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 - At Scott Sabolich's building there are S's and curves everywhere.
Scott Sabolich Prosthetics & Research, 10201 N. Broadway Extension, is where amputees go for the chance to live normal lives.
The design elements and curves throughout the building help Sabolich provide a comfortable and functional clinic for his clients.
Many of the features designed to help amputees are not evident at first glance.
In the rounded lobby, with floor-to-ceiling glass and a large fish tank, is a staircase that leads to an observation deck. The stairs are a training tool.
There are sets of seven steps topped by landings on the staircase.
Someone who has lost a leg uses seven steps when beginning training with their prosthetic.
The steps also have a no-slip carpet, and railings are designed to mimic the parallel bars in each patient room.
"This is my teaching area," Sabolich said while pointing up the staircase. "Everyone has to learn how to walk with their prosthesis on the stairs."
A couch and an antique telescope await those who walk to the top, where visitors are welcomed with sweeping views in three directions.
Hanging in the lobby is an iron sculpture of a juggler. Sabolich said the piece was commissioned to represent how each person has to juggle the challenges of everyday life.
A 450-gallon fish tank divides the lobby from the hallway and patient rooms.
The patient rooms could double as upscale hotel rooms if not for the parallel bars running the length of each room. Each room has a view that looks out over a small lake.
The Sabolich family has been in the prosthetics business since the 1940s. Scott Sabolich is the third generation to run a prosthetics business and research center.
Over the years, the Sabolich clinics have been in spaces that were adapted to their needs.
"This is the first time we have ever put a facility together from the ground up," Sabolich said.
Architect Allen Brown designed the 21,000-square-foot building, which was completed in 2004. The lab accounts for 9,000 square feet. There technicians build each patient's prosthesis to be an exact fit and add lifelike feature to the limbs like skin tone, veins, hair and tattoos. Portals in the ceiling allow natural light into the lab, so technicians can gauge how the limbs will look in the light of day.
Sabolich said there are 3,000 new amputees each week in the U.S. His office sees 30 to 35 patients every day during the week. Many are from Oklahoma, but people also come from around the country and overseas.
In designing the center, Sabolich wanted it to be functional but not have a medical look and feel. He said amputees spend enough time in square rooms and square buildings as they get care and treatment. The Sabolich clinic is designed for comfort and a place where amputees can walk the halls, climb stairs and stroll around the lake.
"Scott Sabolich is SS, so everything is curved," Sabolich said. "There are curves all over the place."