Starting out as an ammunition plant during World War II, the MidAmerica Industrial Park has always been about manufacturing. And it still is, serving as the home for more than 80 employers. But in the 21st century, it takes more than available land and in-place utilities to attract manufacturers. Companies are looking for places that will help them recruit top-notch employees.
“Experts will tell you, the ‘sense of place’ is now more important than ever as a key to success,’” said Dave Stewart, the industrial park’s chief administrative officer. “Demographics of all ages are drawn to areas that provide the amenities of a big city but with the affordability and convenience of a community.”
The park, sprawling across more than 9,000 acres between Pryor and Chouteau, recently broke ground on a new multi-use development called “The District,” combining retailers, housing and public recreation areas. For the first time, the MidAmerica Industrial Park will become a place to work and live, not just work.
“We have the opportunity to build something that is absolutely incredible,” said Doug Harris, the CEO of a manufacturing company already located at the park.
Designed by Tulsa-based Cyntergy and scheduled to open in 2020, The District will include 32,000 square feet of retail space, a 100-unit, multi-story living complex, 100 residential homes and 10 acres of parks and outdoor spaces connected by walking and biking trails, officials said.
But it’s part of an even larger effort to open hundreds of acres of “greenfield” sites for new development, eventually creating 2,000 new jobs, officials said.
The District will help entice investors to come to the area, where the workforce will find an affordable but exciting place to live, officials said.
Since its establishment in 1960 as the Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority, MidAmerica Industrial Park remains the largest of its kind in Oklahoma and among the largest in the nation.
The park’s workforce plan, called MidAmerica DELIVERS, has built 10 best-in-class STEM Labs and Career Centers throughout nine school districts in northeastern Oklahoma. Currently, MidAmerica is building a workforce Career Center with its on-site education partner, Roger State University.
Investments in land and infrastructure include building new roads and water systems to open greenfield sites for new development.
The $6 million Armin Road expansion developed 300 new acres and was completed in 2018. MidAmerica will invest an additional $15 million over the next three years to create shovel-ready sites among 600 acres in the Igloo Valley Development and another 500 acres in the Ridgeline Development.
As part of its economic development efforts, MidAmerica has also established a Quick Action Incentive Fund, whose criteria includes thresholds for wages, total number of employees and targeted industry sectors.
About MidAmerica Industrial Park
Since its establishment in 1960 as the Oklahoma Ordnance Works Authority, MidAmerica Industrial Park remains the largest of its kind in the State of Oklahoma and one of the largest in the Nation. With more than 9,000 acres, MidAmerica is home to 80 employers which support more than 4,000 employees.