OKC Trying To Create 'Innovation District' Into Business Hot Spot

Thursday, December 8th 2016, 6:34 pm
By: Karl Torp

The city is trying to help transform the area around OU Med and the new GE center into a huge money maker and business hot spot.

Under the proposal, some tax revenue generated in OKC’s “Innovation District” would be reinvested in technology and infrastructure improvements to attract more business.

The goal would be to use up to around $50-million over the next 25 years to help create high-tech jobs.

“We’ve got to diversify OKC economy as fast as possible,” said OKC City Councilman Ed Shadid.

Councilman Shadid supports the proposal even though he’s been critical of Tax Increment Finance districts in the past.

If voted through, the Innovation District would become OKC’s 11th TIF district.

I2E, a non-profit in the Innovation District, helps companies get off the ground. Two of its companies recently sold for tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.

“I think there is a need for activity,” said I2E CEO Scott Meacham, who believes creating another TIF district in the Innovation District is a smart move.

“The question is how do you leverage what’s going on?” said Meacham.