Listen to this article here
Last July, the Tulsa Development Authority sent out a proposal request for a new housing development in north Tulsa. Terry McGee, a local Tulsa home builder and Black developer, answered the call and is now working to reestablish a slice of the historic Black Wall Street.
The project is a collaboration of McGee Enterprises Inc. and Boomtown Development Co., an affiliate of Green Country Habitat for Humanity.
Named “Black Wall Street Square,” its brownstone blueprints mimic the same architectural aesthetic as the Roaring 20s Black Wall Street and will be built nearly two miles from the Greenwood District.
Affordable Housing is a Right.
In a press release, City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper of Tulsa’s District 1 stated “It is a different option that we don’t normally see in District 1.” Hall-Harper elaborated, “As Tulsa wrestles with the issue of quality, affordable housing, I am excited about this development in north Tulsa.”
The recent inflation has hit American businesses and consumers in one way or another. Yet well before then, many American renters have had difficulty paying the ever-increasing costs of long-term housing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of rent rose by more than 4% on average in the U.S. just last year. It surpassed the 3.3% average annual increase seen in each of the five years before the 2020 shutdown.
Across the country, rent increased by about 14% in 2021, according to Redfin. With wages continuing to remain stagnant across industries, in particular for low-skill or hourly workers, many simply cannot pay the price of housing.
Yet for Tulsa residents, help is on the way.
“This project is a prime example of our commitment to ensure we have quality housing for all Tulsans as outlined by our Affordable Housing Strategy.” Tulsa’s Mayor G.T. Bynum went on to say. While the mayor has championed economic development, he’s remained adamantly opposed to reparations for the survivors and descendants of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
“I think this development pays homage to our past while championing quality housing and homeownership opportunities in north Tulsa,” Mayor Bynum added.
Terry McGee said in a statement: “This project is evidence of TDA, Team Boomtown Development, and the City of Tulsa working collaboratively to create a thoughtful, unique, and inclusive project that honors the history and needs of the area.”
McGee’s next step is to apply for re-zoning of the area with INCOG and anticipates breaking ground within a year.