Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahomans Woo Development at Vegas Conference

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahomans Woo Development at Vegas Conference

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma economic developers hope that what happened in Vegas definitely does not stay there.

Representatives from cities nationwide went to Las Vegas from May 17-20 for the International Council of Shopping Centers' annual RECon conference. At the event, economic developers meet with companies that could potentially build new restaurants, retail centers, or even hotels in their communities. The cities of Oklahoma City, Enid and Stillwater were just a few of the communities that had officials pitching their areas at the conference.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber President and CEO Roy Williams has attended the conference the last nine years. He said when he first went, he and other chamber officials had to go to retailers and ask for meetings.

"Now, they come to us," he said. "Now most of our meetings are in our booth instead of their booth. The development community out there now has a sense of what's going on in the marketplace. They also want to know where the opportunities are in terms of what's next."

One area that is still in the works is the city's northeast corridor. While Buy For Less has committed to building an Uptown Market in the area, there is still a need for hotels and other retail development. With its proximity to the Amateur Softball Association National Softball Hall of Fame and Stadium and the rest of the Adventure District, the region is known to bring in visitors who often have to stay downtown or in Edmond.

"We met specifically with some developers and that was their interest," Williams said. "(Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority Executive Director) Cathy O'Connor was with us and she was able to give some insight on what's being talked about and what's missing from that market."

Williams wouldn't give any specifics about who he or other chamber officials had meetings with, but said they met with companies already in the market, and those that would be new. …

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