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.”
Envision 240 still is fostering connections among property owners and I-240 stakeholders to find common ground and to determine exactly how to go forward.
The one still in the works is east of Will Rogers World Airport, where 1,000 acres of airport trust land is under long-term development between SW 54 and SW 89 on the west side of I-44.
Retail, industrial and office space will be developed next to the interstate; to the west will be for businesses not directly related to aviation such as freight hauling; and nearer the airport the property will be devoted to aviation companies needing runway access.
Lariat Landing, the retail section, is being marketed to eateries, hotels, banking and other services.
However, the airport property probably will be dominated by industrial development, said Randy Lacey, industrial property broker with Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort.
In fact, the success of two aviation-related industrial businesses — ARINC Aerospace and Atlantic Aviation — is regarded as a catalyst for developing the area.
ARINC, an aircraft modifications company based in Annapolis, Md., opened its first hangar at Will Rogers in 2005, added a second hangar in 2012, and started 2013 in expansion mode. Fixed-base operator Atlantic Aviation, based in Plano, Texas, also opened last year.
Over the next 20 years, office development along I-35, north and south, will probably be built out, said Ford Price of Price Edwards & Co.
As for retail, broker Mark Inman, of CB Richard Ellis-Oklahoma, pointed to several retail engines that will rev up the next two decades on the south side, including Norman’s University Town Center, with its “critical mass of power retail” and the stability of the University of Oklahoma, Main Street in Norman.
Inman said also to watch SW 44 and Western.
“Although the area is not of high incomes, it is densely populated with an active population, anchored by a major regional hospital, an active Target and active Sears store. Further, there is land availability in the area for new development,” he said. “Redevelopment might not be of high-end retail, but we expect development to occur that will serve the population.”