Greater Tulsa Reporter
GOING UP: The Village on Main is home to the new 60,000 SF headquarters of First Oklahoma Bank. The building’s eight-story tower with a copper dome serves as the signature element for both the bank and the village. The bank houses public functions adjacent to the first-floor lobby and on the penthouse level. Floors not occupied by the bank provide leasable, premier office space. A new five-level parking garage next to the building offers convenient access for employees and visitors. The bank is designed by Kinslow, Keith & Todd.
Jenks City Manager Mike Tinker is excited about at least two developments coming up in 2013. The soon-to-be-completed First Oklahoma Bank is certainly physically the biggest thing on the horizon. On a Main Street where two floors is as high as most buildings go, the new bank will rise six stories over the town and will be headquarters for all the bank’s branches. “It will be at 9th and Main Street, just opposite the lighthouse,” says Tinker. “The bank will use three of the floors for its own needs and lease out the other three. It is going to give a tremendous boost to Jenks.”
The second big thing is the 10th anniversary celebration of the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. “The aquarium has done a wonderful job of updating its exhibits and gets a lot of return visitors. For the anniversary, a number of special events are being planned. We expect to see attendance, which has always been good, to improve as a result of the excitement surrounding the events.”
A CVS pharmacy has been announced and a 260-unit apartment complex will be next to the Reasor’s grocery store. In addition to the previously mentioned projects, there are two areas that intrigue him. The first is the RiverWalk Crossing, paralleling the Arkansas River, that opened to much acclaim several years ago and then fell on hard times. “The Muscogee Creek Nation bought the complex this summer, and it is very hard at work wooing new tenants. I expect there will be some exciting developments in the near future.”
The second area is the River District, which is comprised of some 200 acres south of Main Street. “It was just starting to be developed around 2007 when the economy cratered but the land is still there; the opportunities are still there; and as the economic climate improves, I expect interest in the area will increase.”
Unlike communities such as Bixby and Glenpool, which have lots of undeveloped land available, Jenks in the next decade may find itself running out of room. “Jenks has about 20 square miles (with about six of those miles hard to develop because of wetland restrictions) but it is hemmed in by city limits all around it so what we have is what we have and right now we have vacant land available. In the first decade of this century, our population climbed 77 percent and, at roughly 17,000, we are probably half full. In a little over another decade we may be maxed out.
“We offer quality and can go after quality. We have a school system that is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest in Oklahoma, and we are about to finish and occupy a major new education administration building. Our demographics will rival any of our neighbors with a high per-capita income population and a highly educated workforce. Our proximity to Tulsa gives us the benefits of an urban neighbor while maintaining a more relaxed atmosphere. We offer a wonderful place to live.”
When the lack of major stores is mentioned, Tinker is not the least bit defensive. “I would love to have some big box stores come in, but if they don’t we’re going to survive nicely. We are a niche market and people come to us to find the unusual.” The Jenks Main Street is a haven for antique shoppers with store after store offering collectable items. “We are also beefing up our arts market with space for painters and sculptors who might have trouble finding an audience. This kind of activity can build excitement among patrons who love to own original art.”
Tinker hopes that unique restaurants will find Jenks a prime location. He says the city is working on a number of projects, but like his neighbors in surrounding towns, he is loath to mention any names without contracts being signed.
The next decade, he feels, will go far to fulfill the considerable promise Jenks offers. When the economy begins to expand again and purse strings loosen, he has no doubt it will happen and happen big time.