Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More good news for downtown OKC.

Yesterday rumors began to circulate the likes of Facebook and Twitter that OPUBCO will be relocating its HQ from its current location on the Broadway Extension back to downtown later this year. While another company moving downtown is excellent news in and of itself the even better news is that OPUBCO will be renovating the eyesore that is Century Center Plaza. Century Center was part of a (failed) urban renewal attempt at a downtown retail/office center decades ago and has sat unoccupied for years.

The property sits on a prime corner of downtown core business district property -- especially now that Devon Energy Center has revitalized this portion of the area. However, its rather boring and aged exterior has dissuaded many would-be tenants from making use of the great location. As you can see in the map below, it takes up a sizeable chunk of the block bounded by Robinson Ave. on the west, Main St. on the north, and Sheridan on the south.

That is all now about to change with Monday's article posted on NewsOK (found here) detailing that OPUBCO will be moving its 350 employees into a renovated Century Center. Here is the rendering of the updated exterior that was posted along with the article:

The new design calls for a completely redesigned glass facade -- removing the decades old concrete that has made downtown'ers shake their heads for years. In addition, two more levels of parking will be added on top of the current parking garage helping alleviate concerns over downtown parking availability. Plans also call for a large video board on the southwest corner as well as a headline restaurant just below with street access.

For sure this is great news not only for OPUBCO employees, but for the continued growth of downtown OKC as well. The building, once renovated, will have the potential to house 500 employees which is approximately the number Continental Resources currently houses in its headquarters downtown. So we aren't talking about small potatoes here. This move will mean even more substantial traffic in the CBD and surely new development in response won't be far behind.

Side note: I'm hearing rumors that OG&E and Continental Resources will both be announcing new HQ construction downtown in the near future.