Boulevard opening creates new development opportunitiesPublished: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 By: Cathy O'Connor Source: The Journal Record
Monday’s opening of the Oklahoma City Boulevard was the next step in the grand vision for the aesthetic and economic potential of Oklahoma City. The realignment of I-40, once a barrier to connections between downtown and the Oklahoma River, opened land and possibilities to grow in the area we now refer to as Core to Shore.
The central portion of the Oklahoma Boulevard is pedestrian and bike-friendly and moves traffic along landscaped points of access between Shields Avenue on the east and Walker Avenue on the west. It gives easy access to major attractions including Myriad Gardens, Scissortail Park, the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the new convention center and the new Omni Oklahoma City hotel.
Scissortail Park, the urban oasis opening next month, is developed on land that became available after the I-40 realignment. The park connects the core of downtown to the shore of the Oklahoma River with a great lawn, lake and an extensive network of sidewalks and trails.
Soon we will be turning our attention to development sites adjacent to the park on the south side of the Boulevard. A site with almost three acres of land and great potential for future development is the former Goodwill site, currently owned by the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust. With frontage on both the park and the new Boulevard, it is a very important development site.
Another future development site is just south of the new convention center and north of the relocated I-40 on the opposite side of Robinson from the park and Union Station. Owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, the site is currently home to construction trailers for the Omni hotel.
OCURA will be issuing RFPs for development these sites over the next year. The Core to Shore Reinvestment Area TIF district guidelines intend for the area to become a high-density, high-quality, mixed-use urban district. We will be looking for proposals that connect the Central Business District and Myriad Gardens south to Scissortail Park, and create opportunities for significant amounts of housing, office, and retail space.
This is an exciting time for our city. We have the opportunity to shape the future of the area through development that benefits our citizen’s investments and creates the thriving urban environment we envision.
Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
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