We will create development-ready sites with access to infrastructure in strategic areas.
An adequate and ongoing supply of immediately developable land provides the ability to respond nimbly to economic opportunities. Meeting the recommendation of the Employment Land Needs Assessment and Action Plan for maintaining a constant inventory of 1,000 acres of development-ready land involves a two-part strategy that:

  • Protects land appropriate for major employment development from short-term encroachment by other uses.
  • Extends services and infrastructure to this land so that major employers can build with minimum delay.

The Employment (EM) LUTA is specifically designed to preserve the integrity of land best suited for large-scale employment growth. Through the development approval process, the City can avoid compromising these sites by approving uses that will prove incompatible with future major employment centers. This may require creation of public or community-based development groups with the patience and ability to hold large assemblages of land for industrial, business park, or office headquarters uses.

The other leg of the strategy involves preparing this land for timely development by financing and installing (or being immediately prepared to install) infrastructure. Accomplishing this will require mobilization of existing agencies such as the Urban Renewal Authority, the Oklahoma Industries Authority, and the Oklahoma City Industrial and Cultural Facilities Trust. It will also require establishing a reliable and repeatable method of funding capital investments that may include tax increment financing, general obligation limited tax bonds, and other public sources.

We will continue to provide incentives to major employers, targeted to specific industry clusters and locations. The City will continue to provide direct financial incentives to attract and retain major employers. These incentives should be targeted to:

  • Industrial and employer clusters whose requirements are matched to our attributes and who move in the direction of greater economic diversification. These natural affinities for Oklahoma City include aerospace, aviation, defense, bio-science and other high-technology industries, renewable energy, new-to-market company headquarters, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Sites where major community investments have been made in land, infrastructure, amenities, and other capital improvements; major redevelopment areas; or other desirable sites where these facilities are already available.

We will update public incentive programs to provide maximum leverage per dollar spent. The City provides incentives to businesses through its Strategic Investment Program. This incentive structure will be reviewed and optimized to provide the greatest community benefit and return on investment. This update should include specific evaluation criteria and objective measures of benefit. Preferred investments should move in the direction of private, front-end investment with incentive reimbursement tied to meeting performance criteria such as job creation and greater retail activity.

We will support locally-owned businesses and existing assets. Locally-owned businesses can have greater multiplier effects on the local economy than similar businesses that are non-local. This includes even the smallest businesses, such as home businesses, mobile food vendors, pop-up retail or vendors at farmer’s markets. The City can support locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurs through favorable tax policies, flexible regulations, and partnerships with local educational institutions to support business incubators and other programs that encourage business start-ups. We must also look carefully at measures that level the playing field among retail entities and allow local retailers to compete on at least an equal footing with on-line and out-of-city competitors.