Plans for Tallest US Skyscraper Fully Funded

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2024


Legends Tower, part of a mixed-used development project in Oklahoma City, has secured full funding, with construction potentially beginning in September.

The 1,907-foot-tall building, once completed, would be the tallest in the United States and the fifth tallest in the world.

About the Project

Designed by the Architect of Record AO, the Boardwalk at Bricktown is described by the architect as an “exciting architectural tapestry of modern design and a rich mixed-use experience at the heart of a vibrant entertainment district.”

The project is being developed by real estate investment and development company Matteson Capital, alongside development partners ThinkBox and Legends Capital Management; structural engineers, Thorton Tomasetti; civil engineers, Johnson & Associates; fire life safety and energy, Siemens; general contractor, Hensel Phelps; and hotel management companies, Hyatt and Dream.

The development will encompass over 3 acres and will include over 5 million square feet of residential, hospitality, retail, dining and entertainment spaces. It will also feature a collection of three towers, at 345-feet-tall each, and a fourth supertall tower, referred to as Legends Tower.

Initially, the tower was planned to be 1,750 feet high. However, in January, Matteson and AO requested a variance from the city to increase the height for Legends Tower.

The agencies explained that the new 1,907-foot height is symbolic, as it honors the year that Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state of the U.S.

The mixed-use project is also expected to include:

  • 480-key Dream Hotel by Hyatt with 85 residential serviced condominiums in the Dream Tower;
  • An additional 350-key Hyatt hotel with 100 serviced condominiums in the Legends Tower;
  • 1,776 residential units ranging from market-rate to affordable workforce and luxury options;
  • A retail and restaurant scene with over 110,000 square feet of space designated for commercial use, food and beverage; and
  • A workforce development center for the community at the street and second levels.

If fully built, the development could reportedly double the amount of housing in downtown Oklahoma City, as well as boost the supply of hotel rooms. Once the first two apartment towers are at least 50% leased, Matteson said construction of the Legends Tower would begin. 

The top floors of the supertall tower will reportedly consist of a public observatory, restaurant and bar where visitors will be able to enjoy the city views.

The design also intends to incorporate public spaces that are intended to become central hubs for community engagement, including a 17,000 square foot lagoon and water feature surrounded by a boardwalk.

Additionally, the project boasts several expansive roof-decks, providing residents and visitors with unparalleled views of the city and creating an “urban oasis in the heart of Oklahoma City.”

“Oklahoma City is experiencing a significant period of growth and transformation, making it well-positioned to support large-scale projects like the one envisioned for Bricktown,” said Scot Matteson, CEO of Matteson Capital.

“We believe that this development will be an iconic destination for the city, further driving the expansion and diversification of the growing economy, drawing in investment, new businesses, and jobs. It’s a dynamic environment and we hope to see The Boardwalk at Bricktown stand as the pride of Oklahoma City.”

Funding Plans, Project Concerns

As of earlier this month, Matteson told The Oklahoman that the $1.5 billion project has been fully funded. He added that preparations on the site could begin as early as June.

“We will be first getting a grading and infrastructure permit,” said Matteson. “And then we will get a building permit in September. The entire project is financed, including the tower—if the tower gets approved.”

However, Matteson noted there are still outstanding questions about whether the tower can be built. The outcome reportedly lies in whether he can receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, zoning approval from the city and whether the phase one apartment towers are sufficiently leased.

The Oklahoma City Planning Commission is scheduled to review a zoning change for the skyscraper on April 11, with a final vote by the city council on June 4.

While the project is one step closer to actualization, some still have their concerns about the project.

Norb Delatte, an engineering professor at Oklahoma State University, said his first question about the project is “why?”

“Very tall buildings make sense in densely populated areas where land is really expensive,” Delatte said. “That’s not Oklahoma City.”

However, Dellate, along with Jerome Hajjar, a professor at Northeastern College of Engineering in Boston, both said despite concerns about Oklahoma's location within Tornado Alley, among others, the tower is doable from a structural standpoint.

“It’s certainly an unusual and distinctive structure for a city the size of Oklahoma City,” Hajjar said. “A building system like this, along with the surrounding buildings, can be an anchor for transforming the city.” 

Developer and real estate finance consultant Bert Belanger added that he believes the publicity given to the Legends Tower is potentially harmful for the city’s market credibility. “Normally I'd say there is hardly any bad publicity out there,” he said. “But this is an exception. It's so fanciful that it makes us look bad for even acting like it’s a possibility.” 

Belanger added he isn’t so sure about assurances the Boardwalk at Bricktown, including Legends Tower, are already fully financed. He also warns the publicity effort may hurt the project. 

“This goes back to what this guy is trying to do—drum up interest to drum up investors,” Belanger said. “I think it will have an opposite effect, not just for him, but others trying to get things done in Oklahoma City. It's so preposterous it’s not worth talking about. The discussion is taking up too much space. We should focus on things we know can get done.”

   

Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Asia Pacific; Commercial / Architectural; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Funding; Good Technical Practice; Latin America; Mixed-Use Facility; North America; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Residential; Retail; Retail; Upcoming projects; Z-Continents

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