O’Connor: The future of Core to Shore

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Cathy O’Connor, Guest Columnist

The Journal Record

The conversation surrounding downtown development is ever evolving, consisting of a multitude of levels. Where do we develop? What type of development should go where? Would redevelopment of a district – or the creation of a new one – be detrimental to an established district? We work to answer these questions on a daily basis.

Since the Core to Shore district was conceptualized, there has been dialogue among city leaders and stakeholders as to whether it would compete with districts that are maturing downtown, such as Midtown, Bricktown and Deep Deuce, and even new developments like the Wheeler District planned for what is now known as the Downtown Airpark.

The answer is complicated. The Core to Shore district will be unlike any that we currently have, offering a very different type of development. It will be the blank slate that we need to develop a world-class neighborhood by providing much-needed community amenities, like added retail and commercial space, to the downtown area.

From what will be the new Crosstown Boulevard to the river, this project will add an estimated 500,000 square feet of office space, 2,500 residential units and 77,500 square feet of retail and commercial space. The rest of the development will contribute an additional million square feet of office space, 4,225 residential units and 156,200 square feet of retail and commercial space.

That being said, this development may be more complex and potentially more expensive than other districts around the city. Mayor Mick Cornett talks about the need for greater urban density, and that the idea of urban sprawl is one from the past. The new developmental paradigm of high-density, elevated design leads itself to a higher level of overall quality among all projects designed for the core of Oklahoma City.

The Core to Shore district will also be the long-awaited connection between the south site and the urban core. This will help move more investment into an area of Oklahoma City that has been longing for expansion and redevelopment for some time now.

It is important to keep in mind that development is not something that happens overnight. Remember the years it took Bricktown to transform into the entertainment district, and how long it has taken Midtown to run the course of its renaissance.

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


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