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.
Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is reorganizing its staff as it enters a second decade as operator of the downtown business improvement district.
The district is funded through assessments paid by property owners and was created 10 years ago as a way to pay for marketing, street maintenance and event promotion.
"As we look forward to downtown's planned growth, we needed a revised blueprint to meet these new needs," said Jane Jenkins, who was hired as president of the organization in March 2009. "Now is the time to adjust our structure and services to further complement the city and Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's economic development plans."
Jenkins said the reorganization was in response to a series of strategic planning meetings involving more than 200 downtown residents, business and property owners.
Part of the reorganization calls for the elimination of two positions: marketing director and events director, and creation of three new positions - vice president of marketing and business development; marketing and events coordinator; and research and data coordinator.
Jenkins said details about how the restructuring will affect current staff will be announced at a later date.
The new development business center will support small businesses within the retail and office markets and provide stronger support to investors and developers as downtown continues to grow, Jenkins said.
She added Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. will seek to encourage infill development and investment by becoming a "portal" for marketing information, relocation assistance and recruiting.
Jenkins said the organization is seeking to hire someone with a "solid understanding of real estate" who will help provide tailored market and economic data on downtown to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. She also wants to see policies developed that would make moving downtown easier.
New priorities, meanwhile, are being set for two current positions - business improvement district services and event marketing.
Jenkins said the new priorities will include streetscape enhancements, residential constituency projects, homelessness and panhandling, all needs cited by respondents surveyed by Downtown Oklahoma City Inc.
Jenkins cited Downtown in December as the organization's "marquee event" and added she wants to see at least one more developed over the next couple of years. She said Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. will become a nonprofit events production company that will apply for grants, conduct fundraising and produce all downtown events.
"To accommodate our new community development role, it resulted in restructuring the special events and marketing area to better integrate with the work plan and creating three new positions," said Jenkins. "We will be seeking applicants nationwide who have downtown development and marketing experience and want to be a part of Oklahoma City's exciting future."