Q&A with Mark Beffort: bold innovation district development 'needs to happen'

Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 By: Chamber Staff
developer to take this on.

Both Gardner Tanenbaum and Robinson Park Investments have national reach and the experience to make this a success. The first key to any development is that it is a marketable project and this definitely meets those qualifications. Then you need capital and expertise. We will bring a local flavor to this that I think is so important, differentiating this from other innovation districts around the country. On the capital side, we have made large commitments to get this done, but we know there are others in the market who want to be involved and be a part of this and we are happy to include them as well. Add to that the community investment that is part of the MAPS 4 program, and I think this will be something we are all proud of when it is finished.

What do you anticipate the tenant mix will be for these spaces?

We are really targeting advanced manufacturing, aerospace and bio-related businesses. We do know that Wheeler Labs will be our first tenant and we are moving ahead with others. The development will have a hotel, a mix of retail and of course the public spaces, including Innovation Hall.

We also are hopeful to attract an incubator. We really think the combination of this development and the environment Oklahoma City offers to residents and businesses, we can be a place where companies can attract the best employees and produce high quality products at a lower cost.

What is in the first phase?

We would begin with the first building, which includes underground parking for the full development, the hotel and the public realm, hopefully including Innovation Hall.

When are we going to see this vision become a reality?

We are actively working with potential tenants and believe we will be 60% leased on the first building by the end of May. We are then looking at breaking ground in December. To reach that goal, we have a lot of work going on right now with design and pre-development underway so we can be ready for that launch. We would then be ready in 24 months.

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