Firms With Okla. Ties Receive Arena Construction Contracts

Sun February 04, 2007 - West Edition
CEG



TULSA, Okla. (AP) Firms with Oklahoma ties have received 85 percent of the construction contracts awarded during the building of a new arena in downtown Tulsa, according to an analysis by the Tulsa World.

The newspaper reported that Tulsa-area companies have been awarded 28 out of the project’s 41 construction contracts, or 68 percent. That translates to $64.5 million out of a possible $124 million in contracts.

Firms that are based elsewhere in Oklahoma, or national companies that have Oklahoma offices, have been awarded seven other construction contracts for the BOK Center, which is scheduled to open in September 2008.

The budget for the arena’s construction is $178 million, and an estimated $12 million worth of work remains to be put up for bid.

“We’re very happy with these numbers,” said Project Manager Bart Boatright of Tulsa Vision Builders, which is building the arena, said. “It was our goal to involve as many local contractors as possible.”

Project leaders had divided the arena’s construction work into smaller elements to give potential contractors with Oklahoma ties a better chance to compete, Boatright said.

“The Vision 2025 program is not only about generating a good future and improving the quality of life in Tulsa, it’s about generating business for local companies,” he said.

Kirby Crowe, the project director of the Vision 2025 Project, said that of the 368 firms working on projects funded by the Tulsa County tax program, 298 of them — or 81 percent — have some sort of Tulsa-area connection.

“Every time a local contractor gets work, they employ people who end up spending money in the community,” Crowe said. “We’re feeding the local fire.”

One of the six out-of-state companies that has been awarded a bid is going to Tulsa to do the work. A. Zahner Co. of Kansas City, Mo., which will create stainless steel panels for use as the arena’s skin and walls, plans to open a temporary fabrication plant in Oklahoma’s second-largest city.

Bill Zahner, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said he might consider a permanent presence in Tulsa.

“The relationship with the people down there in Tulsa has been very good,” Zahner said. “We’re going to see how it goes.

“I know from experience that when you work on something this big with a group of talented people, you start feeling committed to them.”