Development opportunities in Core to Shore

Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018
by Cathy O'Connor

It took the relocation of a major interstate and the vision of Oklahoma City leaders to seize the opportunity for the area of downtown we now refer to as Core to Shore.

The Core to Shore Development Framework, adopted in 2008, is a plan to connect the heart of the city to the Oklahoma River, remove blight and redevelop the area into what will be one of the major attractions to Oklahoma City.

Scissortail Park will be a 70-acre urban oasis extending from the core of downtown to the shore of the Oklahoma River. Design features include a cafe, a great lawn for large performances, a lake with a boathouse and an extensive network of sidewalks and trails. The new convention center will include a 220,000-square-foot exhibit hall that includes 45,000 square feet of meeting room space and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

The convention center headquarters hotel will be built, owned and operated by Omni Hotels. The 17-story hotel will be located between the Chesapeake Energy Arena and the new convention center and will feature dining, shopping, a full-service spa and an open rooftop pool overlooking the park.

East of the Omni hotel, a public parking garage will be built in conjunction with a private, mixed-use development project. The mixed-use portion is presently out for proposals. There is a preference for affordable or workforce housing to help provide affordable downtown housing options.

West of Scissortail Park, Strawberry Fields Development is striving to create a new mixed-use, urban living experience in the area. Strawberry Fields recently announced its building, which will be five stories, contain five condominiums and be home to the Oklahoma City offices of GE Johnson Construction.

Two sites with a lot of potential for future development include the former Goodwill site owned by the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust and the Urban Renewal Authority, and the privately owned site north of Scissortail Park. Both sites have frontage along the boulevard as well as the new park. Established policies will encourage good urban design and appropriate development density at both locations.

These projects represent just a few of the public and private investments taking place in Core to Shore. The transformation of this area over the next few years will be exciting and impactful.

Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

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