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When Matt King’s architectural business was called upon to build Shoppes on Peoria, he didn’t think it would lead to him chairing the board for the community development financial institution behind the project, Tulsa Economic Development Corporation.
“It’s a learning curve for me because we’re dealing with finances and that’s not my strength,” King said. “To be the chair of the organization, it’s crazy, but that relationship developed when Shoppes on Peoria was done and it’s been a great relationship ever since.”
King owns three architectural companies: King Architectural Solutions, Minko MINKO Design (a Native owned company), and Echelon Arch + Design. He’s provided architectural services since 1985, working at 12 different firms before starting his own practice.
When joining TEDC’s board, the expertise King brought to the table often came in handy when clients were discussing plans to build or buy property with plans of development.
“My biggest deal is to educate people,” King said. “People have great ideas, but they don’t understand how to get from point A to point B. In our world, we have zoning, there’s only so many things you can do on a piece of property, there’s only so many things you can put on that property. You have to make sure that they understand that what they’re doing is more complicated than they typically know.”
Matt King as Board Chair
As of 2023, King has stepped up into the role of Board Chair of TEDC. King enjoys that his work with TEDC creates jobs.
“All of the funding mechanisms that we provide are to create jobs,” King said. “A lot of this money that people get, they have to show that they’re creating jobs, and that’s a really important thing.”
He leads while upholding the values of integrity and kindness.
“I think it says a lot when people are comfortable working with you and for you because they know that you’re going to do the right thing and they know that you’re going to take care of them,” King said.
Rose Washington Jones, CEO of TEDC Creative Capital, highly regards King’s contributions to TEDC. She commented, “Matt is a seasoned architect who happens to have experience starting and growing companies, like many of our clients. Additionally, as TEDC builds and develops more properties to create equitable prosperity in target neighborhoods, we’re lucky to benefit from his technical genius. Matt makes a trifecta impact on TEDC as a business owner located in Historic Greenwood, community advocate, and architect. We value his service on the TEDC Board of Directors.”
Matt King’s Background
King is a Tulsa native, graduate of Booker T. Washington and alumnus of the University of Arkansas. After college, King’s passion for historic preservation and adaptive reuse took him to Boston where historic buildings are converted into other uses while maintaining the original style.
“If I go [to Boston] in 1900, and I go back in 2000, it’s gonna look the same because they preserve their history,” King said. “It’s something Tulsa has failed to do in many cases.”
Tulsa had no interest or capital in adaptive reuse when King moved back to his hometown. Still, he was able to do some adaptive reuse projects such as the Mayo 420 building, not to be mistaken with the Mayo Hotel which he was passionate about preserving as well.
“When I heard that the Mayo Hotel was going to be torn down, I was going to be the first one chained to the building,” King said about trying to preserve Tulsa’s architectural history.
“Tulsa has extraordinary architecture. And we also have one of the largest collections of art deco in the world. We’ve lost a lot of it, but we still have a lot of it. I don’t necessarily have a favorite building as opposed to saving what we do have.”
Matt King’s Services
King found more passion and purpose beyond adaptive reuse within building rural healthcare facilities. He began building these medical facilities in 1994.
“It’s a different culture and they appreciate what you do and you start to learn how desperate the need is and you want to help,” King said. “I always tell people I’ll never get rich at this because there’s not enough money in it but you’re helping somebody who needs this.”
People in rural communities without medical facilities in their area may have to travel two hours for care.
“We take for granted that we can go right down here to OSU Medical Center or St John’s or wherever and get good health care,” King said. “I think everybody should be entitled to that.”
Other architectural work that King has expertise in building includes but not limited to:
- Senior Living
- Recreational / Entertainment
- Retail / Corporate
- Civic / Government
A long way from retirement, but when the time comes, King will leave behind a great legacy.
“It’s important to me that we maintain the integrity of our history and our legacy to the people behind us,” King said. “I’m trying to make this life easier for the next generation.”
About TEDC Creative Capital
TEDC Creative Capital (aka TEDC) is a community development financial institution (CDFI) that provides lending and learning opportunities for start-ups and small business owners in Oklahoma. TEDC builds equitable economic prosperity by helping small companies operate more successfully, create jobs, and advance communities. Loans range from $500 to $10 million. Visit TEDCnet.com or call 918-585-8332 for more information on loan and entrepreneurial education programs.