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Watch Now: Picturesque setting site of proposed new $35 million boutique hotel north of downtown
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Watch Now: Picturesque setting site of proposed new $35 million boutique hotel north of downtown

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It will be the first private development to take advantage of the newly formed 36th Street North TIF.

Before he spoke Tuesday at a news conference, local developer Antoine Harris asked attendees to take a moment and drink in their surroundings: a wooded, undulating landscape with a direct view of Tulsa’s downtown skyscrapers.

“This location is very unique,” Harris said of the site at 36th Street North and North Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. “There is no other place in Tulsa where you have the skyline views and the access to the city.”

Harris is CEO of Tulsa’s Alfresco Group LLC, which is developing the $35 million Stradford21 Hotel on the property. He called it a cornerstone project for the 36th Street North corridor, adding that the “Frank Lloyd Wright-esque” development will change the narrative for north Tulsa and the entire city.

The first project in the recently established 36th Street North tax increment financing district, the boutique hotel will pay homage to J.B. Stradford’s original hotel at 301 N. Greenwood that was destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. At the time, it was the largest Black-owned-and-operated, Black-guest-only hotel in America.

“North Tulsa again, as we know, has been under-developed and left out of the conversation for pretty much a century,” Harris said. “But today, we have set a new precedent for private-public partnerships with the city of Tulsa and TAEO (Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity) to help Alfresco Group.”

The hotel, scheduled to be completed in March 2023, will feature 109 guest rooms, 6,000 square feet of conference/meeting space and 10,000 square feet of retail space, as well as a chef-owned restaurant.

A few years ago when Mayor G.T. Bynum met with members of the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative (NTEDI), he asked them who could make the biggest economic development impact in north Tulsa.

“Without hesitation, those leaders said Alfresco Group,” Bynum said of the majority Black-owned firm. “They said with Antoine Harris, you have a developer who does world-class projects. He does it the right way. He has an amazing vision for this location. Any major city in America would kill to have this guy in their city, and he’s local. We have to pounce on that opportunity.

“I am so thankful that we have a leader in Mr. Harris with all of those attributes. He has put together a remarkable team at Alfresco to follow through on his great vision for this site and for this part of our city. I’m also really thankful for the team that we have at the city of Tulsa at the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity that could find how we can best partner with them to bring this to fruition and make it what I think everybody in Tulsa would love to see right here, which is a beautiful mixed-use development.”

Lana Turner-Addison is president of NTEDI.

“The fact that we are standing here today is a tribute to the many Black Tulsans who have gone before,” said Turner-Addison, a former Tulsa school board member. “The entrepreneurial spirit of Greenwood and Black Wall Street lives on.

“As a Black Tulsan, I realize that as we have taken steps forward, we have often been pushed back two steps or more. But when we stay the course, stay in the right spirit, we can accomplish what we set out to do, as exemplified by this project.”

A TIF is a public financing method that diverts property tax revenues from the TIF district to pay for public improvements there over a specified span. The roughly $16 million 36th Street North TIF will mitigate costs for an $80 million, three-phase project that includes the Stradford Hotel.

Subsequent phases will address multifamily housing and retail, said Kian Kamas, executive director of TAEO.

“TAEO has been created to establish a powerful partner to spark private development,” she said “This project is a prime example of how public finance tools can spur that growth and development.

“Often times, economic progress is far slower than we might hope. For too long, we have lacked the tools and the resources to make transformative investment in north Tulsa. Our commitment today and moving forward is to continue to bring these types of partnerships and additional innovative finance tools to spur further, equitable development.”

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