Sunday: Aloft hotel envisioned to bring new life to historic plaza
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2012
The developers turning the former City Hall building into an Aloft hotel are betting on the views. And not just the magnificent ones that come with each of the hotel’s exterior rooms.
But the view of what Tulsa’s downtown can become.
“I think the success of downtown and the safety of downtown is dependent on old buildings being restored,” said Macy Amatucci of Brickhugger LLC. “Everybody knows the ones that sit empty are the ones that get graffiti. It’s not good for downtown.”
For Amatucci and the other members of the development team, the new hotel — set to open Feb. 14 — is good for downtown because it marks the beginning of what they believe will be the revitalization of the Tulsa Civic Center Historic Plaza. The plaza and structures surrounding it are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in 1969 along with a detached City Council chamber, the 11-story City Hall building can be easy to miss, surrounded as it is by the Page Belcher Federal Building, the Tulsa City-County Library, the Tulsa County Courthouse, the Tulsa Police Department building and the Tulsa Convention Center.
But the developers say the planned reopening of Fifth Street from Denver Avenue to the Convention Center at Frisco Avenue — with a turnoff to the hotel’s front door on the south side of the building — will bring a whole new life to the area.
“When this is all done and the street is done and the library has a new front door and the Convention Center has a new front door, the smartest people in the room are going to be the ones who decided not to tear this building down,” said Bryan Bickle, president of Sustainable Design Builders, the firm constructing the hotel. “That would have been stupid.”
Read more in Sunday's World.
"We are passionate about saving old buildings," said John Snyder of TOCH LLC, which is turning the former City Hall into an Aloft hotel. "We are also passionate about being part of turning downtown around." CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World