Tulsa, OK

100-year-old downtown building in Tulsa to receive a major facelift

Josue Torres

There is a highly anticipated renovation of a long-vacant building in the center of downtown Tulsa.

The Sinclair Building, which was one of the first skyscrapers of Tulsa when it was completed in 1919, has been acquired from the local community.

Ross Group project leader Dave Friedland said they intend to spend at least $15 million in the renovation of apartments and industrial space.

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Photo of Tulsa.Shutterstock

The building has been empty for way too long. On Bartlett Square, people say you can even sense the void, explaining that it is unfortunate that there is not much public infrastructure around.

For years, Ross Group has dedicated itself to historical conservation and, according to property documents, they purchased the Sinclair building for $4.7 million.

The old International Harvester Factory was converted into the headquarters of Ross Group. The Tulsa Club building was acquired for around $36 million in 2019 and transformed into a luxurious hotel as well as the Ice House Building of the 1920s was among its downtown developments.

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Photo by Mitchell Luo.Unsplash

Billy’s on the Square, which existed on two levels from 1984–2002, was the most prominent company occupying the Sinclair Buildings in recent history.

The hotel, which is named after Harry Sinclair, consists of a penthouse and a mezzanine, the living quarters of the previous owner of the building, C.J. Morony.

The Ross Group plans to renovate the Beaux-Arts building into less than 66 units, including residences, from studios to two bedrooms, that will provide staff accommodation.

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Photo by Nathan Wright.Unsplash

Ross Group, a collaborator of Merriman Anderson Architects, a Dallas company, plans to modernize the complex and emphasize its historical elements, including the opulent stone lobbies and oak floors.

“It’s got that strong horizontal brick-masonry and that kind of symmetrical windows,” Friedland, a city historian said. “These windows would allow exclusive spaces for apartments." "A lot of decent natural light would be accessible. Three of the four sides are strong and directly lit all day long. The fourth has strong indirect illumination and also has good viewpoints.”

The building was abandoned by Sinclair Oil & Gas Co. in 1953. The structure was then vacant for a long time and named after the most endangered historical property in Oklahoma by the Historical Society in 1994, after undergoing many modifications up to the 1980s.

In 1993, the building was purchased by Morony. Since collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, taxes, and sanctions, the city stopped several efforts to put this building on its auction plans through the years.

The deal between Morony and the Ross Group was managed by Dilon Argo and Brad Rice of Newmark Robinson Park.

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