Brady boom

As development continues to thrive in Tulsa’s core, the once-languishing Brady District has become a hot commodity, poised to house projects ranging from hotels to art galleries to green spaces. Here is the story of how this historic Tulsa neighborhood gained new life.



Current developments in the Brady District include the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites, left, and the Mathews Warehouse and Hardesty Arts Center, right.

(page 1 of 3)

Just a decade or so ago, Tulsa’s downtown Brady District was really showing its age. Littered with a few too many shuttered buildings, weed-infested empty lots and the rusting hulks of obsolete factories and vacant warehouses, the general appearance of the district, at least to the casual observer, was one of decay and decline.

Progress seemed to have passed by the Brady District as Tulsa’s urban core depopulated and economic setbacks saw companies leave downtown. Over time, the area became dilapidated, worn out and neglected.

Signs of life, however, clung stubbornly to the area, thanks to a smattering of restaurants and bars as well as some artsy shops and galleries, a few industrial outfits and, of course, landmarks Brady Theater and Cain’s Ballroom. Even as it languished, the Brady District still managed to attract and retain a core of artists and others drawn to a grittier urban lifestyle with a tangible bohemian vibe.

Well, the times are changing — fast. Today, the approximately 27-city-block Brady District is experiencing a boom not seen since Tulsa’s big-oil era. If you haven’t visited the district in a while, you’re likely to be stunned by all the activity. Yes, big stuff is happening here.

Cranes in the air and construction crews — good signs

Just ask Steve Ganzkow. A longtime Brady property owner and developer, Ganzkow was behind one of the Brady District’s first big developments 12 years ago, the conversion of the former Tribune Building into loft apartments. Now he is the proud developer of the recently completed apartment building called The Metro at Brady Arts District. Located on Archer Street next to the Tribune Lofts, the $12 million, five-story Metro has 75 rental units and a pool — all designed for upscale urban dwellers.

Ganzkow, senior vice president of American Residential Group, couldn’t be happier with the district’s recent explosive growth.

Steve Ganzkow“I don’t think there could be a better time,” he says. “A little while back, I was standing on the roof of the Metro and I counted seven cranes in the air. We haven’t seen that many cranes in the air in Tulsa in over 20 years,” he says.

The district’s revival is evident in the new apartment buildings, parks and streetscaping, as well as an ever-growing number of shops and businesses. After the current wave of development is finished, much of it this year, the Brady District will retain much of its original character, thanks to an ongoing allegiance to constructing low red-brick buildings. Yet the differences in both purpose and content — compared to the original area — will be staggering, too.

A rich history worth saving

The early development of the area now known as the Brady District started in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was all about fulfilling the commercial needs of a cow town that would rapidly transition into an oil-boom city.

Shoe salesman and shopkeeper Wyatt Tate Brady, after whom the area is named, was one of Tulsa’s earliest movers and shakers, and he relentlessly pursued development in the district, including opening the Brady Hotel at East Archer and North Main streets and another building that became Cain’s Ballroom.

Thanks to the Frisco Railroad, the area became an embarkation point for cattle, grain and other agricultural products. Soon mills, lumberyards and feedlots sprang up trackside, as did a host of other businesses to support the buzzing commerce. With the discovery of oil fields nearby, business and industry became even more concentrated and the area thrived for decades.

Eventually, as America became interconnected via interstate freeways, trucking firms settled into the district, supplanting rail transportation to some extent. By the 1960s, however, urban areas such as the Brady began to decline as more people moved away from the city center. By the 1970s and ’80s, attempts at urban renewal saw some old buildings destroyed and interest in meaningful revitalization remained stagnant.

Tulsa attorney and property developer David Sharp was alarmed at what he saw happening to the historic if rundown old district.

“This is my hometown, and I left in the ’60s to go to college and law school, and when I came back in the late ’70s, I realized the old part of downtown was being removed through urban renewal,” he says. “I was stunned that they were buying and tearing down buildings. I knew that if someone didn’t act quickly, then they would all be gone.”

Motivated to preserve Tulsa’s early history, Sharp went on a Brady District buying spree, knowing that any payoff would be years down the road if ever.

“I just decided to buy properties so that urban renewal wouldn’t take them out,” he says. “I hated to see the historic heart of downtown being wiped out.”

Sharp’s large portfolio of Brady District properties came to include the Fox Hotel Building (built in 1906), 201 N. Main St.; the Hercules Engine Co. Building, the building housing Caz’s Chowhouse, 18 E. Brady St., and Club Majestic, 124 N. Boston Ave.; the Main and Boston Street Apartments; and the Robinson Packer Building, 210 N. Main St., now the site of apartment lofts developed by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

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June 2018

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Central Library
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415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


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More information

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Oklahoma City Museum of Art
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
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Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

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Cost: free and open to the public

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41st and Riverside
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Sponsor: Tulsa Riverparks Authority
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Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
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41st and Riverside Plaza
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Cost: Free

Where:
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3500 Batfish Rd
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Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

More information

Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
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3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
Website »

More information

Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military Fallen from The War on Terror. Because 9/11 was such a defining moment, this memorial includes our...

