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.
Jane Jenkins will be the fourth president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. and is the first hired through a national search.
Fred Hall, who oversaw the search committee, said they compiled a list of 15 semifinalists with similar qualifications and then whittled it to three, including Jenkins.
"We wanted to get an experienced professional, and that's what we were advertising for," Hall said. "We got people responding from all over the country. Word about downtown Oklahoma City is really great."
She has state ties Hall said he was just as impressed with Jenkin's Oklahoma ties, which include an early career teaching in Tulsa and graduation from Oral Roberts University. "This is someone who really loves Oklahoma," Hall said. "We just meshed with her."
Working with downtown Boulder, Colo., Jenkins has spent much of her time focusing on retail development.
Under her leadership, the organization developed a brand campaign, maintained 95 percent retail occupancy and renewed the business improvement district for a 20-year term.
Jenkins said downtown Oklahoma City enjoys a good reputation at the International Downtown Association, which bestowed honors last year to former Mayor Ron Norick and The Underground.
The group is also entertaining a bid to host the group's conference in 2011.
"One of our board members in charge of that made a visit and had a lovely report of what's been accomplished there," Jenkins said.
Jenkins is looking at living at the Sieber Hotel apartments, which recently opened in MidTown after a two-year restoration.
She said she's excited about upcoming opportunities for downtown Oklahoma City.
"I just love and believe in downtown and community," Jenkins said. "It's great to get up and go to work every day."
This is someone who really loves Oklahoma."