View Full Version : South Oklahoma City is on the grow



mranderson
07-14-2005, 11:16 AM
I-240 strip gets the business with chamber's help
By Ja'Rena Lunsford
The Oklahoman

It was the late '70s and Dee Downard was knocking on door after door, asking friends and residents for $5 here and $10 there to contribute to a building fund for the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.


Construction continues Wednesday on the 240 Penn Park Shopping Center, foreground, on Interstate 240 between Western and Pennsylvania avenues. Photo by Paul B. Southerland

The landscape is changing

Residential growth is booming in far south Oklahoma City, erasing pasture land that separated the city from other municipalities. The Southwest Showcase of Homes which starts Saturday for the first time will include homes in nearby Moore.

Decades later, Downard still is supporting the chamber and celebrating with the rest of south Oklahoma City as the agency commemorates 100 years. It's a milestone that doesn't surprise Downard.

"We are a community within itself," she said.

The South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce began in 1905 and was the city's first chamber. Known then as the Greater Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, the agency began its mission of enhancing the community by supporting various projects, such as the city's first airport, Southwest Medical Center which now has the Integris name and South Oklahoma City Junior College, now Oklahoma City Community College.

Elaine Lyons, the chamber's president and chief executive officer, said many people do not know how far both the chamber and the south side have come.

"People need to stop asking 'Why south Oklahoma City?' and start asking 'Why not south Oklahoma City?'" Lyons said.

Current and planned development along Interstate 240 are evidence that south Oklahoma City is once again on the rise, she said.

"It's filling in," Lyons said. "That's probably the most exciting part."

Current projects include a Starbucks, 240 Penn Park and a 65,000 square-foot YMCA the largest in the city at SW 119 and May Avenue.

Dwayne and Burk Collins, in conjunction with P.B. Odom III, are developing 240 Penn Park, a retail shopping center that will include a PETsMart, Pier 1 and a Sally's Beauty Supply. Odom's company also is adding 14,500 square feet to Chatenay Square Shopping Plaza, at SW 104 and Pennsylvania, and is now leasing for Palagio, a shopping center that will include a Marble Slab Creamery and an L.A. Weight Loss center.

Odom said businesses finally have realized that south Oklahoma City, complete with quality schools and residential development, is a profitable investment.

"What's driving this huge growth is the quality of life in south Oklahoma City," Odom said.

Lyons said the agency is preparing for another 100 years by building a stronger chamber and community.

Goals for the chamber and the south side include embracing the Hispanic community, landing a major bookstore, such as a Barnes & Noble or Borders, and building community leadership.

"We want to put Oklahoma City on the radar screen for businesses," she said. "We want to attract businesses and with that, we want to promote south Oklahoma City."

Dwayne Collins said south Oklahoma City is the fastest-growing part of the city, reason enough to develop in that area.

"It's a very hot spot, and it's going to be better," Collins said.

BDP
07-14-2005, 11:28 AM
Do other parts of the city have their own chamber of commerce or just the south side? Why does the south side have its own chamber?

mranderson
07-14-2005, 11:32 AM
Do other parts of the city have their own chamber of commerce or just the south side? Why does the south side have its own chamber?

It is really a social club and does not work hard to attract business. Why? Because when it was founded, South Oklahoma City was to be a seperate city.

fromdust
07-14-2005, 07:14 PM
i know south is doing well, but how is it compared to the north?

bmrsnr
07-14-2005, 07:44 PM
Interesting that you say they don't work hard to attract business. It would seem they're doing something right, or not having to work very hard at all to get it...

adaniel
07-15-2005, 12:39 AM
Agreed. For Moore/ SW OKC to get hit by 2 tornadoes, and not only gain back most of those displaced residents, but to grow at almost 3 times the national average, it must be doing something right.

But I do wonder if that area has any good paying jobs. Those houses aren't cheap over there. I watched the video report on newsok.com and it said most people either commute to Norman or OKC for their jobs. Does anyone know what the big employers are in that area?

mranderson
07-15-2005, 08:00 AM
Interesting that you say they don't work hard to attract business. It would seem they're doing something right, or not having to work very hard at all to get it...

I use to work at a place that joined the SOCCOC and I was ordered to do phone calls for the chamber. EVERY ONE of those calls were to promote fundraisers. NOT ONCE was any event held, including meetings, that was to plan ways to gain new business.

My dad was not only a member, but an officer of the SOCCOC in the 60's and 70's. He did not renew his membership because of the COC being a social club.

