Broken Arrow on track to announce downtown developments
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
11/28/12 at 4:43 AM
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BROKEN ARROW - Officials may be within six months of announcing significant private developments in downtown Broken Arrow, an economic development official told a city advisory board Tuesday.
Talks are under way with multiple restaurants and residential developers for some form of redevelopment or new construction on Main Street, said Warren Unsicker, vice president of economic development for the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.
Few details can be discussed until the deals are closed, he said.
"I can only mention so much at this stage of the process," Unsicker told the Downtown Advisory Board. "Hopefully in the next six months, I'll have a lot to report."
He said several restaurants "are in play," with some having been in discussions with city officials for months and others only recently showing interest.
Residential developments may include multifamily dwellings and loft apartments, Unsicker said.
"I'm really encouraged in the level of interest in downtown development," he said. "I think we're going to start seeing more interest in downtown, especially as branding continues."
The City Council voted in October to "brand" downtown as the Rose District as part of an effort to foster an arts and entertainment district there.
A proposed $4 million streetscape project would incorporate roses into new landscaping while attracting pedestrians by widening sidewalks and reducing a portion of Main Street from four lanes to three, officials have said.
That project is expected to begin in the spring but still needs final City Council approval.
Lisa Frein, the chamber's downtown development director, told the advisory board that she has begun developing a marketing campaign for Main Street's new image.
One of the first steps - holding informal focus group meetings - is already under way, she said.
Frein said she is asking Broken Arrow and Tulsa residents what they think about downtown Broken Arrow as well as what they know about it.
"Basically, I'm really just gathering perceptions of downtown Broken Arrow," she said.
"We can attract Tulsa residents to downtown Broken Arrow as much as we can attract Broken Arrow residents."
Frein, who was hired in October after the departure of former Downtown Development Director Tom Barnett, was brought in mainly to market Main Street and foster cooperation with area merchants, chamber executives have said.
Frein previously co-founded a marketing consulting firm and has managed communications for the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
She told the advisory board that her first weeks on the new job have been spent attracting media coverage for the area and communicating with downtown merchants, as well as developing the marketing campaign.
"Feeling like they didn't know what's going on seems to be one of their (downtown merchants') issues," she said.
Original Print Headline: BA on track to announce downtown developments
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486