This 1.77-acre lot immediately west of the Day Center for The Homeless on Archer Street was surplussed by Tulsa County commissioners last week. The brick structure in the background is the Tulsa Jail. KEVIN CANFIELD/The Frontier

Tulsa County is quietly preparing property it owns near the Tulsa Jail for possible use as the new site for Iron Gate’s soup kitchen and grocery pantry, according to multiple sources familiar with the project.

The sources spoke to The Frontier on condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Tulsa County Engineer Tom Rains said Friday that he had recently created a legal description for a 1.77-acre parcel on Archer Street at the request of County Commissioner Karen Keith. The property is directly south of the Tulsa Jail and directly west of Tulsa Day Center for The Homeless. The county is building its new juvenile justice and family court across the street.

Commissioners voted last week to instruct the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office to take the appropriate legal action necessary to surplus the land, the first step in making the property available for sale.

Rains said he was never told what the site would be used for, but several sources have told The Frontier that the property has been identified as the desired new home for Iron Gate.

The county is required to have three appraisals done on the property before it can be put out to bid. The minimum bid must be at least 80 percent of the property’s appraised value.

Rains said it would likely be six weeks before the land could be put up for sale, followed by a two- or three-week bidding window.

What remains unclear is whether and to what extent Iron Gate and the county discussed the sale of the property prior to the commissioners’ vote to surplus the land.

Rains said the property would go to the highest bidder.

“Anyone can bid on it,” Rains said. “It is open to the public.”

Shane Saunders, chairman of the Iron Gate board of directors, said in a statement to The Frontier on Friday that the board was aware the county land was being made available for sale. Saunders did not address whether Iron Gate has been in discussions with the county about purchasing the land.

He did say, however, that if the property “suits our needs, we likely will bid on it.”

“We remain under contract with the property at Seventh (Street) and Elgin (Avenue), and we’re still very much engaged with environmental and regulatory procedures to make that site a reality,” Saunders said. “If the county property is viable, then we would potentially have two good options for our new home.”

Keith was out of the country and not available for comment Friday.

Iron Gate soup kitchen. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

Iron Gate has been looking to construct a new soup kitchen and food pantry for more than two years. The organization says it has grown out of its current home at Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave.

In 2015, the nonprofit asked the city Board of Adjustment to consider a special exception to the zoning code that, if granted, would have permitted the construction of a 16,000-square-foot facility at 302 S. Peoria Ave. The proposal was highly controversial, and the board’s 2-2 vote killed the project.

In September 2016, Iron Gate announced it had found a new site for the facility on 1.5 acres between Seventh and Eighth streets and south Elgin and Kenosha avenues.

The BOA failed to approve a special exception for that property. Iron Gate appealed to Tulsa County District Court and is awaiting a ruling on its request for a summary judgment.

Iron Gate is classified as a government service under the city’s zoning code, so it is required to get a special exception from the BOA before it can build a new facility in the city.

Iron Gate officials have argued that a new, larger facility is needed to accommodate its ever-growing number of clients. The soup kitchen was established in 1978 by parishioners of Trinity Episcopal Church, who stepped out of a Bible study to made a sandwich for someone, according to Iron Gate’s website.

It has since become a separate entity from the church and serves more than 200,000 meals a year and provides tens of thousands of bags of groceries to the poor and homeless.

Read our previous coverage of the Iron Gate soup kitchen.