Arco gets second chance for apartment development
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Friday, November 30, 2012
11/30/12 at 1:52 PM
Downtown Tulsa’s Arco building, part of the Kanbar Properties portfolio, is under contract for purchase again by another group hoping to transform it into a mixed-use apartment building.
This time Wiggin Properties, an Oklahoma City-based development company, is leading the proposed transformation. Wiggin Properties previously transformed the former Mayo Building at Fifth and Main streets into Mayo 420, a collection of apartments and the new home for the downtown YMCA.
Emily Rohleder, vice president of the Tulsa branch of Wiggin Properties, said the company just starting to develop plans for the building at Sixth Street and Cincinati Avenue.
Though they haven’t yet secured funding, Rohleder said they’ve already hired a contractor and architect in hopes for a construction start in May or June of next year.
The first floor of the six-story, 133,000-square-foot building would be dedicated to retail, with the remaining floors divided into an unspecified number of apartments.
Rohleder said the company was drawn to the building due to its historic nature and its structure.
“It lends itself well to great retail space on the first floor due to the windows, and the upper windows would fit well with the apartment units,” she said.
Wiggin hasn’t yet set the number of units or even the style of each room, though Rohleder said it won’t be a carbon copy of Mayo 420.
“We want this building to have its own character,” she said. “We don’t want to reproduce the same look, though we do want the same quality.”
Each apartment will be available for rent, not for sale.
The company is exploring a number of options for how to fill the retail space, and is already seeking tenants, Rohleder said.
River City Development had previously obtained a contract to buy the Arco building and convert it to condominium units under the name 119 Downtown, and had completed a fully furnished unit in late 2010.
Jim Hawkins, the head of River City Development, said in late 2010 that construction of the condominums would be dictated by the amount of pre-sales.
River City Development’s conversion of the Philtower to 27 luxury apartments in 2005 was among the first of the recent spate of downtown living projects.