T-Town gets a jolt of new energy

The Aloft Tulsa Downtown

WHAT’S THERE

The Aloft Tulsa Downtown opened in May 2013, joining the Aloft Tulsa, which opened in 2010.

The Aloft Tulsa Downtown opened in May 2013, joining the Aloft Tulsa, which opened in 2010.

Don’t look now, but Tulsa, Okla., once an oil-producing powerhouse, is now pumping out hotels. And you can credit a growing economy and increased downtown activity for the bubbling. Mike Craddock, a hospitality specialist with First Commercial Real Estate, recently told Tulsa World that about every 10 years the Tulsa area adds about 30 percent more new hotels to the market. But this time around, the hotel’s growth spurt is a bit different: Projects that were halted in the past three to four years due to the recession are now restarting, while other new projects are also concurrently beginning. And with rates at a healthy level and growing, now seems the time to build. “Our economy is rebounding, and so now is the time to build as the prices increase,” said Brittany Sawyer, executive director of Metro Tulsa Hotel & Lodging Association. Through year-to-date June 2014, the Tulsa area had 149 hotels and 14,354 rooms, according to STR.

WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE

* Best Western Plus (79 rooms, 2015)

* Residence Inn (110 rooms, 2016)

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* Home2 Suites (83 rooms, 2016)

* Hampton Inn & Suites (120 rooms, 2017)

* Hilton Garden Inn (134 rooms, 2017)

EXTERNAL DRIVERS

Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma, was once an oil boom town.

Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma, was once an oil boom town.

As companies continue to expand into downtown and events at the Brady District, the BOK Center and Cox Business Center draw more people, the city’s pipeline for hotels has grown with it. Demand seems to be on the rise, but can it support this infusion of new supply? Tulsa World further reports that Tulsa has benefited from the growth of the Native American hospitality market and new commercial development areas that have accompanied growth of surrounding areas, such as Owasso, Jenks and Glenpool. As of Q2 2014, and according to Lodging Econometrics, Tulsa’s pipeline stood at 25 projects and 2,263 rooms. However, the bulk of these openings (11) won’t be until 2017 and beyond. This year, LE reports that three hotels will open, with five more coming online in 2015.

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