Investing in Edmond: New commercial construction remains high

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 By: Molly M. Fleming Source: The Journal Record

In the last nine years, Edmond has seen nearly $40 million in private money put into its downtown.

Last year, about $4 million was spent in the area by private developers.

Edmond Economic Development Authority Executive Director Janet Yowell said she’s seeing a lot of interest in the area since some of it falls within a federal opportunity zone.

Yowell spoke Thursday at the EEDA’s Economic Preview, held at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Edmond.

Roughly, the opportunity zone stretches from E. Second Street, west to the railroad track, north to E. Ayers Street, and east to Bryant Avenue.

Projects that are underway in downtown Edmond include the Edmond Rail Spur District, which has the former ice house owned by Chip Fudge; Sunnyside Diner at E. Second Street and S. Broadway Avenue; and the Edmond Railyard food hall and entertainment venue at 23 W. First St.

There’s also new multifamily housing under construction at Littler Avenue and Fifth Street. The three-story building will have 17 apartment units and about 6,000 square feet of first-floor retail space.

“I believe the synergy for these projects will really make our downtown really vibrant,” Yowell said. “(The opportunity zones) are an energized investment opportunity that people are taking advantage of. 2018 will be hard to beat.”

The other area in Edmond that saw a lot of announced growth was along Interstate 35. Integris filed the city’s largest-ever construction permit for an addition. The $62 million, 143,000-square-foot addition will double the hospital’s size. It will not be complete until 2020.

Integris will open its Arcadia Trails addiction center later this year.

In total, there was $117 million spent along I-35 in 2018, Yowell said.

At the University of Oklahoma’s Medical Center, a $2.1 million surgical robotic system was installed in 2018.

Citywide, the medical industry employs 650 people, but with all the new additions, there are expected to be about 800 people employed in the medical field.

“These are the kind of jobs we like to see,” Yowell said. “They’re sustainable and high-paying.”

Last year was one of the most active years in recent times for new construction, topping out at $112 million in commercial permits pulled, with another $130 million spent on additions or alterations. The most recent high commercial construction amount was in 2016 when $107 million in commercial permits were pulled with the city.

Ten of those permits were pulled for retail use, and more will be pulled this year, including by the Spring Creek Plaza owners. The owners want to construct a three-building, 30,000-square-foot expansion. The shopping center is at E. 15th Street and S. Bryant Avenue. The center now measures 65,000 square feet.

Twenty-five new restaurants opened in the city in 2018, though most were not national chains. Citizens Bank of Edmond’s monthly Heard on Hurd has helped food truck operators see the demand for locally owned concepts in the city, so some truck owners are opening brick-and-mortar locations in or near Edmond.

“We’re seeing more original, locally owned restaurant concepts that I think people enjoy more (than chains),” she said.

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