Urban Land Institute, businesses, city aim to revamp I-240 in south Oklahoma City
An Urban Land Institute grant has the Oklahoma City Planning Department and Southside Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce investigating interest in a systematic revitalization of the Interstate 240 retail corridor.
South Oklahoma City — the Interstate 240 retail corridor — shall rise again.
That's the hope and aim of Envision 240, a project by Urban Land Institute Oklahoma, the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma City Planning Department.
To read the Urban Land Institute publication “Ten Principles for Reinventing America's Suburban Strips, go to http://tinyurl.com/10
It started with interviews of I-240 “stakeholders” — business people, property owners, investors and residents — paid for by an $18,000 grant from ULI national.
A report out next month will leave the next step in the hands of those with an interest in seeing I-240 return to its glory days, generally regarded as 20 years ago, when it was a thriving connector between Will Rogers World Airport to the west and Tinker Air Force Base to the east.
Not that the highway is blighted. A big retail “power center,” 240 Penn Park, developed in 2004-2006, actually is a bright spot on the north side of the interstate near S Pennsylvania Avenue. But the road has seen better days, especially the 4½-mile mostly developed suburban stretch between I-44 and I-35, according to city planning specialists.
Shabby, not chic
The pockets of shuttered stores and creeping shabbiness are especially noticeable, property specialists said, compared with shiny destinations such as Town Center Plaza, a decade-plus long redevelopment of SE 29 east from S Air Depot Boulevard in Midwest City 10 miles northeast, and the Shops at Moore, developed in 2006-2008 along I-35 just to the south in Moore.
But first, those who would revitalize I-240 have to get the attention of those who are uninterested, said Leslie Batchelor, chairman of ULI Oklahoma.
Initial responses were “not as enthusiastic as we'd hoped,” she said Tuesday at a meeting to explain Envision 240 at the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
Gaining the interest of residents along the corridor, which Envision 240 defines as from SW/SE 68 south to SW/SE 79 and from I-44 east to I-35, will be important to successful revitalization, said Tom Eitler, vice president of ULI Advisory Services.
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