Construction on north Tulsa shopping center progressing
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Monday, April 02, 2012
4/02/12 at 8:06 AM
Construction is under way on the nearly $3.8 million Shoppes on Peoria, a multi-tenant shopping center site at the corner of Peoria Avenue just north of Pine Street.
"When I recently walked out onto the concrete slab, I literally stood there a minute and got goose bumps thinking, 'Wow, this is really happening,'" project manager Katie Plohocky said.
A public meeting will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday at Rudisill Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave., to provide a construction update and information about franchise business opportunities connected to the project.
"So many times developments are talked about but they are never executed," said Rose Washington Rentie, executive director of the Tulsa Economic Development Corp., which is overseeing the project.
Four years after it was first announced, the project finally broke ground earlier this year and is 26 percent done, with a construction completion date of July 31.
The erecting of the steel is set to begin this week along with curb and guttering, Plohocky said.
Rentie noted that Crossland Construction also has configured some of the site jobs to allow for minority companies to be included in the work.
"What is most rewarding for me is the people who started this four years ago are now making it happen," Rentie said.
"Of course 3 percent of the people do 97 percent," she said. "I'm just glad we can move this forward for the community."
The project, which is using federal grants for the construction, would create partial space for a franchising program provided by the Tulsa Economic Development Corp.
Plohocky said the goal is to have franchises in the center for a soft opening in October and a grand opening in November, "as the holiday season begins."
She also said that the North Tulsa Leadership group, associated with Leadership Tulsa, has taken the project on to help promote it.
Rentie said there is a need to gather support from the community to make the center successful.
"We need to instill in them the importance of buying local," she said.
The leadership group is divided into three groups, Plohocky said.
One group is charged with marketing and community outreach.
Another is working with the franchise program and surveying the community to see what type of products and businesses are desired.
"We want to know where residents are shopping outside of the community so that we can bring those services and products to this center," Plohocky said.
The third group will target the development of smaller "out-parcels" in the shopping center and theme concept for the center, Plohocky said.
Rentie said one of the goals of Tuesday's meeting is to provide a clear understanding to the community of what is occurring and the timeline.
Plohocky said it is important that the community know what to expect "so that we can start creating some synergy and excitement."
Another goal is to encourage anyone interested in starting a franchise business for the center to take part in the FORWARD program, which is set up as a business guide for owning a franchise business.
Franchising Opportunities Reinforced with Assistance Rewards Development teaches potential business owners how to secure a franchise, the needed financing including tax incentives, and the expectations and requirements to be successful.
The Shoppes on Peoria project was first announced in 2008 by then-Mayor Kathy Taylor as part of the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative.
In 2009, controversy erupted over grant funds for the project's construction, which then was overseen by Reuben Gant, executive director of the Greenwood Chamber. The chamber's development arm, Greenwood Development Corp., was a partner in the project.
Then in 2011, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of the Inspector General issued a harsh audit report about Greenwood's lack of capacity to complete the project on time.
The report included a suggestion that sanctions be levied against Greenwood preventing any future federal housing grants to be allocated to it.
At that time, the project had $2.3 million in federal funds committed to the project.
Although Gant disputes the report's findings, he agreed to transfer the construction of the project to the Tulsa Economic Development Corp., under Rentie's direction.
No enforcement actions by HUD have been taken against Greenwood.
Shoppes on Peoria public meeting
Project update and information about franchise business opportunities
Time: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Rudisill Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave.
Original Print Headline: Construction progressing at shopping site on Peoria
P.J. Lassek 918-581-8382
Construction of the new Shoppes on Peoria shopping center continues at north Peoria Avenue and Pine Street late last week. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World
An updated artist's rendering released earlier this year shows the Shoppes on Peoria center currently under construction. Courtesy
Rose Washington Rentie (foreground), executive director of the Tulsa Economic Development Corp., and project manager Katie Plohocky look over the Shoppes on Peoria center under construction at north Peoria Avenue and Pine Streets on Friday. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World