Miles from Airport Road and the side of Will Rogers World Airport most travelers see, workers have begun laying pipe for a series of utility projects that will pave the way for future development on the airport's east side.
After the utility work, crews will relocate Portland Avenue, which will ready the area for the presence of new businesses: aerospace, non-aerospace and retail. Airports Director Mark Kranenburg said the development, which officials have been planning for three years, will focus on aviation.
“Oklahoma already has a very rich aerospace heritage and we wanted to build on that and try to get Will Rogers World Airport to be known as an aviation center,” he said. "What you see out there today is really the first step.”
Two water main projects along Portland Avenue — from SW 104 to SW 74 and from SW 74 to SW 59 — are being completed by the city of Oklahoma City utilities department at a cost of $8.7 million.
Construction of the new Portland Avenue is expected to be complete by the end of summer 2014. The new Portland Avenue will be four-lanes with a median, landscaping and esplanade lighting. Six million dollars from the city's 2007 bond package was earmarked to relocate Portland Avenue and the airport trust is funding the engineering and design.
When the infrastructure is complete, the airport will have 600 to 700 leasable acres.
Area designated for project
The airport owns more than 8,000 acres and designated 1,000 acres for development, portions of which were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for nonaviation use. The current focus of development is between SW 89 and SW 54, bordered by Interstate 44 on the east and the airport's taxiways on the west.
Planners have divided the swath of land into a section abutting the interstate for retail, industrial and office space, a larger piece for direct aviation companies needing runway access and a middle section for indirect aviation business, such as freight transportation or other complimentary businesses, Kranenburg said.
Lariat Landing, the retail portion, could include restaurants, hotels, banking services, dry cleaners or other businesses that would appeal to airport employees and customers, Kranenburg said. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has begun marketing Lariat Landing to potential tenants.
Development of the area will be bound by certain restrictions set by the FAA, such as height requirements and leasing rates.
“Developing on airport dirt is quite different from developing on non-airport dirt,” Kranenburg explains.
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For more information about Will Rogers World Airport's development plan, visit www.flyokc.com.