© 2024 88.9 KETR
Public Radio for Northeast Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Developer plans to eclipse New York and build the 5th tallest building in Oklahoma


For as long as skyscrapers have existed, New York City has been home to most of the biggest ones. New York is the current title holder with America's tallest skyscraper, One World Trade Center. But now a developer plans a taller building that's not in New York. Jason Barr studies economics of skyscrapers at Rutgers University in Newark.

JASON BARR: If completed, it would represent a historical anomaly in the sense that nothing as tall as this type of building has ever been completed in a city of its size.


That city is Oklahoma City, population nearly 700,000 as opposed to New York's 8 million. Legends Tower would be 134 stories, more than twice the height of anything else on a skyline that is in the middle of Tornado Alley.

BARR: There are many strategies that engineers can use to brace the building, and they can also put models in wind tunnel tests, so they can simulate the kind of environmental conditions that the tower might go through to make sure that it can withstand just about any type of weather condition.

INSKEEP: The new skyscraper and its surrounding development, known as Boardwalk at Bricktown, would host hotels, shops, restaurants and apartments.

BARR: That's where the money is. There seems to be something of a resurgence for apartment living in central cities, given work from home and all the difficulties with filling office spaces.

FADEL: And the cost of building this? The developer puts the price tag at some $1.6 billion. Professor Barr says that bumps up the cost of hotel rooms and apartments just to hopefully break even.

BARR: And it just doesn't seem like, in Oklahoma City, the kind of hotel rates or the kind of prices they can get for apartment sales can justify recouping the costs of building this tower.

INSKEEP: We're hearing a skeptical view here. Barr is not even counting on Legends Tower to be finished.

BARR: One could line a highway from New York to Oklahoma City with the renderings of developers who have proposed the world's tallest building.

INSKEEP: But even proposing the 1,907-foot-tall project has an upside, beyond its homage to the year 1907, when Oklahoma became a state.

BARR: It helps put the city on the map, you know, it generates a lot of buzz. And that kind of buzz and good PR can certainly help boost the fortunes of businesses and small business owners in the city itself.

FADEL: But don't plan your next trip to Oklahoma City to see the tower just yet. Groundbreaking is set for this summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRENT MASON'S "BLOWIN' SMOKE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.