Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

TIF District Proposed to Support Devon Tower in OKC

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

TIF District Proposed to Support Devon Tower in OKC

Article excerpt

Devon Energy Corp.'s preconditions for building its skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City - $175 million in infrastructure, parks and streetscaping projects - were enthusiastically accepted by City Council members Tuesday.

Devon Chief Executive Larry Nichols told the council his company expects the city to provide public improvements to create an appropriate environment for a world headquarters. The company plans to build more than 1 million square feet of space on the northeast corner of Sheridan and Hudson avenues, just north of Myriad Gardens.

"It is not, in many ways, a logical place to put a building of this size," Nichols said. "We do have people inside Devon and people in Houston that think a corporate headquarters of this size and magnitude in our industry is more appropriate to be located, quite frankly, in Houston.

"But that's a problem we can fix," he said. "We have imposed two conditions on our ability to build this building. And that is both to fix up the neighborhood and help bring other businesses into Oklahoma City."

To that end, city staff has proposed the creation of a tax increment finance (TIF) district to support $175 million in projects. A TIF district is designed to set aside a small portion of growing property or sales taxes from a predetermined area and dedicate those funds to pay for public improvements - in the case of Devon, those improvements are projects in the so-called core-to- shore redevelopment between downtown and the relocated Interstate 40 Crosstown at the Oklahoma River's edge, which the Devon tower would overlook.

"Before we get to the shore, we need to fix up the core," Nichols said.

Assistant City Manager Cathy O'Connor said a TIF district is the only tool available to generate adequate revenues to support Devon's preconditions. The district, the eighth created in the city, would last 25 years and tap into ad valorem and construction sales tax revenues. And it would be composed only of the Devon property, already within an existing TIF district. …

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