Tulsa’s Brady Arts District is set to have three of its iconic buildings rehabilitated, transitioning them into thriving commercial and residential space. Totaling more than $12 million, the revitalization project will allow the historic area of Tulsa to facilitate additional commerce and continue to serve as a go-to entertainment destination for Oklahomans.
Through REI Development Corp., REI Oklahoma partnered with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Bank and New Markets Redevelopment, LLC to provide New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing of $5 million. The project breathes life into three of the area’s key buildings including the Universal Ford Motor Company Building, the EL Fox Building and the Fox Block Building. Among the oldest structures in Tulsa, the original Fox building was built in 1906, and construction of the Universal Ford Building followed in 1917. Originally, they facilitated commerce related to the auto and hotel industries, also housing retail stores offering medicine, hardware and other consumer needs.
Since receiving its first federally-funded NMTC allocation, projects completed in Oklahoma total $482 million, affecting more than 2,850 jobs. In 2014, the organization was awarded a $45 million allocation from the U.S Treasury, and is currently reviewing potential projects in addition to the Brady District activities.
“It’s exciting to play a part in the growing viability of the Brady District with other community development leaders like the Kaiser Family Foundation and U.S. Bank,” said Kenny Simpson, REI Development Corporation President. “Not only does this project stand to expand the Brady District’s economic prosperity, it also ensures the historical legacy of the area continues for years to come.”
Full of history and culture, Tulsa’s Brady Arts District stands to benefit from the project in these ways:
- Addition of more than 85 jobs, employing direct and tenant employees
- Host 200 construction employees during the construction phase of the project
- The addition of more than 30 new apartments ranging from 375 to more than 1,000 square feet
- Tenants including economic and community development organizations, eateries, communication-related businesses and more
Other successful beneficiaries of the NMTC program made available through REI Oklahoma have included health care facilities in Muskogee, Stigler, Tahlequah, Wetumka and Tulsa. Projects have included the restoration of the historic Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City and assistance to an aerospace company in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
REI Oklahoma, a non-profit economic development firm, offers services statewide. REI Business Lending collaborates closely with local lenders to help entrepreneurs navigate through business lending resources and programs. For women-owned businesses and minority-owned enterprises, REI Women’s Business Center and REI Native American Business Centers offer unique training, as well as technical assistance and access to capital. REI Down Payment Assistance provides support to potential homeowners. Additionally, business space is made available through the organization’s commercial facilities program. REI Oklahoma leverages the New Markets Tax Credit program to attract new investments into Oklahoma and create needed jobs in underserved communities.