Top OKC economic development successes in 2018Published: Monday, December 24, 2018 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
Transformation was a key word for Oklahoma City in 2018. Major progress on several MAPS 3 projects and supporting public-private developments is completely changing how our downtown functions and feels. These developments, combined with our continued efforts to attract business and create jobs, mark some of our top economic development successes for 2018.
The Oklahoma City Convention Center broke ground in June, followed by the groundbreaking of the 605-room Omni Oklahoma City Hotel in October. These two momentous projects will multiply our potential to bring in large conventions and events and bring new dollars into the market. December brought the opening of the Oklahoma City Streetcar system, which has already brought significant economic impact and a new level of urbanism to Oklahoma City.
Two significant milestones in the Innovation District in 2018 indicate that we are well on our way to creating a premier global destination for innovation in Oklahoma City. Katy Evans Boren was named president and CEO of the Innovation District in July. She has begun promoting the district to the world and encouraging the collaborations and connections that will define the area. The second milestone was the hiring of a team led by the planning firm Perkins+Will to create a land use and strategic development plan for the Innovation District. Work is well underway on that plan, which should be complete by the middle of 2019.
This year’s retail successes included the attraction of high-demand retail stores such as Costco and the Container Store to Oklahoma City for the first time. The expansion of the very successful Chisholm Creek development is another success, continuing to add popular restaurant, retail and entertainment options in Oklahoma City. Local retailers and restaurants are growing in neighborhood business districts as well, with the Paseo, Plaza District, Uptown 23rd, Midtown and Automobile Alley all seeing significant developments over the past year.
Several significant job creation deals took place in 2018 including CACI, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, Heartland Payments and Amazon. Combined, these deals are adding thousands of jobs to our city.
This year brought exciting changes, many of which will benefit our city for generations to come. Next year looks to be an even more transformative year for Oklahoma City.
Cathy O’Connor is the president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.