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 -- When Russell Claus looks south of downtown Oklahoma City he sees the future.
When Bob Massey looks north toward downtown from his business he sees an uncertain future.
Claus, Oklahoma City's planning director, is charged with overseeing an ambitious plan to redevelop 750 acres between the central business district and the north bank of the Oklahoma River.
Massey, owner of Massey's Accessory Shop at 1319 S. Robinson Ave., runs the business his family started in 1927 and knows within the next few years the business will need to find a new home.
Meetings for the Core to Shore project began in 2006 to determine the best use of the land. One of the main motivators was the movement of Interstate 40 about seven blocks to the south by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
When the highway is moved, scheduled for completion in 2012, the existing bridges will come down and the city has plans for a grand boulevard.
But many areas of Core to Shore are privately owned.
Claus said that it is a long-range project.
"Because of the size of the area that we're looking at it's going to take a very long time to redevelop," he said. "It will be several decades."
For the next few years the city is focused on the area between the existing I-40 and the realigned highway.
One piece of the puzzle has already been purchased to contribute to a large park. The city recently acquired the former U.S. Postal Service main branch, at 320 SW Fifth St., after the City Council approved the $3.68 million purchase in March.
Claus said he would like to see the park completed by 2014 to coincide with the new boulevard.
Much of the rest of the area is still a big question mark for planners and property owners.
The area, bordered by Western Avenue on the west, Lincoln Boulevard and Byers Avenue on the east, the current Interstate 40 and the Oklahoma River on the south, is populated by vacant land, railroad tracks, salvage yards and old homes.
In 2008 the Core to Shore steering committee released its report that showed parks, residential units, a convention center and water features. Salvage yards are not in the cards.
Some property owners see it as a blessing as downtown eventually creeps south, while others wonder about the fate of businesses, many of which have been family-owned for decades.
Massey said he would prefer to be left alone. Initial drawings show a park where his business stands.
He said a move will be costly, and could hurt business.
"We've been on the street in excess of 80 years," Massey said. "Customers know exactly where to come. I'll lose all that residual business."
Massey said he has received few reassurances from the city other than that Core to Shore will not reach his area until at