North Tulsa Neighborhood Prime for Renewal

The sound of bulldozers may soon be replaced with the sound of new construction in one north Tulsa neighborhood.
Tulsa Development Authority this month issued 24 requests for proposals for affordable, sustainable housing in the Crutchfield neighborhood, northeast of the IDL.
City Planner Dennis Whitaker said Crutchfield represented an opening for more reasonably-priced housing near downtown.
“Crutchfield is a great opportunity near the central business district,” Whitaker said. “There are nearly 300 vacant lots in the area, all with close proximity to and an extraordinary view of downtown. [TDA] is selling the ones we own, and there are also individual owners who would probably be willing to sell.
“The neighborhood has sort of gone through phase one of clearing the substandard or vacant housing. The downside to that is a lot of vacant lots, but that is also an upside because there is a ton of room for new development.”
Crutchfield is bounded by east Admiral Place, east Pine Street, U.S. Highway 75 and north Utica Avenue. Some of the approximately 800 existing homes in the area range up to 90 years old, while 153 of them, or 19 percent, have been built since 1970. Despite the range in age, most of the homes’ architecture is typical for the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s.
In addition to its close proximity to downtown, the RFP lists other area improvements as the BOK Center, the under-construction downtown Drillers ballpark and Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Langston University-Tulsa’s campuses, both located just west of the neighborhood.
Whitaker said the neighborhood and TDA wanted to see the neighborhood revitalized, rather than simply bulldozed and built over.
“You have a strong sense of community, which comes from the amount of third and fourth generation owners,” he said. “They would like to see Crutchfield reinvented back to the sort of working-class neighborhood that it was before.”
While Crutchfield RFP lays out specific requirements for proposed housing, and the neighborhood certainly has a strong vision, Whitaker said that doesn’t limit what can be done with the available properties.
“Crtuchfield is traditionally a mixed-use neighborhood, with a strong history of everything, and the neighborhood association has a healthy appreciation for that,” he said.
Whitaker said the City had reserved lots between north Norfolk Avenue and north Madison Avenue on east Archer Street, an area that runs along a railroad line, for commercial properties.
Additionally, and a bit unusually, TDA is allowing respondents to propose purchase and development of one, several in combination, or all lots together.
“Traditionally, people would prefer a large assembled tract,” Whitaker said.
Scarcity of funds, however, prevented the City from purchasing all available lots, which Whitaker said has lead to a more flexible process.
“If they want to reconfigure the lots, or join a bunch of them together, that isn’t out of the question,” he said.
Proposals are due back to the TDA before 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2.
Selection will be made through a committee process with consideration given to, among other things, financial strength, past success, marketing strategies, quality of product and innovation.

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