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Midtown group receives award for revitalization

Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Fleming receive the 2014 Urban Pioneer Award

Ben Felder June 4th, 2014

Five years of risk, vision and rolled-up sleeves have brought lofts, hotels, restaurants and office space to a Midtown neighborhood once considered lost.

Bob Howard speaks June 4 after receiving the Urban Pioneer Award.
Photo by Mark Hancock

“The next five years are going to be much more noticeable than the last five years,” Bob Howard said confidently at Wednesday's 2014 Urban Pioneer Awards Luncheon. “I don’t see the [development] stopping.”

Howard’s firm, Midtown Renaissance, was honored with this year’s Urban Pioneer award in recognition of its dozens of development projects completed and underway in the Midtown area on the north side of downtown Oklahoma City.

Hosted by the Plaza District — another urban revitalization success story — the awards luncheon brought together the movers and shakers of the urban renewal movement that has helped transform various neighborhoods across the heart of the city.

Midtown Renaissance has completed eight residential complexes and at least seven office and mixed-use buildings over the past several years.

“I think that it’s important that [Midtown Renaissance] be recognized as urban pioneers, but I think more appropriately, they should be called successful pioneers,” Marke Funke, president of Southwest Bancorp Inc., said in his remarks to introduce Howard at the luncheon. “There have been a lot of people who have attempted to do things like this in the past, and they haven’t been successful. These guys have been.”

In addition to honoring Midtown, the luncheon was also a chance for development leaders and supporters to celebrate the growth of other communities, such as the Plaza District northwest of downtown.

“Our districts are quite different,” said Kristen Vails, executive director of the Plaza District Association. “But Midtown is an inspiration and contributor to the progress of the Plaza District.”

To read more about Midtown Renaissance please visit

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