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 - Oklahoma is a market ready for an alternative to photon cancer treatments, ProCure Proton Therapy Center President Ed Bertels said.
The new center on West Memorial Road is the sixth in the United States focusing on proton therapies, and the first that's not directly associated with a school, he said. It is scheduled to open for cancer patients this summer.
"The decision to build a center like this was driven by our Radiation Medicine Associates physicians who asked, 'why not Oklahoma City?'" he said. "Because as large a metropolitan area it is, you have to compare it with Chicago or Detroit or some of the other big cities. But there was a lot of faith in the physicians and faith that they can support a center here. We expect to see a lot of patients from outside the state as well."
Indiana-based ProCure Treatment Centers Inc. has been developing a network of cancer treatment centers across the country to deliver FDA-approved proton radiotherapy. When the company reached Oklahoma, it partnered with Radiation Medicine Associates and Radiation Oncology Associates, two radiation oncology practices in Oklahoma City.
Proton treatment differs from photon radiation treatment in the ability to externally beam high levels of cancer-destroying energy with more precision and less effect on surrounding tissues. Protons are positively charged particles with much more mass than photons, found in the nuclei of atoms. By their very nature, protons interact with matter differently than X-rays and can be made to peak and deposit their energy at a specific spot, almost like a focal point.
Proton therapy is particularly appropriate for treating children's tumors, for example, where it's even more important to protect normal tissues such as the pituitary gland still important for growth, Bertels said. Pediatric patients can have markedly improved opportunities with proton treatments and significantly less risk of developing other malignancies, he said.
"Other radiation therapies are still very effective, so we can't replace them. But we can provide more opportunities for certain types of tumors," he said.
The center will hold an open house this week for members of the Oklahoma Venture Forum. The 55,000-square-foot complex, with eight exam rooms and four treatment rooms, can help about 1,500 patients annually, officials said. All of the centers will follow the same design.
Most of the financing for the Oklahoma City center was through Fortis Capital and private equity investors, Bertels said. Although the credit market is tight now, the company still has plans to open other centers in Florida and Michigan, so investment opportunities are available.