Recently freed up for renewal in urban Tulsa is what municipal leaders believe could be a transformative section of real estate.
The next step is finding someone to mold it.
To that end, the City of Tulsa on Friday unveiled its Request for Proposal for the Kirkpatrick Heights Addition and Greenwood Site Master Plan. The area encompasses 56 acres of Tulsa Development Authority-owned land returned to the TDA in a 2018 settlement with the University Center at Tulsa Authority.
“It’s an immense opportunity,” Ashley Philippsen, deputy chief of community development and policy for the city, said in recent interview. “We have the opportunity to model inclusive development.
“From a city standpoint, I’m excited to center lay people’s voices in the process but also have a bias toward smart urban development where we kind of address some of the challenges facing our community.”
Kirkpatrick Heights Addition and Greenwood lie just north of the downtown and the Inner Dispersal Loop. A former prominent black business district, Greenwood was decimated by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre but was rebuilt in subsequent decades.
Recent generations have watched the area decline because of significant social and physical changes, including urban renewal, gentrification and the construction of Interstate 244 through the community.
“It’s really important for us to ground this work in the history of that land and in a number of ways thinking about restoring some of the wrongs that occurred to that land,” said Nick Doctor, the city’s chief of community development and policy.
Respondents have until Jan. 15 to submit a proposal.
Phillippsen said she hopes the master plan provides strategies for incremental, mixed-used development that reflects the history and legacy of the area. Development objectives would include strong economic potential, an embedded, meaningful housing strategy, connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and accessibility to downtown.
The city recently launched a housing feasibility study for near-downtown neighborhoods to prepare for economic development in these areas.
“The land has sat vacant for so long, so there is concern, fear, anxiety about the unknown,” Phillippsen said. “We want to make sure we do this right.”