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.
Among the top 52 cities in the country, Oklahoma City residents deal with the third-shortest commutes to and from work, according to the Census Bureau's most recent American Community Survey. OKC's drivers spend an average of 21.35 minutes behind the wheel while on their way to work, with only Rochester (20.37 minutes) and Buffalo -Niagara Falls (20.78 minutes) coming in ahead. Of cities of similar size, OKC easily beat out its peers, including Salt Lake City, Nashville, and Milwaukee. Shorter drive times indeed mean it's easier to get down to business in Oklahoma City.
(April 23, 2010)
Q&A with John Wood
Q: The city hired consultant and author Jeff Speck to do a walkability study downtown. How are the results of that study being incorporated into planning on the new Devon Energy world headquarters?
A: We're working with the same architect who will be doing the streetscape design, and through that collaboration, we understand Jeff Speck will be brought onto that team. And we fully plan to incorporate their ideas into the streetscape project.
Q: What are the challenges of incorporating public space into a corporate headquarters?
A: One of the challenges in today's world is that there are legitimate security concerns. The more open you make a facility to the public, you have to be contious to doing that appropriately to address security concerns as well.
Q: How does a development of this size bode for future development of the surrounding neighborhood?
A: It's very positive. I just met with the head of a local engineering firm who said this investment has resulted in additional work for him because he's looking at working on the new streetscapes. Multiply that and you can look at how this might prompt a company in the suburbs to come downtown and hook into the urban scene and connect with a younger work force. This can be the start of something very positive.