The growth engine of south Oklahoma City — the south side of the metro area in general — for the next 20 years is obvious in some ways.
It’s the area south of Interstate 40 to the South Canadian River, between Interstate 44 on the west and Interstate 35 on the east, which might sound familiar.
“That’s where it was 20 years ago, that’s where it is now, and that’s where it will be 20 years from now — but in 20 years, there won’t be any land left,” said P.B. Odom III, whose family has been in the land-developing business on the south side since 1935.
Odom has done his part to fill the land the past 25 years with Rivendell, his flagship housing addition. Rivendell is in its 13th of 18 planned phases.
With later phases emphasizing upper-end homes that generally take longer to absorb — now in the range of $700,000 to $800,000 — Rivendell could be wrapping up not long before 2033, he said.
P.B. Odom III Construction Co. also has three other housing additions, Rockport, Talavera and upscale Chatenay, as well as two shopping centers, Chatenay Square and Palagio, among other interests in south Oklahoma City.
But Odom is quick to point to two other southside anchors, one established but in need of work, and one still in the works.
Interstate 240 is the one needing work — and the city, urban planners and property owners are working on it with a project called Envision 240. Consultants are suggesting a business improvement district or tax increment financing district to help property owners work together and to pay for structural improvements meant to support the following goals:
•“Re-tenant the area’s viable big- and mid-box stores. Large vacant spaces don’t leave a good impression on residents or potential new tenants. Plus, they aren’t generating income for the building owner to make improvements or repairs.”
•“Reinvest in the area’s best retail centers and nodes. The currently good nodes are a worthy investment to attract shoppers and businesses. The depressed and less productive centers can be candidates for revitalization investment — but only if the surrounding areas keep up a good backdrop.”
•“Redevelop outmoded retail for other uses, such as employment center civic and cultural amenities, residential and/or mixed-use centers. What goes on inside a building will change over time; what worked 10 years ago may not work today. Shopping mall conversions are taking place all over the country, generating new investment and creating new activity centers in what were once underutilized and blighted spaces.”