Longtime urban residents Lori Schram and her husband, Doug Schram, wanted a place of their own to live downtown.
But she could find nothing she liked for sale.
“We were kind of naive enough to say, ‘Let’s just build something,’” she said.
And so they are.
The Schrams, along with Jeff and Kathy Weaver, are developing the roughly $24 million Davenport Urban Lofts at 405 N. Main St. Ground was broken Tuesday on the nine-story condominium and retail/office project in the Tulsa Arts District just south of Cain’s Ballroom.
About 30 percent of the residential space in the building has been sold, and the building is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2020, Lori Schram said.
“These people who are early owners have real skin in the game,” she said by phone this week. “They have an investment in this. That kind of thing is really helping us make sure this is the right product. …
“We kind of feel like we have scaled Mount Everest. We knew that we wanted to live here, and we felt like there were probably another slice of people who are not interested in renting.”
An investment adviser for 30 years, Lori Schram runs a couple of small businesses and is the founder of Left Brain Design, an interior space planning and design company. Jeff Weaver has a background in construction and owns Ventaire, which makes metal canopies, facades and building components.
“This is just being done out of a passion for living downtown,” Lori Schram said. “Anybody would tell you that it’s a lot easier to build apartments than condos. I would be the first to line up and tell you that.”
Davenport will include 32 condos on floors four through nine and rooftop common space. It will feature 64 enclosed parking spots and ground-floor retail/office spaces encompassing about 5,000 square feet.
“The opportunity existed,” Jeff Weaver said at Tuesday’s groundbreaking. “We did research in other cities. Tulsa is just behind the times when it comes to development, especially living. I think we did a good job of doing our homework, understanding the demographics, the economic business model. It says that this is a good idea.”
The condos will start in the $600,000s. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom units will average 1,700 square feet, and the three-bedroom condos will be about 2,500 square feet.
The facility will sit on what used to be Davenport Street, the “D” in the series of east-west north Tulsa streets named in the early 1900s.
Sean Kouplen, state secretary of commerce and workforce development and CEO of Regent Bank in Tulsa, said the Davenport condos are among 15 economic development projects that have been announced in Oklahoma this year.
“The blessings that we are experiencing are remarkable, and it’s because of people like Jeff and like Lori who step out and put it all on the line,” he said at the groundbreaking. “And also to Kathy and Doug for letting them do that. …
“This crowd is full of entrepreneurs. You have to be tenacious. You have to be smart. You’ve got to take risks. This is … a very visionary project.”
The proposed condos sit on two parcels of land Lori Schram purchased in 2015 for a total of $530,000, one from North Main LLC for $120,000 and the other from North Main Enterprises LLC for $410,000, Tulsa County Assessor records show. The project met with some resistance when it was announced several years ago.
“All humans really don’t like change,” she said. “You change an area, and it’s a little bit like, ‘What? Don’t do this.’
“We were kind of early. We were the first people to kind of come out and say, ‘Let’s do some development up here.’ Since that time, I think the landscape has changed a lot.”