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Over the next 21 days planners will be submitting big ideas about what to do next in the Innovation District east of downtown.

The district includes the State Capitol grounds and OU Medical Center on NE 13th St. (See map below)

The Innovation District was created earlier this year after extensive research by the Brookings Institution and discussions with key stakeholders.

The October 2016 opening of the $125 million GE Global Oil & Gas Research Center at 300 NE Ninth Street created the latest buzz about the area.

Next phase

Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority approved issuing RFPs (requests for proposals) in their regular monthly meeting Wednesday.

The authority is seeking big ideas for how to develop the whole district.

Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City under President Cathy O’Connor contracts with the authority to provide professional staff services. O’Connor serves as executive director of the authority.

Over the next 21 days that staff will be issuing RFPs, evaluating the responses and developing contracts with one or more of the planners for future services.

After legal staff evaluates the contracts, they will be presented to the authority trustees for approval.

Integration sought

Planners will be asked to develop ideas for more mixed use than can be found in the district at the present and to integrate that into the existing institutions and residences there.

The Capitol has its own sphere of activities but has little to do with the surrounding neighborhoods.

And, the various research institutions that orbit the Health Sciences center including the OU Medical School on NE 13th Street are mostly uninvolved with neighborhoods next door.

The language of the resolution adopted Wednesday calls for a plan in the form of a single document that would lead to integrating the many aspects of the district.

According to supporting language to the resolution,

Such a document could lead to a design framework and development code for the area that can be applied seamlessly throughout the areas controlled by the City’s zoning districts and the Capitol-Medical Zoning district that includes form-based classifications and design standards.

These items are key to the kind of physical environment that promotes the collaboration and coordination required for the Innovation District to flourish and fulfill its full economic and social potential.

Background

The district is one of the oldest areas of the city.

The southern part of the district was the center of Oklahoma City’s once segregated black population and still draws a unique set of strong feelings from current black OKC residents.

The northern part of the district around the Capitol was once an active oil field before and during Capitol building construction.

The unique layers of development and redevelopment over the years will pose a complex set of challenges for planners as they seek to create a unified plan.

Map of Innovation district

 

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