Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Officials: Market Will Determine Effects of OKC's Project 180 on Property Values

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Officials: Market Will Determine Effects of OKC's Project 180 on Property Values

Article excerpt

Downtown Oklahoma City's Project 180 streetscaping will likely have an effect on property values throughout the district, but that's for the market to determine, not county assessors to presume, officials said.

The $160 million face-lift, comprised of about 180 acres of streets, light fixtures, trees, benches, signs and sidewalks - everything from building front to building front - is funded via a tax increment finance district around the construction of the Devon Energy corporate tower at Hudson and Sheridan avenues. Work has been divided into smaller packages and is expected to be completed over the next three years. The repaving of Reno Avenue, for example, which passes south of the Myriad Botanical Gardens park, is already complete, while nothing has been started yet on E.K. Gaylord Avenue near Bricktown.

The TIF district was part of a deal City Hall made with Devon executives before work on the skyscraper began. A TIF taps into expected future gains in taxes to finance current improvements so that a project can be developed. City Hall officials have repeatedly referred to Devon as a good corporate citizen for supporting infrastructure improvements. They also expect that the beautification will have a positive effect on economic development throughout the area.

County Assessor Leonard Sullivan said that when it's time to reassess properties downtown for the tax rolls, his staff will be effectively blind to the streetscaping around a building. New sidewalks and other amenities may look pretty; they might even help convince buyers to spend more money for a property. But Sullivan said that's not a concern for his office, at least not directly.

"The assessment won't be affected by that at all, zero influence," Sullivan said. "But if one property sells and then another property sells, followed by another and another, we might start to notice a market trend compared with what was happening the previous year.

"So if you've got new trees and sidewalks, we would only notice the price the properties are selling for. …

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