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 - "I am glad you told me that, because now I want to come and shoot in Oklahoma City," said film director Paul Osborne.
He was responding to Gov. Brad Henry's signing of Senate Bill 318 into law last week, which increases the Oklahoma film enhancement rebate to 37 percent cash back on production companies' expenditures in the state, according an Oklahoma Film & Music Office press release.
Henry and OFMO's motivation is to attract film projects and production companies to Oklahoma. They and many others involved in local film projects estimate the rebate will boost in-state spending, and as a result, improve the economy as a whole - all the while advancing the burgeoning local artistic community. "Bringing film projects to any city helps boost the economy because filmmakers eat," Osborne said. "Crews eat. They buy gasoline. They shop. They are coming in with cash to spend."
Osborne is part of one of the feature presentations at this week's ninth annual deadCENTER Film Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. The festival begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
Events include movies, concerts and a showcase peace event on Saturday night, featuring pop-icon hippie Wavy Gravy. "We're going to have a hippie love fest with beads and peace signs, and Wavy Gravy will be there in person," said Kim Searls, marketing director for Downtown OKC Inc., which is promoting the festival.
The deadCENTER Film Festival started in 2001 as a small, two-day festival at City Arts Center. In its third year, it moved downtown.
"From that point on, we have continued to grow and grow and grow," said Festival Executive Director Cacky Poarch. The deadCENTER Film Festival has grown to a five-day festival with seven venues, 90 films and a series of panel discussions, including one on Osborne's film Official Rejection.
Osborne's film, screening at 2 p.m. Friday immediately before the panel discussion, is about the disappointments associated with navigating the corporate bureaucracy of larger film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes.
"But there is a good midrange of strong regional festivals, like the deadCENTER Film Festival, that are a great place for independent films to play that wouldn't otherwise find an audience," Osborne said. "They are doing the kind of job that Sundance used to do - finding the true new voices of independent film."