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REPORT BY | NEHEMIAH D. FRANK, EDITOR IN CHIEF
The President of Pine Place Development, LLC. Michael Smith, an affluent African American mixed-use developer and the developers of the new Morton Project sent a letter of concern to the City Councilor of District One. The letter was issued on Thursday, July 6, 2017, and addressed to City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper. President Smith’s main concern, the proliferation of low budget dollar stores in North Tulsa.
We’ve embedded the letter below for transparency.
July 6, 2017
City of Tulsa
Office of District 1 Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper
175 East 2nd Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
RE: Health & Wellness Initiative for North Tulsa
“Pine Place Development LLC is very honored and humbled by your unwavering support of our plans for the mixed-use development, Morton’s Reserve, located in the heart of District 1. Our goal in this development is to recapture the vibrancy of the Dunbar neighborhood by bringing to the community a suite of amenities that enhance the quality of life for its residents that other areas of the city take for granted. We evasion an environment where residents of the District can “Live, Work, and Play”; we plan to bring need-specific retail, quality housing, and commercial office space to a long-dormant area of the city.
When in the process of building a strategic plan for the retail tenancy of our project, we have taken note of your desire to bring healthier food options to the District. It is well documented that the life expectancy of the North Tulsa community lags far behind many other sections of the city at an alarming rate. To that end, while our fresh produce market (farm-to-market concept) as well as a full-service meat market. We believe that by haven this type of retail within our development, residents will not have to leave the community to purchase essential food items for their household.
We have noted, with much concern, the proliferation of low budget, convenience stores (Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree etc.) within North Tulsa. At last count, upwards of fourteen (14) such stores were located north of Admiral Boulevard, with one planned to break ground in the next month, less than 2 blocks from the Morton’s Reserve development.
While Pine Place Development is an ardent support of free market principle and healthy competition, we are deeply concerned that another convenience store selling an overwhelming amount of processed foods high in trans-saturated fats, nitrates, and high fructose corn syrup will be entering the market less than 1/2 mile from an existing convenience store. It is our position that the City of Tulsa should not further endanger the health and wellness of its citizenry by allowing development of these and similar stores on City-owned and controlled property — One Tulsa deserves no less from its public leadership.”
(Signed) M. E. Smith
Michael E. Smith, President & Managing Partner