The Kendall-Whittier neighborhood of Tulsa, which was devastated by Urban Renewal efforts, had been studied as part of an ongoing City planning process for over 25 years. Located adjacent to the University of Tulsa and viewed as an important component to the University’s ongoing success, the residents of this community have long felt like they had very little input to the decision-making processes that were impacting their daily lives.
In 2006 the George Kaiser Family Foundation opened the state-of-the-art Kendall Whittier Educare Center. The early childhood center is immediately adjacent to the ever expanding, high performing Kendall Whittier Elementary School. The dynamics of this educational duo attracted droves of young families desiring high quality educational opportunities for their children to the neighborhood only to find deplorable and unsafe housing conditions.
McCormack Baron Salazar led a team of professionals with input from a consortium of partners including the George Kaiser Family Foundation, City of Tulsa, University of Tulsa, educators, local businesses and residents through a master planning process that resulted in a mixed-income, mixed-use development program that also included a major renovation of the centrally located neighborhood park. The neighborhood embraced the national Main Street program and hired an Executive Director to assist in restoring retail and commercial services important to the ongoing sustainability of the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood.
The implementation of the Master Plan begun with the $24.5 million development of West Park Apartments, 128 units of mixed-income rental housing in a combination of townhouse and garden-style buildings. In addition to the multi-family units, a mixed-use three-story building was developed in partnership with the University of Tulsa and includes management offices, community space and a fitness center for the multi-family development plus 2,600 square feet of commercial space on the first floor and 20 units of graduate student housing.
To date the George Kaiser Family Foundation has invested over $35 million toward the implementation of the Kendall Whittier Master Plan and already over 60 neighborhood children are attending the Educare Center or elementary school. GKFF’s support has been instrumental in affecting real change not just in the physical environment but in the lives of the families of this vibrant neighborhood.