By Kevin Canfield Tulsa World
Rose Washington could hardly stand it.
Looking out over the green expanse that fronts the Shoppes on Peoria, all the executive director of Tulsa Economic Development Corp. could think of was the grocery store that will soon be built there.
“It’s going to be perfect,” Washington said.
Washington confirmed Thursday that TEDC has been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant through the city of Tulsa to build a grocery store at the Shoppes on Peoria, 1717 N. Peoria Ave. Tulsa Economic Development Corp. had initially expected to use the funding to construct a Save-A-Lot at the southeast corner of 36th Street North and Peoria Avenue.
When that option did not pan out, Washington said, she pitched the Shoppes on Peoria as the new location.
“I have always thought of it as a good location, and we have site control, and the utilities are in and it is ripe for development,” she said.
Honor Capital will build and operate the grocery store, which is expected to be about 15,000 square feet. The company operates the Save-A-Lot in west Tulsa and had intended to partner with TEDC to build another one at 36th Street North and Peoria Avenue.
Jamie Allen, senior vice president of Honor Capital, said a number of factors played into the company’s decision not to construct a store there. Those included a lack of infrastructure at the site, its proximity to another Save-A-Lot on north Lewis Avenue, and the strong commercial traffic in and around the Shoppes on Peoria.
“It’s just a good commercial location,” Allen said of the property.
The $1.5 million the city is providing for the project — through a Community Development Block Grant — is part of a local, public-private collaboration called Project Oasis. The effort is aimed at eliminating food deserts in the city’s most disadvantaged communities.
Allen said Honor Capital, which owns and operates 10 grocery stores in six states, works to serve the same communities. He insisted a quality store will be built at the Shoppes on Peoria before the end of 2019.
“We are all going to work together, because it takes a village to do one of these,” Allen said. “But we are going to get it done together.”
In addition to traditional grocery store offerings, the new store will sell meats, produce, dairy and some organic offerings, Allen said. The store will not have a deli, nor is it likely to include a kitchen with prepared foods.
“That’s not our speciality,” Allen said.
Tulsa Economic Development Corp. used CDBG funding to build the Shoppes on Peoria in 2011-2012. The grocery store will be built on the only undeveloped land remaining on the site — an approximately 2-acre lot on the northeast corner of Peoria Avenue and East Reading Street.
Washington believes a grocery store is a perfect fit for the site.
“It creates a lot of momentum and a lot of activity here,” she said. “You have a lot of businesses here, most of which are owned by people who grew up in the community and who live in the community, and this (Shoppes on Peoria) was designed for the community.
“So the grocery store comes in as an anchor to help to contribute to making this development a greater success.”
City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, who represents the district in which the store will be built, said she’s never given up on getting a grocery store in north Tulsa.
“It was a lot of hard work that we feel is finally going to pay off,” she said.
The store will be built just a few hundred yards across Reading Street from the old Gateway Market. Hall-Harper said she’s glad Honor Capital will be bringing a new grocery concept to the area.
“We need something fresh,” she said. “We are going to use that (Gateway Market) site, absolutely, but not necessarily as a grocery store.”
The new grocery store is estimated to cost $2.7 million to construct. Washington said that in addition to the $1.5 million in CDBG funding, TEDC will use its own money and a loan to pay for the project.
But she’s confident it will be money well spent.
“We appreciate the partnership of everyone who has come to the table to try to make this happen,” Washington said, “and we couldn’t do it without a host of folks playing on the same team.”
The Phoenix Development Council is a neighborhood association working to bring economic development to 36th St. N., the heart of the Phoenix District, created to work with the City of Tulsa to bring the 36th St. N. Corridor Small Area Plan to fruition. More info: www.phoenixdistricttulsa.com.
This article was written by Kevin Canfield and was originally published in the Tulsa World, here: https://www.tulsaworld.com/business/retail/new-grocery-store-to-be-built-at-shoppes-at-peoria/article_43e6cde5-34d3-5d3f-95d2-d3bc996d01ef.html.