ABUNDANT LIFE FACADE

Workers remove the facade of the Abundant Life Building in the 1700 block of South Boulder Avenue on Dec. 19, 2019.

MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

Just before Christmas, scaffolding went up around the Abundant Life Building at 1720 S. Boulder Ave.

Area residents and commuters who pass the urban eyesore caught their breath: Maybe someone was finally going to do something about a shabby structure that has been holding back the gateway to downtown Tulsa for years.

But, no. It turns out, the workers were only there to remove the decaying diamond facade from the building. Several of the ornaments have fallen of their own accord, creating even more of hazard for the building.

A spokesman for the building’s ownership told the Tulsa World’s Corey Jones that there are tentative plans to remediate the building’s asbestos next year, which would be an essential first step in redeveloping the property, but added there are “no solid redevelopment plans” yet.

That’s a shame.

Because of its location and history, the Abundant Life Building gets a lot of attention.

The windowless building was once the world headquarters for the Oral Roberts ministries. It featured what was said to be the world’s largest freight elevator, reputedly capable of taking an entire U.S. Postal truck loaded with the mailed donations of Roberts’ faithful TV audience to a secure processing room.

But when the ministry moved south, the building fell empty. Vandals took their toll, and the city struggled with a succession of owners to enforce nuisance complaints.

That property has a colorful history, but it cries out for a better future.

We’ve heard promising rumors of redevelopment and wish its current owners nothing but good luck with their plans, but Tulsa is tired of waiting for something meaningful to happen there.

In a time when downtown Tulsa is growing and starting to prosper thanks to a great deal of public and private investment, it’s a shame to have a decaying memory hold back an area ripe for growth and prosperity.


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