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Another Setback For Oklahoma City's 'Northeast Renaissance'; Community Banks' Millennial Outreach

The Smart Saver grocery store at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record
The Smart Saver grocery store at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Oklahoma City.

About two years ago the City of Oklahoma City granted tax increment finance, or TIF status to the Northeast 23rd Street, Martin Luther King, and Kelley Avenue corridors as part of a project it's calling the Northeast Renaissance.

But there are questions about that decision after a planned grocery store to anchor the King’s Crossing development at Northeast 23rd and MLK fell through. About a year ago the area seemed like it was on the upswing. There had originally been a delay due to some environmental concerns.

But Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis, Jr. wishes the city council had done things differently.

“He said that he wished the whole process had moved a little faster because he thought that disappointment wouldn't have been quite as acute,” said The Journal Record’s editor Ted Streuli. “He took responsibility for that, though, he said that they took longer than they should have, the city did, in giving the developer a deadline. But he also said they understood that the project was going to be hard, and knew it was going to take a lot of time to get it done.”

Developers Hank and Susan Binkowski were leading the development at King’s Crossing. The couple owns Buy For Less, Uptown Market, and a few other Oklahoma grocery nameplates. They bought grocery store at Northeast 23rd Street and MLK about five years ago and converted it to a Buy For Less, which was supposed to be temporary, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

The potential of a new grocery store served as a catalyst for the City Council last year to establish a TIF district in the area, allowing the city to tap into future ad valorem and sales tax revenue to pay for infrastructure improvements now. Council members, led by Pettis, approved the Northeast Renaissance Project Increment District with projections of stimulating new investments of over $225 million; the proposed budget for project costs within the TIF district was set at $45 million. The proposal approved in January 2015 read, “The plan further contemplates several potential catalytic developments, including a significant mixed-use development at NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. that will be anchored by a new grocery store in a much underserved part of Oklahoma City, and will include other retail, commercial and residential development.” However, the couple missed a deadline when the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City asked them to finally confirm whether they are bringing in another developer or selling control of the property.

Northeast Oklahoma City residents are disappointed they’re not getting the more upscale shopping experience they were promised, but Pettis says the city is still committed, even with different developers. King’s Crossing represents only about one-sixth of the 120-acre Northeast Renaissance TIF.

“Oklahoma City's economic development manager Brent Bryant told us that no city money was committed specifically to the grocery store and the mall around that,” Streuli said. “So as long as the TIF district is there, it remains primed for other developers as the city council may see fit to come in and work with that property.”

Valliance Bank on 24th Ave. NW in Norman.
Credit Brian Hardzinski / KGOU
Valliance Bank on 24th Ave. NW in Norman.

Managing Millennials’ Money

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors shows smaller, community banks are trying to entice millennial customers and stay relevant in an ever-changing market, according to Brus:

The annual survey of banks with less than $10 billion in assets also revealed that small business loans represented 17 percent of community banks’ total loan portfolios last year and that community banks made larger loans than their bigger competitors. The report also said 80 percent of survey respondents reported making most of their loans to existing customers, a point that Liberty National Bank President Rick Walker said couldn’t be stressed enough.

"They're building those relationships, but it's requiring a lot more mobile banking, and that's been up about 10 percent over the past two years,” Streuli said. “And the attitude they've taken is you just have to adapt or you're likely to go under. You have to make the investment in that technology even if it's expensive.”

The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and The Journal Record.

As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

The Journal Record is a multi-faceted media company specializing in business, legislative and legal news. Print and online content is available via subscription.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
Ted Streuli is the editor of The Journal Record, a weekday newspaper and online publisher of business, political and legal news for Oklahoma. He regularly reports for the Business Intelligence Report, heard each week on KGOU.
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