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Man hopes to restore Tulsa Club Building to former glory

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Reported by: Ron Terrell
Updated: 12/31/2013 9:05 am Published: 12/30/2013 4:46 pm

It's been sitting vacant for the past 20 years, but it was a hot spot during Tulsa's oil boom in the early 20th century.

The Tulsa Club Building was built in 1927. It's been out of commission since 1993.

But one Tulsa man is trying to bring it back to life.

"When it was built in 1927, the Tulsa Club had half of the building, the top half of the building. They had rooftop dining, which we hope to bring back," said Josh Barret, the owner of the building.

Barrett purchased the historic 11-story building at 5th and Cincinnati for $460,000 at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Sale in April.

He took FOX23 inside and showed crews what the previous owners left behind: a building in disrepair.

Barrett pointed out broken windows, graffiti on the walls, peeling paint. Barrett said all of the copper has been stolen from the building, but he said he sees beyond all of that.

"I was interested in the building because of its history. (I) also looked at the project's feasibility based on the historic preservation tax credits. I see tremendous potential. This space especially, even though they had a serious fire in 2010," he said.

It was an early morning fire FOX23 covered in October 2010. It was one of multiple fires in the building that week.

The ballroom was severely damaged. The city later foreclosed on the building and put it up for sale.

Now, Barrett hopes to turn the building back into a bustling, vibrant part of downtown Tulsa.

"It's a mixed-use development. We'll have commercial on the first floor, we'll have residential, this ballroom will have to be event space," he said.

Another aspect of the project is renovating the building while preserving the historic early 20th century architecture.

Architect Chris Lilly is working with Barrett on the project. He told FOX23 the building has so much to offer.

"It's designed by Bruce Goff, a very famous Oklahoma architect; it's a very detailed project. A lot of art-deco detail in the building that has to be captured," said Lilly.

Captured, in this case, by a 3-D scanner; Lilly showed FOX23 the technology that helped collect data down to the color of the paint on the walls. It shows there's a lot of work to do, but Lilly said he's ready for the challenge.

"It's funny because you look at it through all of the scars and the modifications that have been made to the art-deco piece that it is ... And you look through it and you see the opportunities," he said.

Barrett said ultimately with the completion of financing and construction, he'd like to have the project finished in three years.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 12/30/2013 9:08 PM
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The history channel.
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