Expansion continues in downtown OKC

Published Wednesday, May 20, 2020
by Cathy O'Connor

While we are facing what may be a worldwide economic downturn, Oklahoma City’s economic development planning, investment in our city and efforts to diversify our economy are paying off. A look at new development and investment in and around the central business district shows we haven’t skipped a step.

Construction is underway at the former Villa Teresa School at Classen Boulevard and N. Dewey Avenue by developers Marva Ellard and Billy Woodring.

This $50 million redevelopment will preserve a beloved historic school site and redevelop the main building into a 70-room boutique hotel with a restaurant, bar, health spa, gym and meetings rooms. The 3.5-acre site will also include 10 contemporary two- and three-bedroom town homes and seven flats for homes along Dewey Avenue with covered patios and balconies, each with a view of the downtown skyline.

Construction will begin later this summer on 700 West, a four-story development on the southeast corner of Fourth and Shartel. This 2.5-acre corner development is important both in its location and purpose; it will feature approximately 300 apartments, a mix of market-rate and affordable units, to meet a critical need in our urban core. The land is owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and will be sold to the developers with the goal of providing more affordable or workforce housing to ensure that the downtown area continues to develop in an equitable and inclusive way.

Heartland Payment Systems is nearly finished with the construction of its new headquarters at NW Fifth and Broadway. The $40 million headquarters will have offices for 550 employees and the company is adding another 400 jobs that will be located in the recently renovated Mideke Building in Bricktown.

Renovation of the BancFirst Tower continues, with all 500,000+ square feet and 36 floors expected to be finished by the end of the year. This $70 million renovation represents one of the largest renovation projects in the city and is expected to increase occupancy of the building to 90%. BancFirst will occupy about 165,000 square feet and lease the remainder of the building to other tenants.

As we weather the economic challenges of COVID-19, we’re discovering how our previous work to strengthen Oklahoma City’s economy will make a difference in how we emerge from this period.

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

Read the story on JournalRecord.com.

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