View Full Version : Early stages of Oklahoma River development

01-14-2005, 02:03 AM
Looks like investors are already buying up land along the Oklahoma River.

We're still in the early stages. Obviously development will occur on the river. What type of development is still up in the air.

"Competing investors buy zone along Oklahoma River
by Brian Brus
The Journal Record

A long-ignored residential zone along the Oklahoma River near the Interstate interchange is being bought up by competing investors looking at two different plans for development.
The lots recently purchased are part of the blighted Walnut Grove addition, a cluster of about 15 blocks just southeast of Bass Pro Shops, nestled in the crook of Interstates 35 and 40 and bounded on the south by the Oklahoma River. Byers Avenue on the west provides the only traffic access to the area.

In the last six months, property sales in the area have picked up dramatically by Walnut Grove Development LLC headed by Terri Matthews of Pauls Valley, and Walnut Grove Investments LLC, a group of investors headed by Bill Canfield. The former corporation now holds 11 lots; Walnut Grove Investments has 60.

Public records at the county assessor's office reveal the two unrelated corporations have spent a combined $1.05 million for 513,380 square feet. Steve Storff, the county assessor's director of commercial real estate, said the buyers have been acquiring properties at prices slightly above old assessed values; the assessments may change this year depending on activity in the area.

John B. Davis, an attorney representing Canfield and at least one other unidentified investor, said Walnut Grove Investments has vague, long-term plans for its 60 percent stake in the tract, which might include anything from residential to retail uses.

"They are looking to eventually, some day - and be sure to stress 'some day' - see some sort of very decent development go down there," Davis said. "We don't know today if it's going to be restaurants, or residential, or retail on a more upscale basis.

"We may even try to do something along the lines of East Wharf at Lake Hefner, in principle, or a Utica Square in Tulsa," he said, referring to popular, upscale restaurant and retail developments. "Residential plans would be of the same class."

He said the biggest obstacle in picking a plan and running with it is the realignment of I-40 and the state's Department of Transportation's acquisition of land for the project.

"The other problem is access, because the only way you can reach it is through Byers (Avenue), and I've seen one of the ODOT drawings that suggest they might eliminate Byers going north," Davis said. "If they do, that's going to significantly limit what can be done there."

In a worst-case scenario, if the Transportation Department acquires some of the land through the policy of eminent domain, Walnut Grove Investments will still get a fair price for its investment, Davis said.

Matthews' plans for Walnut Grove Development's investment are similar to the other in at least one way.

"They seem to be eyeballing the Interstate construction, and I think that's why they're buying," Matthews said. "We're in there buying because we think it's a wonderful piece of property that I think could be a primary residential development one day."

Matthews was reluctant to discuss his ideas, other than to say he would like to see high-scale apartments built near Bricktown.

Both corporations recognize the others' action in the area will also play into long-term plans. Matthews and Davis said they would take a wait-and-see approach.

"We know that we can't do anything until ODOT finishes its land-grab, and then you can't do anything until the new Interstate is built - you can't build a restaurant and have the road blocked off for three years," Davis said. "So I'd say the minimum amount of time it'll take before you see anything is at least four years away and possibly seven or eight."

01-14-2005, 01:09 PM
What I want to see: Offices, a Galleria, and Housing.

I have a question: Are these people just going to restore the ruined houses, or will they ACTUALLY tear them down and DO SOMETHING with the land it is on?

01-14-2005, 01:10 PM
without a doubt they will tear down and rebuild, the question is when

01-14-2005, 02:23 PM
I would image that they're not the only developers wanting to move on some of this stuff, but they want to wait for the Crosstown realignment. Probably good for business, but bad for impatient people like me. :)

07-09-2005, 12:08 AM
Any news on this?

07-09-2005, 09:22 AM
Obviously this is a good sign. I'd love to see the area redeveloped and certainly it will be over time as the market conditions become ripe.

Without specific regard to Walnut Grove, I am curious of the potential displacement of lower income residents as "blighted" areas become more desireable for redevelopment, ultimately attracting a more affluent socio-economic base. For example, as inner-city schools are improved through MAPS for Kids, potentially the housing surrounding these schools becomes more desireable for younger, more affluent, families. This market change may very well drive out some of the existing residents over time who may be on fixed incomes, etc. In such an instance, where do the displaced residents go? Just curious what, if any, analysis, projections, etc. may exist regarding this scenario.

I'd be very interested in what comments and insights others have.