- Kenton Tsoodle
TIF districts incentivize new projects around Scissortail Park
The area around Scissortail Park has been the subject of a great deal of conversation about economic development potential in the past 10 years. Steps in the coming year will be important in our continued realization of its extraordinary potential.
The area is currently underdeveloped with vacant properties owned by a combination of homeowners, private investors, developers and the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority. Among barriers to development are infrastructure improvements needed. The water, sewer, storm sewer and roadway systems are inadequate for the dense development required in the project plans adopted by the city. The improvements to these systems are estimated at over $16 million.
The City Council recently approved $16 million in TIF financing for the Strawberry Fields development. The $1.5 billion development includes a five-story office building, retail and restaurant space, 10 condominium units and a residential development, spanning from Shartel Avenue to Hudson Avenue and between Oklahoma City Boulevard and Seventh Street. The development will change the landscape west of the upper park, zoned as Downtown Transitional District for mixed-use residential, retail, commercial and industrial.
TIF 2, one of the TIFs created in 2000 to promote redevelopment in and around downtown, is expiring at the end of 2026. As a TIF nears its expiration date, it becomes less effective at luring new developers who are looking for a longer-term commitment. We plan to use the remaining funds in TIF 2 and put the money into TIF 13 that covers the Core to Shore area south of downtown, and a new, unnamed TIF to support the area around the park.
This new TIF will help resolve the infrastructure needs, seed new residential to become more a dense development and kick-start other projects. We are working with several other developers who are seriously considering projects in the area and for all of them, the TIF will be a significant factor in their decision.
Pat Salame started Strawberry Fields with the purchase of a single home south of downtown before expanding it into one of the largest single land plays in the city’s urban core. The area, ignored by most Oklahoma City residents for decades, is now poised to become beautiful mixed-use urban living in the heart of Oklahoma City.