Look back, look forward: Taking stock in Central Oklahoma

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

By Kristi Eaton

Slice Magazine

The Oklahoma City metro area is in the midst of a development boom. New, exciting projects are popping up all over and helping create a diverse, thriving metropolis. But keeping the state's legacy alive is also important, as evidenced by the many projects growing from efforts to revitalize the city's historical aspects. Here are some of the area's most noteworth past and future developments over the past few years, as well as a look at some that haven't quite made it to the finish line. 

The Myriad Gardens Blossom Anew

The beauties of nature have been on display downtown for decades … but the design that gave the Myriad Botanical Gardens a feeling of insulation from the bustle of the city center also made it easily overlooked and needlessly difficult to enter. In 2010, the sprawling botanical gardens and urban park underwent a multi-million dollar renovation project (with a financial boost from Devon Energy) that helped make the area more accessible and user-friendly. Water features, a band shell, two restaurant spaces and a more open, inviting design have increased its presence and made it a more vibrant element in the redeveloping downtown, without losing a bit of its beauty. The gardens’ iconic Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory also saw refurbishment including improvements to its more than 3,000 acrylic panels.

Organic Growth for the Food Market

Like many of the metro area’s most successful development projects, the arrival of Whole Foods had been rumored for years. The natural and organic foods supermarket officially made the announcement in 2010 that it would open a 35,000-square-foot store along N. Western between North Classen and N.W. 63rd to anchor the next phase of development at the upscale Classen Curve shopping center. One year later, the doors opened for customers to buy locally grown and organic products – and it’s still packed most of the time.

Devon’s Towering Achievement

Rising 50 stories into the air, the Devon Tower has changed the skyline for Oklahoma City. In a landscape that includes many buildings of similar heights and looks, the Devon Tower stands out for its sheer size – and proudly holds the record as the tallest building now in Oklahoma.

Construction started in 2009 and moved at a dizzying pace: a new floor was added about every eight days. That speed enabled Devon Energy to move its more than 2,000 employees into the tower a mere three years after construction started. Today the ground floor is open to visitors; stop in for a tour.

See the rest of the list of OKC's latest developments and the future ones, as well as accompanying art by Simon Hurst, from the January 2015 Slice Magazine at www.sliceok.com