Tulsa to See RiverWalk Development

Financing to help created second phase of 164,000-s.f. of retail at RiverWalk Crossing

About 40,000 square feet of upstairs space is dedicated to loft apartments, which will be constructed with high-end materials, Gordon said. The 22 units will range in size from 800 to 2,200 square feet, though he hasn't yet set rental prices.

Since the new addition will lengthen RiverWalk Crossing to more than half a mile, Gordon said he's planning to install a tram system to ferry people from one end to the other.

The retail space in the current buildings are completely occupied, Gordon said. New additions include JooJooBee's, which opened in October, and LD's Sports Bar and Grill, which will open soon, he said.

Gordon originally said Piztros, an Italian bistro concept, would open in the space now given over to LD's, but a non-compete clause with Gina & Guiseppe's Italian Deli and Market involving pizza scuttled the agreement, he said.

Piztros was enthusiastic about locating at the RiverWalk and could still become part of the second phase, he said.

Since RiverWalk opened, only one tenant has closed. Gary's Grill, one of the shopping center's first tenants, shut down in June.

Jimmy Blacketer, managing partner of Los Cabos, said his restaurant bought out Gary's Grill to add an 85-seat Fiesta Room for private parties and overflow seating.

"We needed the space," Blacketer said. "We're doing well and already showing growth over last year, despite the weather."

Other businesses, such as the Funhouse arcade, which moved from the 71st Street and Memorial Drive area last year, are also doing well.

"We're happy we moved," said Rod Marshall, owner of Funhouse. "I was excited about riverfront development and thought it was a good opportunity."

Blake Smith, co-owner of The Movies at RiverWalk Crossing, said his new theater draws a good crowd every weekend.

"We've been doing real well," he said. "We're within about 5 percent of where we were expecting, and that was when we expected phase two to be further along."

Gordon said the 20,000 square feet he's dedicated to office use above the retail portion of RiverWalk has not rented as well, though he only has 4,700 square feet left to fill.

With the progress on phase two, Gordon said he's no longer pressing to be annexed by Tulsa. He originally proposed the annexation in November, after Jenks did not pursue plans to declare RiverWalk a tax-incre ment financing district, or TIF, to help finance the second phase.

A TIF district directs a portion of tax revenue generated in an area to infrastructure costs.

"That was me speaking out in anger at the city of Jenks," Gordon said.

In November, Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland said city officials didn't believe the project met the criteria for a TIF district because it is not a blighted area.

Kim MacLeod, press secretary for Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, said the annexation issue was never formally raised to any Tulsa official.

Robert Evatt 581-8447 BR/

Time line

March 2003: Plans for Riverwalk Crossing, a $25 million, 110,000-square-foot center, are unveiled. An anchoring hotel and a "big box" entertainment venue are also announced.

August 2003: Construction begins. Negotiations with potential restaurants and office tenants are under way, and two hotels are said to have signed letters of intent.

March 2004: Gina & Guiseppe's Italian Deli and Market becomes the first location to publicly commit to the center.

August 2004: Leases for The Movies at Riverwalk Crossing, Gary's Grill and The Melting Pot are announced.

December 2004: Construction concludes. Within weeks, Cat and the Fiddle, The Wild Honeysuckle and Gary's Grill restaurant open. A second phase to cost $35 million and include 300,000 square feet of space is announced.

January 2005: The Melting Pot opens.

May 2005: Los Cabos and Gina & Guiseppe's open; summer concerts begin.

December 2005: The Movies at Riverwalk Crossing opens.

June 2006: Gary's Grill closes; Los Cabos expands into the freed space.

July 2006: Riverwalk Crossing is entirely leased, and developer Jerry Gordon says Lone Star Steakhouse and Hampton Inn Garden Suites will build outparcel buildings. However, he says he's having trouble finding financing for phase two.