petition was filed in Tulsa County District Court seeking to halt the sale to give Tulsans the opportunity to vet the project.
An attorney from the city’s Legal Department told trustees that the petition was improperly filed and did not meet the legal standards to be valid.
Several speakers voiced opposition not only to the project but to the process undertaken to approve it.
Former Mayor Terry Young told trustees that they may have technically been correct in how they followed public meetings laws but that they were not “politically correct.”
Young called for “bona fide public hearing” on the issue to give Tulsans an opportunity to express their opinions on the development.
Clay Bird, the director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, told trustees that the process has been transparent, beginning with requests for proposals that the city sent out more than two years ago.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. has more than 130 stores nationwide. The Tulsa store would be the company’s first in Oklahoma.
The company declined to comment Tuesday.
The other structures included in the development plans are a 12,000-square-foot retail/restaurant space; a restaurant with a 6,000-square-foot patio facing the river; and a 7,000-square-foot restaurant and retail space at the north end of of the property.
As part of its contract with North Point, TPFA agreed to use a portion of the proceeds of the sale to move the sand volleyball courts that are now on the property further south, where they will be upgraded.
The Tulsa Public Facilities Authority is a public trust established in March 1981 as the Tulsa Civic Center Authority. When the authority changed its name a year later, its role expanded to promote the acquisition, construction, operation and improvement of various public facilities.
Key facts regarding the Riverside Drive development:
Developer: North Point Property Co. LLC
Sale price: $1.4 million
Development location: 12.3 acres at the southwest corner of 71st Street and Riverside Drive.
Anchor tenant: The developer has not announced who the tenants will be. However, city planning officials and the attorney for the developer have said previously that the anchor tenant would be the outdoor equipment and sporting goods giant REI.
The store will be built on the west said of the property with the front of the store facing north.
The west side of the building will face the River Parks trails. At its highest point, the west-facing wall will be 36 feet 3 inches. The majority of the west-facing wall will be 30 fee
The west side of the building will include 18 feet 8 inches of windows. This is less than the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission initially requested but more than it ultimately required.
Other major tenant: The site plan submitted to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission shows a 7,000 square foot restaurant that includes a 6,000 square foot patio.
Parking: 589 spaces, nearly 200 places more than is required
Sidewalks: A sidewalk will be constructed in front of the project along Riverside Drive. app not more than 3 feet tall a berm
Construction date: Not yet announced.