Major league city? Well, yes, by definition, Oklahoma City can wear the label legitimately, thanks to the Thunder and the NBA.
But “big league” city informally? As in “the most prestigious level of accomplishment”? Sorry, but no, not yet, when it comes to commercial real estate investment.
The tipping point could be under way, though.
The Thunder's appearance in the playoffs is getting “O-K-C! O-K-C!” just the kind of attention the city deserves for all of its other success stories.
Specifically, the Thunder could get Oklahoma City more than the usual slightest mention in the widely watched annual “Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” published by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Emerging Trends” is based on data as well as the perceptions of some 900 movers and shakers in property investment across the country. Playing co-host with Miami for the NBA Finals this week and next — after Dallas, Los Angeles and San Antonio, in turn — will make a genuine difference in how Oklahoma is perceived.
Having one of the healthiest single-family housing markets in the country didn't do it — not even during the most painful throes of the late housing bust, credit freeze and the Great Recession.
Having an enviable office market didn't do it — even when so much of the rest of the country's big office markets were hurting.
Having money seem to fall out of the sky looking for apartment properties when multifamily investors on the coasts found themselves wheezing — nope, it was no big deal to the people behind the big desks on those same coasts and other big power markets.
Not even Devon Energy Corp.'s dazzling tower, which crept up its 50 stories the past few years when construction everywhere in every property sector was down, down, down — not even Devon could do it.
This year's “Emerging Trends” had all of this to say: “Oklahoma City quietly benefits from energy sector performance.” That is almost damning with faint praise.