Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority recently released its 56th-annual report, which highlights the authority’s efforts over the past year to revitalize several areas of the city.
In the Central Business District, the Civic Centre Flats recently completed construction. Located at the northeast corner of Couch Drive and Lee Avenue, the development includes 34 housing units on what was once a vacant parking lot.
Also on a previous parking lot, the new Oklahoma City Municipal Courts Building is nearing completion. The 70,602-square-foot, three-level building will house municipal court operations for the city of Oklahoma City.
The GE Global Research Oil and Gas Technology Center opened last fall. The facility serves as a central hub for GE scientists and engineers to closely collaborate with the oil and gas industry on cutting-edge digital and hardware solutions to advance the industry. The five-story, 125,000-square-foot center includes lab and office space, 400-foot and 60-foot test wells, and two 30-ton overhead cranes for moving large testing equipment.
Several new developments are bringing additional residential housing near downtown. The Hill at Bricktown recently completed 80 new town homes, with more under construction and planned. The redeveloped Page Woodson School, renamed The Douglass and The Douglass Next Door, offers affordable housing with 136 apartments. Market-rate housing is available at The Seven, just north of the redeveloped school property.
One way OCURA helps revitalize an area is to develop vacant lots in depressed areas with well-designed infill homes. By the end of this summer, more than 30 single-family homes have been built or are planned for construction in the John F. Kennedy project area in northeast Oklahoma City. Homeownership strengthens neighborhoods by creating a place where people want to live, raise a family and spend their dollars supporting their community.
The big news in the Northeast Renaissance area is the Northeast Shopping Center project. The retail space is planned to include a much-needed grocery store and other tenants, providing residents with access to fresh groceries and other needed services.
These projects are just a few examples of how OCURA works to improve our neighborhoods and encourage economic growth.
Cathy O’Connor is president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.