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.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

Brady boom: What's coming

A variety of projects are under way in the Brady District, with more likely to come in the coming months. Here is a list of some major undertakings.

Coming out of its shell

The Pearl District is poised to become downtown’s next big thing.
Edit Module

Add your comment:
A-List

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

December 2018

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

FlyingTee is fun for the whole family and on Sundays, kids eat free! *Limit one free meal from the kids’ menu with each purchase of an adult entrée. Not valid on brunches or holidays.

Cost: Free with purchase

Where:
FlyingTee
600 Riverwalk Terrace
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Telephone: 918-528-7717
Website »

More information

Funday Sunday at Gilcrease Museum On this free community day, take holiday photos with Santa Claus (2:30-4:30 p.m.), listen to musical performances, make artworks inspired by the season,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gilcrease Museum
Tulsa, OK


Telephone: 918-596-2700
Website »

More information

Santa will be stopping by to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium on December 16 from 1:00pm - 3:00pm! Get your picture taken, decorate gingerbread cookies, make an ornament, and play on our bounce...

Cost: Free with the purchase of a general admission

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
300 Aquarium Dr.
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Aquarium
Website »

More information

What: Santa Claus at Bradford Park in Broken Arrow! Where: Capital Homes at The Reserve at Bradford Park Model Home: 1507 E Jasper Pl, Broken Arrow, OK 74011 When: Sunday, December 16, 3 pm –...

Cost: FREE

Where:
The Reserve at Bradford Park Model Home
1507 E Jasper Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Capital Homes Residential Group, LLC
Telephone: 918-630-9633
Contact Name: Amanda Connolly
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Whether you are ready to enroll for your first semester at OSU-Tulsa or are exploring transfer options for a future semester, let OSU-Tulsa help you get started during Transfer Days. Our advising,...

Cost: Free

Where:
OSU-Tulsa
700 N. Greenwood Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74106
View map »


Sponsor: OSU-Tulsa
Telephone: 918-594-8355
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Mothers of Preschoolers (and preschool means prior to school, ages 6 weeks to 5 years old). MOPS warmly welcomes any mom that has at least one child age 6 weeks to 5 years old. By joining MOPS, you...

Cost: Free

Where:
Eastwood Baptist Church
948 S 91st E Ave
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: Eastwood Baptist Church
Telephone: 918-836-8686
Contact Name: Shirley Pittenger
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Local, Live Music at the The Willows Family Ales taproom EVERY Thursday at 7:30pm. Surprise food vendor to be announced SOON!! 11/1 ---- Eric Himan 11/8 ---- Wendy Nichol Hall 11/15---...

Cost: FREE!!

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
418 South Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Contact Name: Julian Morgan

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Its that time a year again and that means our 3rd annual Mens Shopping Event is here!! We are so excited to be having this event! This year we are doing things a little different, instead of one...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Rhanes Spa
6422 S Elm Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Rhanes Spa
Telephone: 918.872.9211
Contact Name: Angela or Dakota
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

Philbrook Festival is back and better than ever! Enjoy the most beautiful place in Oklahoma during the most wonderful time of the year. The Museum comes alive with festive holiday events, Santa,...

Cost: $5/Philbrook Members, $15/Public, Free/17 & Under

Where:
Philbrook Museum of Art
2727 S. Rockford Rd.
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: Philbrook Museum of Art
Telephone: 918-748-5300
Website »

More information

This is the first of an annual event exclusively for Millennials (The Mille). Come out and have a good time while knowing you're supporting a good cause!    All proceeds will go to...

Cost: Starting at $30.00

Where:
NOAH'S Event Venue
12710 East State Farm Blvd
Tulsa, OK  74146
View map »


Sponsor: Push Push Pray Foundation
Telephone: 918-250-3709
Contact Name: Sharon Thomas
Website »

More information

The Vox Solaris Chamber Choir will present its Winter 2018 Concert on December 21, 2018 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.  The choir is a non-profit organization and all ticket and donation...

Cost: $15 General Admission / $5 Students & Senior Citizens

Where:
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church
4250 W. Houston St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Sponsor: Vox Solaris Chamber Choir
Website »

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Its that time a year again and that means our 3rd annual Mens Shopping Event is here!! We are so excited to be having this event! This year we are doing things a little different, instead of one...

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Rhanes Spa
6422 S Elm Pl
Broken Arrow, OK  74011
View map »


Sponsor: Rhanes Spa
Telephone: 918.872.9211
Contact Name: Angela or Dakota
Website »

More information

We’re serving up our new chef-inspired fondue and traditional brunch options like Alpine Benedict Cheese Fondue, French Toast Fondue, Avocado Fiesta Toast plus bottomless mimosas. Reserve...

Cost: Varies

Where:
The Melting Pot of Tulsa
300 Riverwalk Terrace #190
Jenks, OK  74037
View map »


Sponsor: The Melting Pot of Tulsa
Telephone: 918-299-8000
Contact Name: Alex Cooper
Website »

More information

Reconnect with family and friends in the garden illuminated with colorful lights. Make s'mores over fire pits, enjoy holiday music and take in the spirit of the season in our magical garden...

Cost: Tickets are $15 for ages 13+; $5 for ages 3-12, Children 2 and under are free.

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


Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

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
View map »


Sponsor: The Ok Swing Syndicate
Telephone: 918-450-691
Contact Name: Rita Robbins
Website »

More information

  Brian Nhira & Friends from ‘The Voice’ to Perform 3rd Annual Tulsa Christmas Concert at the TCC VanTrease PACE.   Tulsa, OK -- Brian Nhira, an incredibly gifted...

Cost: Tickets starting at $25

Where:
TCC Vantrease PACE
10300 E 81st St.
Tulsa
Tulsa, OK  74033
View map »


Sponsor: Brian Nhira Music & Good Life Music & Media Lessons
Telephone: 918-704-8855
Contact Name: Jasper Nhira
Website »

More information

Come see ORU Mens Basketball vs Tulsa

Cost: $15-25

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


Telephone: 918-495-6000
Contact Name: Mabee Center
Website »

More information

Co-hosted by Josh New and the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a cultural initiative of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Karl Jones presents Figures in Skating, an evening performance of mixed media,...

Cost: $5.00

Where:
Loose Leaf Co.
2308 E. Admiral Blvd.
Tulsa, OK  74110
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Artist Fellowship & Josh New
Telephone: 202-468-5275
Contact Name: Karl Jones
Website »

More information

Songs for a New World music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown directed by Karlena Riggs It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice…...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Studio 308
308 S. Lansing
Tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: American Theatre Company
Telephone: (918) 747-9494
Contact Name: Meghan Hurley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Giving Guide
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

TULtalk


Get a taste of the coasts at the new Peacemaker

Lobster rolls and seafood boils top the menu at the St. Louis-born restaurant, which opened a new location in Tulsa.

Comments

Ordering Christmas to-go

You can’t go wrong picking up anything at Stonehorse Market in Utica Square.

Comments

3 winning cookie swap recipes

If you only make one thing this holiday season, it might well be a cookie. Here are some go-to recipes for your next cookie swap.

Comments

Chef Justin Thompson just released a new cookbook

“Trial and Error” presents many of the most pivotal dishes and recipes to his life and career as a chef.

Comments

Pure makes your holidays a little healthier

Whether you want to do a one-day juice fast or start adding more plant-based foods to your diet, Pure Food and Juice is a good place to start.

Comments