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GREENWOOD Dist.–A year after Franchell Abdalla’s company was awarded the opportunity to construct phase one of a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project at Greenwood’s long-neglected Evans-Fintube site, PartnerTulsa announced on Thursday it had ended negotiations with the Black developer for the Greenwood project.

For the past year, the project has stalled as Franchell Abdalla’s Be Good Development company sought a redevelopment agreement from the city in order to gain necessary funding to begin construction.

Awarded in May 2022, the project seeks to transform the dilapidated Oklahoma Historic Iron Works building into a mixed-use destination for families, entrepreneurs and artists.

Evans-Fintube industrial site in Greenwood. (KTUL / PartnerTulsa)

It would include a 64-key hotel with a social club, a locally-owned brewery, retail outlets on the ground floor, a makerspace and hybrid offices for artists and entrepreneurs, along with an art park and community greenspace.

partnertulsa franchell abdalla greenwood project developer
PartnerTulsa and the city have ended negotiations with Black developer Franchell Abdalla regarding a $68 million redevelopment project in Greenwood on Thursday, June 8, 2023. (PartnerTulsa)

On Thursday, the city announced that Abdalla failed to “maintain qualification for selection” as the master developer.

“The City of Tulsa and PartnerTulsa have notified Be Good Development Partners that further negotiations with Team Alchemy for redevelopment of the Evans-Fintube site will not be pursued due to a material change to the development team, and failure to maintain qualification for selection as the Master Developer in accordance with the requirements of the Request for Proposals (RFP),” PartnerTulsa stated in a press release.

Black developer calls foul on city’s decision to end negotiations on Greenwood project

In an interview with The Black Wall Street Times, Abdalla expressed outrage at the decision and accused the city of never intending to allow one of the largest projects in Tulsa’s history to go to a Black developer.

“Now that the Centennial is over and the lights are off, they don’t need a Black developer to do this development, and the world isn’t watching anymore,” Abdalla told The Black Wall Street Times on Thursday.

“They gave me a task to do that they knew could not be accomplished without the first step, which is a contract.”

Franchell Abdalla. (Provided)

Abdalla claims the city’s refusal to provide a redevelopment agreement for the Greenwood project hindered her ability to gain necessary partners and capital. In a presentation to the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity Board on May 25, Abdalla showed emails that revealed the difficulty she faced in gaining capital without proof that she had control of the site.

“As we’ve completed our initial analysis, we’ve concluded this project is far more speculative than we typically pursue. Given our robust pipeline and existing commitments, we are going to pass at this time,” McCormack Baron executive Vince Bennett told Abdalla in an email on May 19.

Meanwhile, the city says key partners of the project had already pulled out, causing the viability of the project to come under question.

“Smoke and mirrors”: City splits from Black developer on Greenwood Evans-Fintube project

Evans-Fintube, a former industrial site in the Greenwood District, is a 9-acre site owned by the City of Tulsa. Over the past few years the city has held several community meetings in an attempt to allow Greenwood residents to help shape the future of the project.

“Over the past two years, hundreds of Tulsans engaged in a process to help envision
the possibilities for redevelopment of the Evans-Fintube site. Throughout these efforts, it was clear that North Tulsa residents, stakeholders and partners are eager to see progress and a development that brings economic opportunity to the neighborhood,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement on Thursday.

Yet Abdalla believes the community meetings represent nothing more than “smoke and mirrors.”

In their announcement Thursday, the city says it will conduct a community meeting to explain the process and to gain feedback on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Greenwood Cultural Center.

‘I think that’s smoke and mirrors. They were prepared for this,” Abdalla told The Black Wall Street Times. “They only ever wanted to negotiate phase one.”

Abdalla says the full scale of the project would surpass $250 million but that throughout the process the city began to limit the project’s potential.

“It’s bullshit. It’s about covering up the fact that they never intended to move forward with a Black developer. But the truth of the matter is that community meeting is never going to stop us talking about that project. Community is robbed of the opportunity to redevelop land. June 14 is simply them legally covering their bases,” Abdalla said.

What does the city claim Abdalla failed to do?

For its part, PartnerTulsa representatives say they were eager to move forward with Abdalla and wanted the proposal to be successful.

“Development projects of this magnitude are incredibly difficult to bring from concept to construction to completion,” said Kian Kamas, Executive Director of

“While we are disappointed to have to take this step, we are committed to pursuing redevelopment of the Evans-Fintube site. In particular, we anticipate leveraging our learnings from this process to re-engage the community and
re-envision our approach to the site.”

PartnerTulsa claims that JE Dunn Capital Partners/Greyson Capital’s withdrawal from the project represented a “material change” to the development team. It also claims Abdalla did not provide necessary information required to move forward.

A timeline provided by the city shows they gave Abdalla a 120-day extension to find a new development partner. Yet after Abdalla failed to do so by June 1, PartnerTulsa says it had no choice but to terminate negotiations.

Meanwhile, Abdalla says that the JE Dunn was never an actual partner for the project and that she was handicapped from the beginning.

“Michael collins was an employee of JE Dunn. he was never my co-development partner,” Abdalla said. “[PartnerTulsa] never intended to follow through because if they did intend to move forward in good faith why wasn’t a contract included?”

What’s next?

Moving forward, the city plans to continue to find a way to move forward on redeveloping the area, beginning with a community meeting at the Greenwood Cultural Center on June 14.

“The community is expected to yell, to scream, but the city is prepared to wait Black folks out. I have done everything in my power as the developer of this project to move it forward, but the city believes Black folks don’t have staying power and that they don’t fully support this project,” Abdalla said.

“If there’s ever gonna be a time for community to stand up and get what it desires and hopes for itself, they cannot let up on this one because that is what the city expects it to do.”

Over the next 6-9 months, the City of Tulsa and PartnerTulsa will evaluate development potential based upon current local, regional and national market conditions and trends, as well as conduct additional community outreach and engagement, according to a press release. 

Individuals interested in learning more about the now-scrapped Greenwood project can sign up to receive project updates here.  More information can be found online. 

Detailed Timeline of Negotiations (provided by PartnerTulsa)

May 10 City of Tulsa, PartnerTulsa, Selection Committee announce Team Alchemy as Master Developer for the site
May 17 PartnerTulsa begins to schedule bi-weekly project meetings with the Team
May 27 In-person kickoff meeting with PartnerTulsa and the Team
June 3 PartnerTulsa offers to reduce purchase price by the pro-rata reduction in lot size
June 21 June 23 Initial site tour of the building Initial draft of MOU circulated
June 29 Project meeting between Team Alchemy, OSU-Tulsa, PartnerTulsa
July 14-August 5 Request for the Team’s legal entity information (not provided) Initial Term Sheet circulated
August 15 Term Sheet bifurcated into Redevelopment and Financing components
August 22 Sample redevelopment Agreement provided to Team Alchemy
August 30 Sample Redevelopment Agreement review
September Continued meetings among full team (Alchemy, PartnerTulsa, Counsel for both parties)
October 11 Additional Term Sheet revisions; Initial Redevelopment Agreement and Financing Agreement provided to Team Alchemy
October 21 Additional revisions to Redevelopment Agreement and Financing Agreement
October 26 Rezoning Hearing, Urban & Economic Development Committee of Tulsa City Council
November 2 City Council vote for rezoning application approval
November 7 Meeting to discuss TIF agreement with the full team
November 8 November 9 Transmittal by PartnerTulsa attorneys of latest version of Redevelopment Agreement and Access Agreement allowing Team Alchemy to access the site without COT approval Transmittal by PartnerTulsa attorneys of draft Deed
November 14 Transmittal by PartnerTulsa of sample Bond documents; Transmittal by PartnerTulsa attorneys of latest version of Redevelopment Agreement
November 16 November 17 City Council vote for Zoning change Ordinance approval PartnerTulsa request to highlight Team Alchemy in the upcoming newsletter, photo shoot with Michael Collins and Franchell Abdalla coordinated
November 30 Transmittal of Exhibit D by Team Alchemy (Exhibit D outlines the community wealth-building, community ownership aspects of the project)
December 5 Photo shoot with Michael Collins and Franchell Abdalla canceled due to scheduling conflicts with Team Alchemy, shoot rescheduled to the end of January
December 14 Acknowledgement by Team Alchemy that major revisions are necessary to Exhibit D
January 5 Suggested revisions/direction transmitted by PartnerTulsa to Team Alchemy on needed modifications to Exhibit D
January 24 Greyson Capital notifies PartnerTulsa that it will not be a Development partner on the Evans-Fintube project
February 1 JE Dunn Capital Partners notifies PartnerTulsa that it will not be a Development partner on the Evans-Fintube project
February 2 PartnerTulsa notifies Be Good Development Partners of its intent to grant a 30-day review to assess the status of the project and the project team and request additional information
February 6 Meeting with the Selection Committee, Be Good Development Partners, PartnerTulsa to discuss next steps
February 7 Letter to Be Good Development Partners extending the 30-day review period to 120-days (June 1 deadline) to allow Be Good Development Partners time to replace the experience, pre-development capital, and development expertise lost by the withdrawal of Greyson Capital and JE Dunn Capital Partners
February 21 March Meeting with PartnerTulsa and Be Good Development Partners to fully explain what information is requested in the Request for Project Documentation and why No contact from Be Good Development Partners regarding Request for Project Documentation
April No contact from Be Good Development Partners regarding Request for Project Documentation
May 3 PartnerTulsa sends a reminder email to Be Good Development Partners of the June 1 deadline to provide information
May 10 Be Good Development Partners asks to present project update to the TAEO Board of Trustees
May 12 Be Good Development Partners sends an email to PartnerTulsa saying that Be Good is talking to two potential partners; PartnerTulsa is not allowed to contact the partners
May 15 Be Good Development Partners meets with Kian Kamas and Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper
May 19 Be Good Development Partners holds a meeting with some members of the Leadership Team and PartnerTulsa. At the meeting it was stated that a co-developer with the required experience will not be secured by the June 1st deadline
May 25 Be Good Development Partners presents to Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity Board of Trustees
June 1 Be Good Development Partners submits response to Request for Project Documentation
June 8 PartnerTulsa and City of Tulsa announce termination of negotiations due to Team Alchemy and Be Good Development Partners’ failure to maintain qualification for selection as the Master Developer in accordance with the requirements of the Evans-Fintube RFP issued September 8, 2021

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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