View Full Version : New life to Stockyards City

07-06-2005, 12:54 PM
This article spells out the future vision for this area. The proposed Marketplace sounds impressive.

"Fresh Start

by Jerry Shottenkirk
The Journal Record

Stockyards City has a new emblem, new businesses, and mostly importantly, new life. Stockyards City Main Street, a sanctioned program on the National Register of Historic Places, has been the driving force behind a face lift of the area that's been around for nearly 100 years. The Main Street program represents about 75 merchants in the district.

Stockyards City will get one of the first docks on the Oklahoma River development project. The project will include water taxis that will make it from Meridian Avenue to the west and to Bricktown to the east.

There are five phases to go in the area's six-phase redevelopment, which will be the first commercial real estate addition in 98 years, said Amy Gardner, executive director of Stockyards City Main Street.

Phase I is the beginning of Stockyards City MarketPlace, which is on Exchange, just west of Agnew and near the Oklahoma National Stockyards. The first improvement came in the form of Los Dos Amigos, a 4,500-square-foot Mexican restaurant and banquet area, which opened in May. The first of the six buildings in the Stockyards-owned center cost about $750,000, including the parking lot.

Maria and Javier Ruiz own Los Dos Amigos.

"They had Los Del Amigos in Purcell and Norman and decided to close the one in Purcell after 14 years so they could build this," Gardner said.

It's a great start for the MarketPlace, Gardner said.

"When it's all said and done, all six buildings will total between $2 (million) -3 million," she said.

That's just part of the reason for optimism in the area.

"Several riverfront trustees have said this is a perfect stop," she said. "They've done studies in the country that indicate the No. 1 thing people want to see is New York City, the second is Mickey Mouse, and the third is the Best of the West and all about the Old West. It's not a bad spot to be in. When the city tax was approved and increased to make Oklahoma the horseshow capital of the nation, it was an exciting time for us."

Main Street will unveil new signs in the area, a new flag, a revised walking tour brochure and a new billboard. New interstate exit signs for Stockyards City have recently been erected.

Matt Brown of Red Rock Distribution is president of Main Street and will soon yield his chair to new president Dick Stubbs of Cattlemen's Steakhouse.

"This has been a year of organization," Brown said. "There have been new businesses coming in and we've been getting long-range plans together."

Brown said Stockyards City has improved in many ways.

"It's not just a retail district," Brown said. "A lot of people think of it as that, but we have a lot of professional services as well, such as an attorney, CPA, several vets and a doctor."

The face has changed in the century since it was formed.

"When my grandfather was here working in the Stockyards, he said it was scary at times; just a pretty rough area," Brown said. "Now, through efforts of the Main Street program and businesses here, we've been able to clean things up and make it much more secure and friendly to visitors. That's probably been our biggest accomplishment over the last 10 years, having businesses responsible for storefronts, getting litter off the streets, getting people such as panhandlers off corners. We've worked closely with the Oklahoma City Police Department on the issue, and they've helped a great deal."

Brown said the numbers have been improving in the area.

"On any given weekend, we'll get 2,000-3,000 visitors to the area, up to 6,000 for special events," he said.

Cattlemen's, the longtime retail magnet of the area, has taken surveys of its customers and has found that 70 percent come from outside the five-county area.

Another improvement is a new entryway for cattle trucks into Stockyards City.

Brown said the rerouting of Interstate 40 will have some affect on the Stockyards area, mostly positive. May Avenue will no longer be an exit, and Penn will be closed for a period. Agnew will be the gateway to the south of I-40 and east of I-44."

07-07-2005, 11:08 AM
Good stuff. However, to my knowledge, the riverfront projects are not funded at this time, so mcuh of it is in the dream stage. I think a lot will depend on the success of the marketplace. However, there is a lot going on down there and is worth a visit for those interested.