River District plans scaled back in Jenks
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 06, 2010
2/06/10 at 5:16 AM
As far as its owners and developers are concerned, the River District lives.
But the former $1 billion residential, shopping and employment hub planned in Jenks near the Arkansas River is being retooled into a significantly smaller, $85 million to $120 million phase one, said Steve Walman, a real estate broker and developer on the project.
"With the downturn in the economy, we wanted to come up with a more manageable plan," he said. "Often the larger developments are done in phases, and we're taking that route now."
Lynn Mitchell and the River District Development Group, which is still the owner and development entity for the project, initially planned 852,000 square feet of space for the 300 acres along the west bank of the river south of the Creek Turnpike.
Mitchell and the development group still own the entire 300-acre site, which was leveled for development nearly two years ago. Walman said they hope to eventually develop the entire tract.
The new plan, which is still taking final shape, calls for 479,000 square feet of buildings over the 45 acres along the river, Walman said. Currently, the plan features 130,000 square feet of retail space, 80,000 square feet for office, one hotel and 46 brownstone-style homes.
Since even the smaller project is still large and complex compared to other area developments, construction is at least a year away. Walman said it would likely take an additional 14 months for all buildings to be completed.
Everything is still planned to have high-end finishes and attract higher-tier tenants.
Although nothing is final, the revised project is attracting interest from potential tenants.
"We've already got some pre-leasing activity," Walman said.
The more than two dozen buildings in the latest plans are organized more densely than typical shopping developments in order to encourage walking and exploration of the entire center, Walman said.
There will be some outside parking, but it will be supplemented with parking within the ground floor of the buildings themselves. Stores, offices and restaurants will be on the upper floors, which will give many tenants a different feel from the Tulsa area norm.
"The restaurants will be able to have elevated patios that look out onto the river or the River District plaza," Walman said. "We don't have much in our market that offers elevated dining."
As they get the site plan in order, developers are working with the city of Jenks on infrastructure issues.
The economy isn't the only thing that has changed since the River District was announced. The Village on Main, a $60 million retail, office, residential and hotel development on Main Street near the River District site, also has been seeking upscale tenants since it was announced last year.
Walman said there's plenty of room for both developments, and that each may benefit from the other.
"It's like having three jewelers across from each other in a mall," he said. "They don't cannibalize the sales of each other, since you have people who cross-shop."
Robert Evatt 581-8447
The site of the River District, a planned development in Jenks that will offer a mix of office, retail and apartment space, is shown. The land is just south of the Creek Expressway and east of Peoria and Elm avenues. JOHN STANCAVAGE/Tulsa World