Downtown digs

The study, commissioned in January 2011, was to be presented to the Oklahoma City Council at its Sept. 27 meeting, but when the meeting began to run long, the presentation was delayed until the Oct. 11 meeting.

“It’s a very profound study and one that merits the full attention of the council,” said Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee.

Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and the city contracted with Development Concepts Inc. to complete the study. It examined the housing market potential, the financial gaps for housing development and strategies to encourage new housing development in downtown.

The study found there is growing demand for downtown housing and a strong demand for rental housing rather than “for sale” housing. Around 60 percent of those surveyed in the study said they would rather rent than buy housing downtown, according to the study.

Download a Microsoft Word document containing a summary of the study's findings.

Those interested in renting a home downtown were usually less than 35 years old and made less than $100,000, the study found.

The study also found that downtown rental units have 55 percent to 67 percent higher rent than the rest of the Oklahoma City metro market.

While demand for purchasable housing downtown was weak, those who were willing to buy a home downtown were usually more than 35 years old and made more than $100,000, according to the study.

However, the study also found gaps existed between what the market would pay for downtown housing development and the cost of developing downtown housing. DCI also made five recommendations in the study: to have a proactive downtown program that would meet the demand for rental properties; determine the best areas to develop in the short term; find options to overcome the gaps between development cost and what the market would pay; identify infrastructure needs; and come up with clear program objectives and a single point of contact for developers, the study states.

In a survey of Oklahoma City residents, DCI determined the most popular places in downtown were also the places people would like to live. Of those surveyed, 58 percent said they would like to live in the Arts District, 57 percent said Bricktown, 55 percent said Midtown, 42 percent said Automobile Alley and 36 percent Core to Shore, the study shows.

More than 1,000 multi-family housing units have been added downtown between 2000 and 2010, the study states, and 80 percent of those were built between 2006 and 2010.

As of July, the report states, seven new housing projects are either proposed or under construction in the downtown area, meaning that 931 additional rental units and 18 for sale units will be available.

A full-time grocery/drugstore was the top amenity requested by those interested in living downtown, according to the report.

Photo by Mark Hancock