I can not name one single business that was brought here as a direct result of the COC. Yes. The southside is expanding, and doing so faster than I remember it ever doing so. However, I know enough about the COC to know it is not them.

floater
07-15-2005, 08:37 AM
The area sells itself -- that's why it's been successful. It has generous landscaping (at least south of 74th), high incomes, new housing developments, and good schools. OKC is keeping pace with the South Lakes Park and the anticipated YMCA.

But I am disappointed in the businesses. That 240 Penn Park will not be adding anything new (were people really going to the northside for Sally's Beauty Supply?) Nothing to make northsiders come down south. My only hope is that the quality of the development is attractive if not excellent.

And the location of some of the businesses along I-240 just does not seem right - Joe's Crab Shack on the edge of a shabby strip mall parking lot? - and right next to it a new standalone Starbucks? At least add some of the landscaping I mentioned earlier. It seems as if all the attention to detail and quality on the south side is concentrated on the far end. I-240 seems to be just another messy land grab.

So I bid good luck on the bookstore. I know they are targeting the former Wal-Mart site. Hopefully, it will be developed with much more care than the other two newcomers.

And here's hoping the Palagio does its name justice and brings in unique high-end services, retailers, and shops. We'll see what they bring in after Marble Slab.

mranderson
07-15-2005, 08:50 AM
Trust me. That parking lot in that strip center you call "shabby" is in better shape than most. Try dodging the cracks and potholes in the Office Depot lot.

The new strip center will have a minimum of one business new to the market... Marshall's. The only reason PetSmart, and Michael's are moving are so they can design their own space. PetSmart may want to open their doggie daycare center there, and Michael's in their current location is WAY to small. Mardel's is moving because their building is in the way of the new strip center. The other new business to the south side is Ross Dress for Less. (Lord. Another junk clothing retailer).

By the way. The YMCA is not "anticipated." It is under construction.

JOHNINSOKC
07-15-2005, 10:33 AM
Just imagine how much more growth would happen if something great would become of Crossroads Mall. If the mall took on the same direction that Penn Square and Quail Springs have, there would be more retail being built around the mall. It'll be interesting to see what the new interchange will do for growth around the mall area. As for new employers to the southside in the future, my bet is on America West.

floater
07-15-2005, 10:45 AM
Mranderson, thanks for some of the clarification. But Starbucks and Joe's do not fit well there, in my aesthetic opinion. So 240 Penn is still mostly a relocation of current businesses. The hope now is that it looks good. As for the YMCA, "anticipated" may have been a poor choice of words, but I meant no doubt. I took "anticipated" to mean "expect" (to open) which is something you do when it is under construction.

mranderson
07-15-2005, 11:03 AM
Mranderson, thanks for some of the clarification. But Starbucks and Joe's do not fit well there, in my aesthetic opinion. So 240 Penn is still mostly a relocation of current businesses. The hope now is that it looks good. As for the YMCA, "anticipated" may have been a poor choice of words, but I meant no doubt. I took "anticipated" to mean "expect" (to open) which is something you do when it is under construction.

I beg to differ. Joe's and Starbuck's both belong on 240. Although I will only patronise Starbucks to meet a yahoo woman there (Starbucks is WAY to expensive for a cup of coffee), there are a large number of people who like to waste money. Both businesses are in high profile locations. I-240 should also be for new businesses mainly with a small number of relocations.

Now, if you want to relocate a lot of businesses, SW 44 and SW 59 need a LOT of help.

soonerdm
07-15-2005, 01:55 PM
But Starbucks and Joe's do not fit well there
Not sure what that means but I am looking forward to it.

Jobs,
SW Medical Center
Airport
Rail Yard
Star Buildings
Budwieser Plant
Kimray

mranderson
07-15-2005, 01:58 PM
Not sure what that means but I am looking forward to it.

Jobs,
SW Medical Center
Airport
Rail Yard
Star Buildings
Budwieser Plant
Kimray

In addition: Tinker, GM, Dell, FAA... Just to name a small number of major southside employers.

floater
07-15-2005, 05:35 PM
Mranderson, I'm not saying they don't belong on I-240 (it doesn't say that anywhere in the post), I just don't like the way they fit into it's strip. If they were given some decent space and landscaping (as with Don Pablos, Schlotkzy's etc, on the other side, it would be much better.