Cost: Free

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Rd
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View map »


Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
View map »


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Website »

More information

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Cost: $40

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View map »


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Telephone: 918-584-3333
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More information

This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
View map »


Telephone: 191-889-56302

More information

Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
View map »


Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

More information

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Cost: $25

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Cost: $18-$20

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Tulsa, OK  74103
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Website »

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Show More...
Show Less...

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Cost: Free

Where:
Charles Page High School
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Sponsor: Charles Page High School Cheer Teams

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Cost: 25

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Sponsor: Rescued 'n Ready Animal Foundation
Telephone: 918-260-6717
Contact Name: Sandra Sorber
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Wagoner Main Street Presents... Switching Gears-Saturday June 23, 2018 9am-10pm in Downtown Wagoner Oklahoma! An entire day of family fun, food, music, and more. Events start at 9am with the Car...

Cost: FREE -$20.00

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Main St
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Sponsor: Wagoner Main Street
Telephone: 918-869-7318
Contact Name: Jay Stephens
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Pathways Adult Learning Center
Telephone: 918-859-0060
Contact Name: Katie Groke
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Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405-236-3100
Website »

More information

Opening to the public on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 110th anniversary of Oklahoma statehood, “The Art of Oklahoma” celebrates the Museum’s outstanding and...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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The work of renowned artist Christopher Curtis will be featured at Tulsa Botanic Garden’s first sculpture exhibit March 17 through August 26. Curtis works primarily in stone and he often...

Cost: FREE for Garden members; $8 ages 13+, $4 ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under free

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Remembering Our Fallen is a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military Fallen from The War on Terror. Because 9/11 was such a defining moment, this memorial includes our...

Cost: Free

Where:
Muskogee War Memorial Park
3500 Batfish Rd
Muskogee, OK  74403
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Sponsor: Muskogee War Memorial Park
Telephone: 918-682-6294
Contact Name: Brent Trout
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 ORU offers a wide variety of summer camps from basketball camp to swimming camp for all ages. For a schedule and list of options visit ORUCES.com/camps.

Cost: Prices Vary

Where:
Mabee Center
7777 S Lewis Ave
Tulsa, OK  74171
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Telephone: 918-495-6000
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Legion LIVE! 2018 is a day-long event filled with live music on two stages, broadcast live to troops around the world! FREE and open to the public, the event raises much-needed funds for the...

Cost: FREE

Where:
American Legion Post 1
1120 E 8th Street
Tulsa, OK  74120
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Sponsor: American Legion Post 1
Telephone: 918-809-3745
Contact Name: Kasey Rideout

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This annual FREE new home showcase is presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and sponsored by Samsung Electronics.  This year’s event will feature more than 150...

Cost: FREE

Where:
, OK


Sponsor: Samsung
Contact Name: Nathan Carter

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Crossing borders are central Consuelo J. Underwood’s artistic practice. In this exhibition inspired by land, politics, and spirit, Underwood speaks to her individual understanding of borders...

Cost: Free

Where:
108 Contemporary
108 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Telephone: 191-889-56302

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Break the rules of conventional museums at the third annual Please Touch the Art exhibit. Mark your calendars for the opening reception Friday, June 1 from 5 - 9 p.m., in conjunction with the Tulsa...

Cost: free and open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74119
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Sponsor: McKeon Center for Creativity
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Barton

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The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) hosts a Swing dance and lessons  The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate (TOSS) is the only UNESCO recognized dance organization in Oklahoma.  We are a 501c3...

Cost: $7

Where:
Community Center - South Minister Presby Church
3500 So Peoria
1/2 west of Peoria, on 35pl behind the church
Tulsa, OK  74102
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Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
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Opera in the Ozarks, the nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for top emerging opera professionals, celebrates its 2018 Season from June 22 to July 20 with nearly...

Cost: $25

Where:
Inspiration Point
16311 Hwy. 62 West
Eureka Springs, AR  72632
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Still I Rise is a dramatic dance-theatre presentation incorporating all elements of Bharatanatyam, some elements of yoga, theatre, spoken word and music. The performance exemplifies the example of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Tulsa Performing Arts Center
110 E 2nd St
Tulsa, OK  74103
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Sponsor: South Asian Performing Arts Foundation
Telephone: (918) 625 6037
Contact Name: Mohan Kelkar
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Shades of White is a play written by Ilan Kozlowski and directed by Rebecca Ungerman.  For mature audiences.

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
John H. Williams Theatre, Tulsa PAC
110 E. Second St.
Tulsa, OK  74103
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TULtalk


“Sovereignty” comes to Tulsa for a reading

Monday, June 18, see a staged reading of the buzzed-about new play by Oklahoma native Mary Kathryn Nagle.

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QUIZ: Which Tulsa Mural Fits Your Personality?

Tulsa has a plethora of colorful, vibrant murals! But which one should be the backdrop for your next selfie?

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Video: BA Ninja Warrior

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The Fabulous Mid-Life Crisis

The popular cover band is scheduled to bring the good times (and huge crowds) to Summer's Fifth Night in Utica Square on June 7.

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When you’re 4, everything is super

From the editor: Here's to a super-duper June, Tulsa!

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