Tulsa: November 2007 Archives

Those who've accused Councilor Roscoe Turner and north Tulsa residents of unjustifiable complaining about the closing of Albertson's at Pine and Peoria need to listen to the podcast of Saturday's Darryl Baskin show. The guest at the beginning of the show was Steve Whitaker of John 3:16 mission, and the topic was "food deserts."

Not desserts. Deserts.

There's a big one in Tulsa. Whitaker said a food desert is defined as an area where it's more than three miles to the nearest full-service grocery. Tulsa has a six-mile wide band without supermarkets that goes all the way across the city.

There are no full-service grocery stores in the City of Tulsa north of Admiral Place. There's a Piggly Wiggly on Admiral east of Harvard, a Warehouse Market at 3rd & Lewis, and another Warehouse Market at 66th & Peoria in Turley. Beyond that you have to go to Owasso to shop.

A food desert makes life harder for those already on the margins of poverty. There are no supermarkets within walking distance. There might be a convenience store, but prices are higher, and the store isn't likely to carry produce or much in the way of healthy food. Driving is getting more expensive as fuel costs rise. Public transit is rarely available when people are off work and can go shopping.

Whitaker and Baskin wondered why, since everyone has to buy food, no one has filled the vacuum left by Albertson's departure.

I read an explanation recently -- can't remember where -- that made a lot of sense. Even though everyone has to buy food, lower income people tend to buy basics and items on sale. In other words, they buy items with low markups. In supermarkets in middle class and upper income areas, shoppers buy more expensive, high-markup items which subsidize the basics. If everyone that shops at a particular grocery buys only the low-markup items, the grocery won't be able to afford to stay in business.

UPDATE 2007/11/30: I took a little drive up Peoria and back down Lewis to check on grocery locations. There are no supermarkets on N. Peoria until you are beyond Tulsa city limits and in unincorporated Turley, which has a Warehouse Market. There is a greengrocers called "Week's" at Apache and Lewis, but I don't know if it's open out of season. At Pine and Lewis, the old Safeway (the newer old Safeway on the northwest corner) is split between a RentQuik and a Save-A-Lot. Although the Save-A-Lot doesn't have a sign out front, banners in the store visible through the windows showed the name. There's a big Supermercado on Lewis just north of I-244. I didn't stop to investigate, so I don't know what hours these stores keep or how their prices and selection compare to stores in my neighborhood.

Tulsa Realtor Darryl Baskin reported back on November 4 that the owner of Cityplex Towers (née Oral Roberts' City of Faith) plans to develop the outparcels of the property nearest the 81st and Lewis intersection as a retail complex anchored by Whole Foods Market and Barnes and Noble Bookstore. This will be the first Whole Foods Market in the Tulsa area and the third B&N. I seem to recall that a B&N was mentioned as a possibility for the second phase of Jenks' Riverwalk Crossing.

If this comes to pass, it would seem to preclude a major chain bookseller for Riverwalk Crossing, with a B&N just two miles away and a Borders four miles away.

That item came from Neil Dailey's Tulsa Commercial Real Estate News blog. Dailey heads up commercial real estate for Baskin's team. I'll be keeping an eye on his blog for interesting tidbits. Some of the most important local news is found in real estate transactions, not down at City Hall or the County Courthouse.

While poking around darrylbaskin.com, I came across a listing for Jarrett Farm, a luxury bed and breakfast resort halfway between Tulsa and Bartlesville. The asking price for the 120-acre Jarrett Farm property is $2.95 million. The listing describes it as a "turnkey business," so I'd guess it's still in operation while a buyer is sought.

If you're interested in ways of reducing the cost and environmental impact of homes and businesses, there are three open houses this Saturday afternoon that you'll want to visit, all part of the Tulsa Solar Tour:

  • Harvest Solar Energy office at 442 S. Utica, a converted bungalow that uses passive solar energy.
  • The Geer/Palmieri residence at 1352 E. 43rd Pl., new construction in the Brooktowne subdivision (former home of the John Zink Plant) with concrete-and-Styrofoam insulation, geothermal climate control and water-heating, and other energy-efficient features
  • The House of the Lifted Lorax, 4014 W. 42nd Place, home to Route 66 Ron and Emily, the Red Fork Hippie Chick: "West Tulsa cottage in the historic Red Fork neighborhood features a grid-tied solar power system, extensive use of simple techniques to reduce energy consumption, and several outdoor projects designed to reduce the homeowners' ecological footprint, including an organic garden, henhouse, and backyard apiary."

The homes are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the event is part of the American Solar Energy Society's 12th annual National Solar Tour.

Emily has more info, including a PDF flyer with details and directions for the buildings on Tulsa's tour.

Ron and Emily have a blog devoted to their efforts to reduce their house's environmental footprint. Even if you aren't very Green, you have to admire a home with an electric meter that runs backwards.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from November 2007.

Tulsa: October 2007 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: December 2007 is the next archive.

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