WPX Energy unveiled plans to build a new headquarters in downtown Tulsa on Friday.
The 11-story, 260,000-square-foot tower will be built on the block of property where the old Spaghetti Warehouse is located.
Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and wrap up in 2022.
WPX is an exploration and production company that became an independent in 2011 after it spun off from Williams Cos. It employs 450 people in Tulsa with a local payroll of $55 million.
As an exploration and production company, WPX doesn’t operate in Oklahoma. Its major land holdings are in the Permian Basin in west Texas and New Mexico and the Williston Basin in North Dakota.
Company officials at times in the past, and just prior to purchasing the land for this project, have looked at other areas to relocate that might have made more sense, including Denver, Dallas and Houston.
“At the end of the day we decided the best action is to stay in Tulsa. We have a great team in place, and this allows us to do something for the community that is very positive,” said Rick Muncrief, WPX CEO. “We are betting on the team we have and the assets we’ve put together, and part of that strategy is staying in Tulsa and growing from where we are today.”
The company currently occupies seven floors of the BOK Tower, and the new campus will allow the company to grow by 25%.
The building will be located on the square block bounded by Detroit Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the east and west and Cameron Street and Reconciliation Way to the north and south.
The project includes 245,000 square feet of office space for WPX, 15,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 700 parking spaces.
The development features plans for a public plaza to the west and a public pathway through the middle of the campus connecting Guthrie Green in the Arts District and John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park.
The campus and its front door will face east toward Reconciliation Park as a symbolic tribute to the importance of Tulsa remembering its past.
“If you look at the design, it really honors the tradition of the past with a brick facade that fits well in the neighborhood,” Muncrief said. “If you think about the passageway from Greenwood into the Arts District, it tells you two things: No. 1, we want to be a conduit for positive change. No. 2, we want to be a healthy passageway from the past into the future.”
The energy company purchased the property — including the Spaghetti Warehouse building, another warehouse and two parking lots — for a total of $6.5 million.
Officials with the company wouldn’t say what the projected cost for the project is, other than that it is a “significant investment.”
According to information distributed by the company, the project will be a total investment of more than $100 million in downtown.
Several local officials were on hand Friday afternoon at City Hall to celebrate the announcement of the project.
“WPX has operations across the United States and could have built elsewhere, so the very intentional decision to locate a new corporate headquarters in the Greenwood District shows a deep commitment to Tulsa and the company’s 450 area employees,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “This investment in one of Tulsa’s most historic neighborhoods will have a positive economic impact on our community for decades to come.”
Utility work is already under way at the site, with surface preparation, concrete work and development for the underground portion of parking scheduled for the balance of the year.
The project also incorporates green space, trees, lighting, benches, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, and streetscaping consistent with Tulsa’s Downtown Master Plan.
“When you look at Tulsa and its history, each era is really defined by the architecture of the buildings that were built in that time,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “You can see landmark moments in our history. When we became the oil capital of the world and Waite Phillips built the Philtower; when John Williams decided they were not going to move Williams to Houston and instead built the BOK Tower … . We have another important announcement today about an important era in Tulsa history.”
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