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 - The human sustainability experts at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have learned a lot lately about saving both the environment and some green.
By this time next year, they will have a lot to show for their research - an eight-story, $54 million tower that is believed to be the first medical research facility anywhere to harness the wind to help power its laboratories.
"Our mission at OMRF is to perform research that helps people live longer, healthier lives," Dr. Stephen Prescott, OMRF president, said Wednesday. "What is that but human sustainability? So with this tower, we're just taking the natural next step - trying to attain environmental sustainability."
But the 24 double-helix wind turbines that will sit atop the tower aren't the whole story, although they will serve as an important symbol of Oklahoma's renewable-energy potential.
The real lesson may be that thinking green means thinking way ahead.
"Most people design a building and then ask, 'How can we make this green?'" Prescott said. "We installed the green features first, and then we designed the rest of the building around them."
Sheryl Rood, OMRF's owner representative on the project, said the design team was fabulous in incorporating sustainable features into the building's design from the start.
"I think it boils down to reduce what you need; reuse what you can and what you can't use, you recycle," Rood said.
As a result, the tower is only the second building in the state and the first in Oklahoma City to earn gold-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
OMRF also has been selected as a finalist for the Renewable Energy World North America Award in the category of building integrated renewals. The winners will be announced Feb. 23 in Austin.
Overall, the tower's energy-saving measures will decrease electricity usage by 37 percent and total power use by 17 percent, which will cut annual CO2 emissions by 2,162,520 pounds.
Sustainability was a factor throughout the design process, including the site selection, the demolition process (the new building went in on the site of an existing building) and how the new tower would be positioned.
For example, the demolition process took a little longer to allow the contractor to reclaim some materials for recycling, Rood said.
"The actual sighting of the building and how you orient it toward the sun is another key component," she said. "We have more wall covering on the east and west sides to minimize the heat and the north and south faces have a lot of windows to allow for indirect lighting."
The ultimate size of the building also could be scored as a sustainability plus.
Originally, it was thought that 200,000 square feet would be needed to satisfy the research program's needs, but Rood said that through design efficiencies the size was reduced to 186,000 feet, a 7-percent reduction and an energy saver.
The building also will feature a living roof and rain garden to prevent runoff pollution and insulate the building, as well as an air-conditioning system that will reduce water consumption by recycling condensation.
"I am proud," Rood said. "This is really a neat building."