by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Northeast OKC Renaissance Inc.(NEOKCR) and OKC Black Eats (OKCBE) have joined to host the inaugural NEOKC Developer’s Conference on Saturday, March 23. The event is designed to address place-based ethical development in Northeast Oklahoma City (NEOKC) by “cultivating, connecting, and empowering local stakeholders who aspire to become small-scale developers,” according to organizers.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business at the University of Oklahoma’s Price School of Business, 865 Research Parkway, Suite 300, in Northeast Oklahoma City.
With the establishment of a NE 23rd Street Commercial District advancing, several completed or under construction TIF (tax increment financing) projects underway, and Innovation District placemaking on the horizon, NEOKC is in the midst of a renaissance, organizers said.
According to organizers, the goal of the conference is to provide essential information for real estate development in NEOKC. To promote community growth, the NEOKC Developer’s Network was formed, which consists of local, small-scale developers who are also NEOKC stakeholders.
The conference is expected to attract approximately 100 participants with a series of workshops that will focus on the essential elements of real estate development in NEOKC.
Sessions will be facilitated by public and private industry professionals and cover topics ranging from Opportunity Zones and planned unit developments (PUDs) to Urban Renewal property and NEOKC placemaking.
Speakers include David Lloyd, HGL Construction; Cathy O’Connor, Alliance for Economic Development of OKC; Ieasha Larkpor, Thunder Reality; Anita Arnold, executive director Blac Inc. (Black Liberated Arts Center); Christina Beatty, Oklahoma Arts Council; John Day, First Security Bank; Jill Castilla, Citizen’s Bank of Edmond; Cornell Wesley, Economic Development Administration; Marcus Ude, Universal Development Enterprise; Jane Ward, Development Services/City of OKC; and David Adcock, Development Services/City of OKC.
The list of speakers will also include Ray Whitley, Juice Properties; David Box, of Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard Law Firm; Monique Short, Monarch Properties; James Williams, Central Urban Development; and Dr. Quintin Hughes, NEOKCR Board President.
Topics will include: Urban Planning, home ownership, how to become a developer, property zoning, residential and commercial investing, and how to complete a rehab project.
“We believe that along with other efforts, the NEOKC Developer’s Conference has the potential to disrupt some of the negative consequences of gentrification,” Hughes said. “Some unintended outcomes include displacement, exclusion and diminished resources readily available to the generational residents and stakeholders who have invested their lives in the communities being revitalized.
“Our assumption is that if we facilitate an ongoing opportunity for stakeholders who aspire to take part in revitalizing their own community, to connect and learn from experienced professionals who look like them, they can propel themselves forward and help to counteract those detrimental effects.”
The event will also feature an expo of industry vendors who serve the NEOKC community.
“This conference is important as a culmination of a lot of things that I’ve wanted to work toward since I moved to Northeast Oklahoma City,” Hughes added. As a leader for our organization and an educator in our schools, I really see the potential for this part of town. And I really want to see and area that has been targeted for revitalization really do it differently than the way we’ve seen in other urban cores.”
“We want to see revitalization done with the people who live there,” Hughes added. “We see this as the missing piece that really cultivates our future builders and developers in Northeast Oklahoma City…and that’s including me.”
Individual general admission tickets for $40 are available online. Vendor fee is $150.