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.
During the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Realtors bus tour June 18, real estate brokers and business owners saw the progress of the historical Film Row District's renovation in the 700 block of West Sheridan and Lee avenues.
Local designer David Wanzer gave a presentation on the Film Row District in which he discussed the area's history as a distribution hub for all major Hollywood studios including Columbia, Paramount, Universal, Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO, United Artists and 20th Century Fox. Area developer Chip Fudge has spearheaded the quest to renovate the area into a mixed-used destination.
Wanzer told the group these are exciting times he says as years of design, planning and now occupancy are coming together. Next, he said, will be the area's streetscape project.
EAST TO WEST
Traveling west on Sheridan, Tietsort Design purchased the building at 614 W Sheridan Ave.
Computerized Business Services occupies 624 W Sheridan Ave.
The Oklahoma Theater Supply building, at 628 Sheridan Ave. houses 308|Design Collaborative, Butzer-Gardner, Task Design and Obelisk Engineering.
The 22,000-square-foot Film Exchange building, 700-708 W Sheridan Ave., is at 60-percent occupancy. The building has two additional key spaces available for lease.
Real Estate broker Philip Bohanon with Marcus Millichap who is handling the leasing for the Film Exchange building, said a 3,200 square feet retail space at 700 W Sheridan Ave. in the Film Exchange buildings lower level is currently being built out as a restaurant/café site.
The building's second level is also available for lease. The 6,200-square-foot office space features: two 10 tall skylights, new insulated double pane glazing in original steel casement windows, new mechanical, electrical and plumbing, and a new roof.
Next door, Critical Mass Productions, a video production company, is scheduled to occupy space at 702 W Sheridan Ave., with a fall 2009 opening.
Insight Funding Group (IFG), a residential mortgage company, recently took 2,500 square feet of space at 704 W Sheridan Ave.
Wanzer said IAO Gallery will soon occupy 6,000 square feet at 706-708 W Sheridan Ave. Renovations are underway and the tenant is scheduled to move into the building in August.
At 720 W Sheridan Ave. is the 35,000-square-foot Hart building which was built as a storage warehouse in 1956. Bohanon says the building is currently in shell condition and new windows are being placed on the property.