Letter to the Editor: UNP entertainment district will bring in hundreds of millions in investments

University North Park entertainment district rendering

Gary Brooks | Corner Stone Development

I have been developing large residential and mixed-use properties in Oklahoma City for many years. Three years ago, we were presented with the opportunity to partner with the OU Foundation to develop the first phase of luxury apartments at the University North Park (UNP) development. The addition of luxury apartment living into the Oklahoma City metro is barely ten years old. It’s a product type that was needed to fill an unserved market, specifically resident’s desire for luxurious finishes, large clubhouses, a long list of amenities, exceptional service and a walkable community. This demographic is educated, mobile, sophisticated, and active in their communities — exactly the type of citizens every city aggressively seeks and needs.

Immediately upon opening Terra at UNP, we experienced the demand anticipated by residents who want to be near the dense retail, entertainment, and dining options provided by the current UNP South development. The vision of the OU Foundation and City of Norman of bringing the multi-phase University North Park to reality is the driving force that allowed us to bring this apartment complex to life.

As Cornerstone Development expands our luxury living portfolio, we continue to study large and successful developments around the United States. The proposed entertainment district and arena would allow UNP to rival the best such developments in the country and continue to bring accolades and positive attention to Norman and Oklahoma City. The addition of the arena and entertainment district to UNP, and the incredible developments still to come as a result, will make UNP truly one of the most spectacular live/work/play areas in this region. I would estimate the economic, as well as subjective benefits to the City of Norman and its citizens, is likely incalculable.

The hesitancy of some citizens to support such developments through Tax Increment Financing and other public assistance is understandable. Cornerstone has been the beneficiary of Tax Increment Financing in other markets and have seen firsthand the economic and social impact it can have. The funds from this type of assistance will pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be infused into Norman from developers like myself and many others.

The return on the City’s investment will be enviable. This is a unique opportunity for Norman and University North Park, one that I and other business leaders across Norman strongly support.

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