January 6, 2023

Top 10 Stories of 2022

Tulsa skyline across the river

Celebrating Key Accomplishments in 2022

Tulsa experienced an unprecedented number of economic development wins in 2022, made possible through the collective work of PartnerTulsa, the City of Tulsa and our community partners. From earning $40 million in federal funding to bolster Tulsa’s Advanced Mobility Industry to revitalizing neighborhoods, we’re sharing our top 10 list for 2022.  

  1. Tulsa earned millions in federal funding to diversify the regional economy. Tulsa was selected as one of 21 cities nationally to receive nearly $40 million in federal funding through the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant.  A broad coalition of regional partners across industry, higher education, and the public and philanthropic sector will lead a series of projects that will ultimately elevate Tulsa’s position as a leader in the growth of the Advanced Mobility Industry.
  2. New investments accelerated economic opportunity in North Tulsa.  Muncie Power Products opened their operations at the Peoria Mohawk Business Park, followed by an announcement that the Tulsa Housing Authority’s Comanche Park Complex was selected for a $50 million HUD Choice Neighborhood grant. Muncie’s investment and the Choice grant are part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort that will infuse an additional $200 million into the Phoenix District and surrounding area. Both initiatives are a result of years of collective efforts and represent among the City’s greatest efforts in pursuing holistic economic transformation within a targeted neighborhood. 
  3. Major retailers help revitalize Tulsa’s most important commercial centers. Costco broke ground on their second store in north Tulsa, which will open up a key area of commercial development in north Tulsa and help address food deserts in Districts 1 and  3,  while also creating a new center for additional development to serve the airport, major employers and residents along the U.S. 169 corridor. Scheels announced plans to build at Woodland Hills, which will result in a $132 million investment in the mall, and generate $18 million over the next 15 years that will be reinvested to support the revitalization of the 71st street corridor. Both are a result of the City’s efforts to support and invest in vibrant commercial centers critical to Tulsa’s long-term success.
  4. New investments in historic buildings support vibrant neighborhoods. After years sitting vacant, multiple major historic sites are being redeveloped. 2022 brought new investment to the Laura Dester site in the Pearl District, the downtown Sinclair building, the Evans-Fintube site in Greenwood, and the Historic Morton Hospital in the Dunbar neighborhood. Construction is underway on both the Laura Dester and Sinclair sites, both of which will add affordable housing units in Tulsa during a critical time when demand and need is high. Demolition of non-historic structures on the Morton site began in early December, paving the way for the City and PartnerTulsa to advance work with TEDC on the Greenwood Entrepreneurship Incubator at Morton. Negotiations on the redevelopment of the Evans-Fintube site with Team Alchemy progressed following the team’s selection earlier this year. 
  5. Plans for the transformation of Greenwood were finalized. Following more than a year of community-led planning, the Planning Commission and City Council approved and advanced the Kirkpatrick Heights-Greenwood Master Plan. Implementation of the Plan will be supported by $2 million in funding allocated in the City’s fiscal year 2023 budget, and the City and PartnerTulsa will focus on creating community-led governance to guide long term development and begin zoning and planning work to prepare for development. The plan will support development of Greenwood Plaza, strengthen the home of the nation’s largest Juneteenth celebration, and spur development of more than 700 housing units between Martin Luther King Blvd. and Boulder Ave.
  6. Mayor announced a historic commitment for housing development to address homelessness. During his November State of the City speech, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued a historic challenge to spur $500 million in new housing development over the next two years, with the goal of bringing diverse housing units to the city. Tulsa was selected as one of four cities in the country to participate in the Just Home Project with the Urban Institute and McArthur Foundation, which will fund a plan and provide $3 to 5 million in implementation dollars to develop housing solutions for justice-involved Tulsans to break the link between incarceration and homelessness. In a year when Tulsa saw major progress on housing developments across the city, this challenge creates additional focus on finding innovative solutions that will ensure all Tulsans have access to safe, quality, affordable housing, particularly those who face the most challenges.
  7. Tulsa region secured major industrial development wins. Tulsa’s regional economic development leaders, in partnership with the State, invested in infrastructure to ensure Tulsa is poised to win new industrial projects. Federal initiatives will produce an unprecedented wave of investment in major industrial facilities for the electric vehicle supply chain and chip manufacturing. Tulsa’s work to expand sites ready for these projects has the potential to transform the city, region, and state. In August of this year, the City of Tulsa secured a $50 million commitment in support of establishing 2,000 acres of industrial sites in east Tulsa. Thanks to a planned investment of more than $20 million by the U.S. Economic Development Administration in the Tulsa Ports Inola site and ongoing growth at the MidAmerica Industrial Park, the region is well positioned to compete for projects that will advance Tulsa’s position as a leader in the advanced mobility industry.   
  8. Tulsa gained national attention for becoming a go-to destination for talent. Thanks to the success of efforts like Tulsa Remote and major investments in public assets like the Arkansas River, downtown Tulsa, and unique neighborhood and commercial corridors, Tulsa has become a go-to destination for talent. Tulsa was featured in major national publications for its growth and ability to reverse the trend of a stagnant population within the city limits.
  9. Tulsa continued investment in Route 66. Following the success of Oklahoma’s only non-profit food hall, Mother Road Market, the City began streetscaping improvements along 11th Street and Lewis Avenue, and construction on the NOMA housing development on the northwest corner of 11th and Lewis is rapidly changing the skyline of the neighborhood. The City of Tulsa also announced the selection of Sharp Development to lead a development on City-owned property that will include the Route 66 Interpretive Center, housing, retail and restaurant space, a hotel, and nearly 200 parking spaces. Thanks to investments by local businesses and the City’s innovative neon sign grant program, Route 66 is once again a hub for residents and visitors alike.
  10. Tulsa’s higher education landscape innovated and expanded. At a time when the nation faces increasing talent shortages, Tulsa’s higher education institutions developed innovative ways to support Tulsa’s growth in the health and technology sectors.  The expansion of Holberton Tulsa in downtown will drive the next generation of software engineers in Tulsa and create affordable and accessible pathways to quality careers. OU-Tulsa announced plans to form a polytechnic institute to focus on high-demand careers and advanced technology, software engineering, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and telehealth. OSU-Tulsa announced plans for its new Medical District, expanding care and training for Veterans, mental health and primary care and enhanced pharmaceutical research. The University of Tulsa will see an influx of $12 million in state funding to expand the Cyber Innovation Institute, building upon the university’s historic strengths as a talent pipeline for national cybersecurity talent. The Cyber Skills Center at Tulsa Community College launched a flexible, 24-week accelerated training program in cybersecurity and data science focused on creating pathways for Tulsans from diverse cultural, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds, as well as from underrepresented groups.