Downtown development plans are being spurred on as city officials look to create the city’s first-ever tax increment financing district which may bring up to $530 million in development over the next two decades.“I want people here all times of the day,” said Chris Anderson, a principal developer with the downtown Edmond based Grant Group.
Projects near Stephenson Park are underway and Anderson is lining up tenants to expand the Railyard District. While developer Matt Myers has proposed The Lark, a new cottage style living area west of the railroad tracks near the former Dolese concrete plant. “Rooftops in downtown, more than anything else, will be the catalyst for a massive leap forward,” Myers said.
City officials are even lowering the speed limit and stopping right turns on red to make downtown more accessible to pedestrians. This comes years after multiple people have been struck by vehicles in crosswalks.
“We have to learn that we are in an urban environment,” said Councilman David Chapman. “If you build it they will come.”
Local businesses that were affected by the coronavirus are seeing a return in consumer spending after adapting to changes, including Urban Agrarian which saw an increase in sales over but owner Chelsey Simpson is hoping the community continues shopping downtown.
“We have a desire to serve downtown Edmond,” Simpson said. Sales doubled during the first two months of the coronavirus.
Changes to the downtown landscape have been brought about with the Grant Group introducing the more than 20,000-square-foot Edmond Railyard. That was the first phase as they look to expand.
“We are filling up our spaces with everything,” Anderson said. “It is time for some nice sitdown restaurants in downtown Edmond too.”
JC Swanson’s Fireplace and Patio Shop. He is also wanting an activity-based retailer such as a cycle bar or yoga studio in a portion of the building.
However, there will be no garages for storing tools, bikes and other clutter, Myers said.
“People are hungry for relationships,” Myers said. “We duplicate resources all the time and sharing is what a community is about.”
Currently, the TIF is budgeted at $55 million and will either terminate once the funds are gone or the 20-year period. The area covered under the TIF extends from Thatcher to 9th Street, then roughly between Fretz Avenue and then University/Boulevard.
Fifth Street Area
selected. Improvements to Fourth Street may occur at the same depending on if the same contracting is selected. He hopes to have the Stephenson Park open in the summer of 2021.
The Littler and Ayers Link
Ayers will be narrowed to two lanes allowing for an entire lane of bike traffic in both directions. This link will allow a more pedestrian and bike-friendly community between the University of Central Oklahoma and the downtown area, Chapman said.