Phase Five $23 Million Financing Closes at River West

The Tulsa Housing Authority (THA), with co-developer The Michaels Organization, has closed the $23 million phase five financing for Choice Neighborhoods – River West, a mixed-income workforce housing development. The Choice Neighborhoods – River West project in Tulsa represents the largest investment in affordable housing in the city’s history to date, totaling more than $180 million.  

Phase five of the historic project includes 68 units, with 40 subsidized replacement units, 17 additional tax credit units and 11 market rate units. Housing for this phase includes five two- to three-story walk-up garden style buildings.

Phase five represents the first phase of the project to be built on the former Brightwaters Apartments footprint, transforming this portion of historic Route 66. Buildings on phase five and six that front Southwest Boulevard/Historic Route 66 will reintroduce balconies to the development not seen since phase one.

“It’s hard to believe that we’re now moving into the fifth of six phases of this historic project,” said Aaron Darden, THA President & CEO. “Through the challenges related to an environment of escalating cost, our team has come together to ensure that River West continues to be a place where anyone in Tulsa would be proud to call home. We remain incredibly grateful for our philanthropic and financing partners who have made this vision of a renewed area of our city a reality.”

“We are pleased to partner with the City of Tulsa and the Tulsa Housing Authority on this exciting and ambitious project,” said Luci Blackburn, HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods director.  “The Choice Neighborhoods program significantly invests in affordable housing, resident opportunity, and neighborhood improvements with a goal of creating equitable communities where all residents can prosper.  We are thrilled to see the River West project move towards completion with HUD’s support.”

Phase five financing includes a HUD 221(d)(4) loan and bridge financing provided by M&T Reality Capital Corporation and M&T Bank, 9% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) investment from RBC Community Investments and investments from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

“As THA continues to grow, we are excited to close the sixth housing finance project together, which builds new affordable housing in Tulsa” said John Galfione, director at RBC Community Investments. The sentiments were shared by Sandra DeFelice, senior managing director at M&T Reality Capital Corporation stating, “It was our pleasure to work with two high-capacity organizations in THA and The Michaels’ Organization to close on phase five and move swiftly to financing phase six to wrap the River West revitalization.”

“When Michaels first visited the project site in 2019, it was hard to imagine the true impact of the plan,” said Michaels’ Vice President James Weglarz, who is River West’s co-developer. “Now, with this fifth phase closed and delivery of Phases one through three completed with phase four on the way, along with a public park in early 2023, it is truly exciting to see how River West is transforming this neighborhood in the West Tulsa area and lifting lives.”  

The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa (THA) and the City of Tulsa were awarded a $30 million CNI grant in 2017 by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to launch the transformation of the Eugene Field neighborhood into River West, a mixed-income community. THA selected The Michaels’ Organization as its co-developer. The Choice Tulsa Transformation Plan includes the construction of 435 mixed-income apartments, a renovated West Tulsa Park, and extensive public infrastructure and stormwater improvements. Project totals are estimated at more than $180 million, representing Tulsa’s largest investment in affordable housing to date.

THA and the City of Tulsa were awarded a second Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant in September for the redevelopment of Comanche Park Apartments as part of the Envision Comanche project plan, making Tulsa one of only a few cities nationwide to have two active CNI projects and brining Tulsa’s total CNI investment from HUD to $80 million.

For more information on River West – Choice Neighborhoods Tulsa, visit


About Choice Neighborhoods

A program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Choice Neighborhoods leverages significant public and private dollars to support locally-driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. The program helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services and schools.

About Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa

The Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa (THA) is creating a better Tulsa by transforming lives and communities. THA has been serving the community since 1967, providing affordable housing solutions for Tulsa’s most vulnerable populations. THA owns and manages 13 communities, offers four Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance communities and manages the Housing Choice Voucher program. THA serves more than 20,000 Tulsans, providing affordable housing options in tandem with connection to supportive services to help all Tulsans thrive.

About The Michaels Organization

The Michaels Organization is a national leader in residential real estate, offering full-service capabilities in development, property management, construction and finance. Serving 145,000 residents in more than 400 communities nationwide, Michaels is committed to crafting housing solutions that jump start education, civic engagement and neighborhood prosperity and to creating Communities That Lift Lives.