Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp. will soon be establishing a new laboratory and taking a big step closer to commercialization of a new Crohn's disease treatment, thanks to a nearly $300,000 grant from OCAST, Chief Executive Scott Rollins said.
"This is an important step in bringing Oklahoma to a level where drugs like this can be developed and a lot of the work be done here, as opposed to sending the work out to other states," said Rollins, who is the lead researcher in the venture.
"And once this lab is up and going, there are a lot of other early-stage companies that could plug into this as well," he said.
Rollins' team made a proposal to OCAST, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, to construct a pharmaceutical drug development bioassay lab in Oklahoma that the state is currently lacking, officials said in discussing the $295,975 award. Bioassays are necessary for testing the presence, concentration, potency and other attributes of drugs and are required by the FDA to support preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy studies.
"Selexys Pharmaceutical Corporation is another of Oklahoma's growing number of R&D-based commercial businesses that showcase the commercialization effort now under way in our state," OCAST Executive Director Michael Carolina said. "An Oklahoma bioassay laboratory means lower costs for state-based research projects and provides an asset that draws researchers and projects from outside the state. That is the kind of economic development that Oklahoma is building through OCAST and its partners."
Selexys was one of 10 peer-reviewed research projects from across the state recently approved for about $1.7 million in Oklahoma Applied Research Support awards, which require matching funds that, Carolina said, extend their economic effects.
Grant-winning projects range from stain-resistant nanocoatings to developing techniques for pipe repair in earthquake zones. Fengxia Qi of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, for example, is lead researcher in a project to develop a lantibiotic drug using a new class of antibiotics that holds enormous promise to address the current crisis arising from the spread of infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. That project was awarded nearly $90,000.
And Robert Floyd of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is investigating an ear treatment that promises to prevent permanent hearing loss caused by exposure to acute noise. That project also was awarded $90,000.
Projects in Ardmore, Stillwater, Norman and Tulsa also received funds.
Rollins already had taken another drug through development and marketing while working in Connecticut. He said he wanted to move back to his home state to set up shop here and help Oklahoma's economy. The OCAST grant and a relationship with Oklahoma City-based Cytovance Biologics, the contract manufacturer for Selexys, will allow him to do just that.