Now I took another look today, and I have to say it's not all that bad. There is landscaping for Joe's, but ONLY for Joe's. It doesn't look organic to the rest of the block. Starbucks has some nice patio seating. I just wish there wasn't so much blacktop between the two. Maybe they could landscape the Starbucks frontage with a similar tree plot that Joe's has, at least to provide some continuity.

russellc
07-16-2005, 10:19 AM
I think another reason PetsMart and Burlington are moving from their penn location is because of things like Starbucks, Joe's, Weokie Credit Union, and numerous other businesses being built infront of the strip mall, in the middle of the parking lot, blocking their view from the interstate. Floater is right, they should be built somewhere else.

mranderson
07-16-2005, 12:11 PM
What would businesses building on pad sites in front of a strip center have to do with a buisnesses decision to relocate? There have been businesses on pad sites LONG before Burlinton and PetSmart located in that strip center.

soonerdm
07-16-2005, 04:58 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong but are there not businesses in front of busniesses along the NW Expressway (far west) and also Memorial?

mranderson
07-16-2005, 05:36 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong but are there not businesses in front of busniesses along the NW Expressway (far west) and also Memorial?

OK. I will correct you. There are a lot of businesses that fit your discription in those areas.

jbrown84
07-16-2005, 07:33 PM
I agree on Joe's Crab Shack. It seem's like the kind of restaurant that's usually in a little more upscale location, such as the one on NW Highway next to the lake--somewhere that's not in front of a grocery store and right next to an ugly bank building that casts a shadow on it most of the day. Just my opinion.

JOHNINSOKC
07-17-2005, 10:27 AM
A perfect example of pad sites in front of a shopping center is Rockwell Plaza on N.W. Expressway. There are MANY across the metro; too many to mention on this post. It's a good way to build retail density.

russellc
07-17-2005, 07:55 PM
I know they have had pad sites infront of strip malls, but if you had a choice between a strip mall hidden from highway view, or one with good visibility, which would you choose?

Jay
07-17-2005, 09:58 PM
I think what would really help 240 is to bulldoze the apartment complexes that run from the new Party Galaxy store to the 7-11 next to Eskridge. Then build more restaurants and maybe another power center or even a couple nice hotels.

Those apartments are full of nothing but riff-raff. You might be displacing a few elderly and a few disabled people. I know concord is mostly a special needs housing complex. Those people could be provided with relocation assitance.

Not to mention the whole is stretch is an eyesore. All four complexes are old run down and have hardly any landscaping or greenspace. You see more asphalt and buildings than you do trees or grass.

mranderson
07-18-2005, 10:26 AM
I think what would really help 240 is to bulldoze the apartment complexes that run from the new Party Galaxy store to the 7-11 next to Eskridge. Then build more restaurants and maybe another power center or even a couple nice hotels.

Those apartments are full of nothing but riff-raff. You might be displacing a few elderly and a few disabled people. I know concord is mostly a special needs housing complex. Those people could be provided with relocation assitance.

Not to mention the whole is stretch is an eyesore. All four complexes are old run down and have hardly any landscaping or greenspace. You see more asphalt and buildings than you do trees or grass.

The problem with the complexes is the company that owns them. They are slum lords. They take nice properties and run them down.

The "Gardens" were built in the mid 60's as high end apartments. They were in that category through the 70's and into the 80's. The man who built them is the same man who built Brookwood Village, C.A.(I think that is the middle initial) Henderson. Henderson properties built most of the far southwest side until Mr. Henderson was forced to sell his business. The new company sold "The Gardens" to the current owners, who let them run down.

No. They do not need to be demolished. They need to be sold to a company that cares and refurbished.

TheHill
07-19-2005, 07:40 PM
Interesting, a disussion about South OKC and the role of SOKCC and "Economic Development". I have been reading this site (OKC pulse) for a while, most of the dicussion involving "Economic Development" is usually about areas North of the Oklahoma River, including areas in the inner urban, i.e. N.W. 10th, N.W. 16th, Plaza District... Now this post revovles around SOKCC and "Economic Development" on 240/S. Penn. GREAT, the Odom's probably were interested with or without the SOKCC. The shuffling around of properties does not concern me. What does concern me is S. 44th and S. 59th corridors. The new YMCA mentioned in far South OKC caused the Ymca located at S. Penn and 52nd across from Grant High School (Maps project). Hum, Parks-how many know "Woodson Park" at S. May and 33rd is one of the three largest urban Parks, it's virtually ignored. (shame) Bookstore, we do read in the urban South and far South OKC. I read on this site the far North opened a third bookstore, hum. I will end with reference to S. 44th corridor study has been meeting since November '04. The stakeholders include OKC Planning dept., Integris, SOKCC, Integris, Hispanic Chamber, Councilmembers, State officials and interested neighborhoods. If after reading this post you are interested in participating in the S. 44th corridor study, hopefully by bringing "Economic Development" back to the inner-city, contact the OKC Planning department.