Posted by Sandra Longcrier

Our meeting this week started with a rousing rendition of "Singing in the Rain."

President and CEO of the OU Foundation Guy Patton shared details about the proposed University North Park Development. The new entertainment district would be located on a large parcel of undeveloped land the foundation owns just north of Rock Creek Road in Norman.

The district would be anchored by a 10,000-seat capacity arena. OU women's and men's basketball teams would be contracted to play in the arena for years to come. The facility would be sized to host musical concerts not in competition with larger arenas like the Chesapeake in OKC. Around it developers would build retail shopping, businesses that offer experiential entertainment and townhomes and/or apartments.

OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione told Guy that Lloyd Noble Arena requires a ton of investment in order to continue as the basketball team venue. The plan is to continue using Lloyd Noble for university gymnastic and wrestling meets and for convocation. Guy said it is not a good venue for concert productions today.

The current University North Park retail shopping, dining and hotel area is "more or less" contributing sales taxes at expected levels, according to Guy. Additional Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue is proposed to be used for infrastructure improvements for the arena only. Additional access to Tecumseh Road also is envisioned to handle traffic growth since Rock Creek Road does not have I-35 access in either direction.

If parties to the development (City of Norman, OU Foundation, TIF revenue recipients) agree on the deal, the OU Foundation will work with a master developer to work with other developers to bring capital to the Foundation while building the district.