Goff’s Tulsa Club to Auction

7 Jan

It appears the Tulsa Club Building Downtown may be up for grabs. It just blows my mind to think any building of this stature could be valued less than many peoples’ homes. Interesting article below.

From Urban Tulsa

Downtown Tulsa Club

Downtown Tulsa Club

A classic downtown example of Tulsan art deco architecture could soon become available to the highest bidder at a sheriff’s auction, though the new owner would need to undertake plenty of repairs before opening it for any type of public use.

The City of Tulsa filed a foreclosure action in late December against Carl J. Morony of California, owner of the Tulsa Club building at 115 E. Fifth St., near the intersection with S. Boston Avenue. The building has been cited for violation of fire, electrical and plumbing codes as well as collapsed ceilings and evidence of trespassing and other possible criminal activity. The city had assessed a $1,000 fine each day since August 2007 until a Tulsa County judge awarded the city a $331,815 civil judgment in October for the unpaid charges.

“The present owner got it for $125k at a sheriff’s sale, which unfortunately makes the vacant land worth as much as the building itself, so he has allowed the building to demolish itself through a lack of maintenance,” said Rex Ball, president of the Tulsa Art Deco Society.

The roof, in particular, is a significant problem, Ball said; but allowing the building to disappear would be a shame for many reasons. He pointed out that the Tulsa Club building is the only surviving multi-story building designed by renowned architect Bruce Goff, and it contains many “striking” art deco features, including ornamentation on the interior and exterior walls, elevator shaft and doors, columns, light fixtures, mouldings and fireplace tiles.

The building was completed in 1927 as a joint project of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the Tulsa Club, an exclusive organization started by Tulsa oilmen. The first five floors of the structure, which was then known simply as the Tulsa Building, were occupied by the chamber, while the Tulsa Club filled the top six floors and the roof garden.

“A surprising feature a lot of people don’t know about is the roof garden, which was sensational, and the parties up there were always great,” Ball said. “It looked out over the Philcade [Towers] and the skyline to the east of downtown. It was really pretty glamorous, actually.”

The club also had a slumber room, gymnasium, squash courts, steam room, barber shop, lounge and two-story ballroom with art deco detailing, though many of the art deco features were lost during an earlier renovation. Ball also said the “skirt” of glass block and stone on the exterior of the ground floor was added during a renovation.

What to Do?

Extensive renovations would be required to bring the building up to code today, but Tulsa’s chief economic development officer, G.M. “Mike” Bunney, said the new owner would not need to worry about being fined by the city for code violations.

“We would work with the new owner however necessary to help them get some time and work on the building. They’re not going to get it into code overnight,” he said. “Any kind of reasonable extensions are granted as a matter of course.”

In 2005, a group called the Tulsa Club Development Company applied to the City of Tulsa for a $2.5 million no-interest loan to aid development of the structure as a mixed-use building. The city was distributing $10 million to promote downtown living through its Vision 2025 initiative, but the Tulsa Club Development Company was turned down in favor of the TransOK Loft Apartments, The Mayo Lofts, The Mayo Building and The First Street Lofts. Kanbar Properties, owner of the TransOK building, ultimately turned down the $1.5 million it was offered because the firm was not ready to move forward with the development.

The proposal from the Tulsa Club Development Company called for placing retail shops and office space on the first two floors, with the remaining floors residential. It would have contained 47 condominiums ranging from 746 square feet to 1,000 square feet, which were projected to sell for between $111,000 and $150,000 each. In addition, 13 penthouses of 1,300 square feet were projected to sell for $260,000. Completing the project was estimated to cost $6 million.

Separately, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture has held regular meetings to discuss other options regarding the future of the Tulsa Club building.

The Tulsa Club Building was one of 60 vacant downtown structures that the city identified in 2007 to be targeted for revitalization. An inspection executed with a court-ordered search warrant turned up the violations.

It is unclear how long the court process regarding the foreclosure action will take or how soon the property could go to auction. If the property sells for more than $331,815, the excess money would be used to pay any other creditors, with the remainder sent to Morony. The building has been vacant since the Tulsa Club closed in 1994.

Though there are myriad problems with the interior of the structure, Ball stressed that it is a “stout” building that can be saved.

“It would be a challenge [to renovate the building], but the exterior of the building is limestone, and the structure is exceedingly sound,” Ball said. “It might be difficult to get it back into operation, but I can assure you it would be a challenge to get it down.”
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9 Responses to “Goff’s Tulsa Club to Auction”

  1. Waylon Summers, Lovetts Gallery 07. Jan, 2009 at 6:57 pm #

    If only there was time to put together the grant money specifically for local venerable business owners who may be looking to participate in and relocate to Downtown. What a flagship it could be!

  2. OKmodern 07. Jan, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    It’s not too late!

    It only takes a few movers and shakers to make a difference. Well okay, maybe even just one. But this building merits the effort.

    There are scads of Goff devotees out there that would jump at the chance to help preserve this building. They deserve a chance to do so.

  3. Waylon Summers, Lovetts Gallery 08. Jan, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    I agree. However, I think the potential failure comes by way of lacking interest of local business owners. City incentives or additional grant monies to promote the willingness to leap into a financial commitment like this would do wonders. The proponents of the historical and architectural value can only go so far. The need for the “established” businesses, beyond bars & clubs (although they may pave the way) remains. But, again, I do agree. We certainly deserve the chance! And who better to promote the “modern life” then the people and businesses who have a longstanding public reputation and personal investment in Tulsa, who also occupy a historically important building!!!

  4. Philippe 09. Jan, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    Just learn about this building reading Urban Tulsa today. I think there is something to do with this building. Was thinking about some restaurant , art gallery and offices/ condis . I already have a project downtown, but nothing is done, maybe this is better. I just need help. ideas and partners .

  5. Jeff Myers 14. Jan, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    Can someone come up with a synopsis on the structure and send it to the local Preservation we could save it by doing that all I have is The tulsa Club is the only Multi Story building and it has some very wonderful design elements but that is not enough words for a synopsis in order to save the amazing structure we have to start now. Where should I go to get more information about this building? I want to save this structure and I think allot of people want to too. I learned that Tulsa has already demolished the Sheridan Village and there are plans to do the unthinkable reworking with the Abundant Life or Diamond Building which won’t have any diamond if a plan goes through and the Tulsa Club Building can be fixed up and I think it should be turned into the Hotel Tulsa Club name in place for the Hotel Tulsa which was demolished in the 70s. Lets fight and hope we prevail.
    Jeff

  6. T-town jimmy jam 20. Feb, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    I agree, it would make an awesome hotel!

  7. T-town jimmy jam 22. Feb, 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    Did you know that Goff also designed the home for the founders of Frankoma (Frankhoma) Pottery? It is a super sweet home in Sapulpa. I actually drove past it a few years back and instantly fell in love with it. Didn’t know it was what it is until I came across a blog and subsequent Tulsa World article about it.

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