A group of local investors lead by Bob Funk Jr. announced today the purchase of the Producers Cooperative property located south of Bricktown and west of the Boathouse District.
The purchase of the land was completed after a nearly three-year process working with the Cooperative leadership and members to complete the necessary steps to secure approval from the more than 200 members. Funk Jr. noted that while the process was lengthy, it was always constructive and collaborative. He commended the Cooperative’s leadership for the inclusive way they managed the process.
Members of the Producers Cooperative voted in June to approve the sale of the nearly 40-acre site, which formerly housed the co-op’s cottonseed processing operations dating back to the early 1900s before the plant was relocated to Altus last year.
“The co-op wanted local developers – people connected to Oklahoma City who want to see the city prosper and offer a dynamic vision and capability to transform this site to reach its full potential,” Funk Jr. said. “They wanted a group who would work with them through their process, which required every member to cast a vote. In the end, the vote was unanimous in favor of selling us the land. We are pleased and honored to have gained their trust and support.”
Funk Jr. said a number of hurdles remain including feasibility and environmental studies before plans for full-scale urban lifestyle development for the riverfront property can be defined. He did say the prime land has high potential for a landmark project seamlessly connecting the boathouse district on the Oklahoma River with the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center and Downtown Park projects.
“Our investors and development team are avid downtown Oklahoma City enthusiasts. As we imagine the possibilities of this development, we want to take advantage of how cultural variety and diversity intersect in Oklahoma City’s core to create an incredible urban experience offering something for everyone,” Funk Jr. said.
He continued, “Oklahoma City has matured in the past 10 years and is now attracting and retaining a new generation of residents who desire a vibrant urban living experience. They want energy, walkability, beautiful buildings, colorful streetscapes, well-designed streets and entertainment amenities with a variety of restaurants and shopping options – and they love water. The development we envision will have these offerings and amenities and more.”
Ideas for the development include residential, commercial retail, hotel, parks, fountains and parking, anchored by a state-of-the-art stadium built to the specification of Major League Soccer.
“We are several years away before we will be in a position to actively pursue a Major League Soccer team. But it is clear, Oklahoma City’s best opportunity to secure a Major League Soccer team leads through OKC Energy FC,” Funk Jr. said. “The sustained success of Energy FC has caught the attention of the league, underscoring the receptivity of the market to professional soccer. When we are in a position to earnestly pursue a major league soccer team, we are confident we will have a compelling case for Oklahoma City to present.”
Before actual work can begin to develop the site, several studies, site remediation, extensive infrastructure planning, strategic marketing and staged development planning will need to take place. The project will be rolled out in phases. The development team anticipates three to five years of pre-construction work before major construction begins. The project could require eight to ten years to complete. For now, developers, continue to research other markets and meet with potential strategic partners.
“We know this will be the most important project we will ever take on in our hometown, and we want to do it right,” Funk Jr. said. “While we have successfully overcome several big hurdles, we still have a long way to go before you will see any dramatic activity happening at the site. Time is our friend, and we intend to take every step – no shortcuts. It’s better to be right than fast.”
Click here to read the full story by The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer.