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OKC Central: Millenials seek downtown lifestyle

A generation that grew up watching “Friends” and “Seinfeld” is increasingly attracted to living, working and playing in downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: September 11, 2012

Is Karl Francel the future of downtown Oklahoma City?

The 22-year-old was a lifelong suburbanite who grew up in Piedmont and then left home to pursue a biology degree at Stanford University.

When Francel graduated, he faced the typical temptation of joining friends who made their homes in San Francisco and other big cities. And two decades ago, this story would end with Francel joining the state's “brain drain.”

Francel, however, is part of a growing percentage of Millennials who are returning to Oklahoma City — but not quite back home. Instead, Francel, long fascinated by the rebirth of downtown Oklahoma City, chose to set up his new home at the Level Urban Apartments in Deep Deuce. It is there that Francel also is starting up his new business, Olympic Prep, which provides ACT test tutoring for high school students.

The Level apartments are the newest addition to downtown's growing residential offerings, and to Francel, it's the perfect transition from college where “everyone seems to be 28.” Francel is quickly making new friends and acquaintances in the complex's courtyard, and is among the hundreds of area residents eager to see the Native Roots grocery at his corner opening this fall.

The attractions for Francel and his generation continue to stack up with the addition of a Spokies bike-share station outside the future Native Roots and plans for a streetcar system that someday will connect Deep Deuce with Bricktown, Automobile Alley, the Central Business District and MidTown.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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