Business Intelligence Report

Fridays at 6:44 a.m., 8:44 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:44 p.m.

A weekly feature produced in partnership with the Journal Record, Oklahoma's weekday newspaper and website specializing in business, legislative and legal news. Managing Editor Adam Brooks and Journal Record reporters discuss business and economic development in the state.

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Workers uncap a well in the western Oklahoma oil field in 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Slumping oil prices have fueled thousands of job losses in big energy states like Oklahoma, which is “gripped by a mini-recession,” economist Mark Snead tells the Journal Record‘s Kirby Lee Davis:

“The notion that Oklahoma has diversified away from oil and gas is, at this point, many, many years away,” he said.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Oklahoma City covers more than 600 square miles, and completely surrounds several communities. That can lead to lost or delayed revenue, which is becoming even more problematic with the rise of so-called “gig economy” businesses like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb.

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Oklahoma City’s assistant treasurer Matt Boggs said Oklahoma City recapture $1.1 million in lost revenue during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

A Norman Forward sign on Flood Ave. across from McKinley Elementary.
Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

For months, drivers around Norman have probably noticed red-and-blue "Norman Forward" signs adorning medians, parking strips, and front lawns.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved an ordinance to put a half-penny sales tax on the ballot this fall that's more or less Norman's version of Oklahoma City's MAPS 3 proposal.

Journal Record managing editor Adam Brooks says the 15-year sales tax extension's goal is to raise $209 million to fund revenue bonds.

Algae grow on the floor of the pipe room in the Hugo water plant because water leaks constantly, as shown in this late July photo.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

About 7,000 residents in Hugo lived for months with unsafe drinking water because a private company improperly disinfected municipal water supplies and misreported data to local and state officials.

oil pump jack
Paul Lowry / Flickr

There’s an interesting side effect of the downturn in energy prices that started late last year – a strong trend in business sales.

After being laid off from the oil and gas sector, many former employees look to something completely different. In a lot of cases they have savings, plus a big severance package, and The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks says a business can be a good investment, and it’s a good time to buy.

Guards make their rounds on the eighth floor of the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

For the past few months a committee has been looking at how to pay for a new Oklahoma County Jail, and made its recommendation on Tuesday.

The facility is only about 25 years old, but it’s had construction problems, mold, sewage in the cells – to the point where the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in and said the inmates faced violations of their constitutional rights.

A motorist drives by a police barricade placed along Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City in advance of a visit from President Barack Obama Wednesday.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

President Obama’s visit to Oklahoma dominated the news cycle this week, and basically shut down small portions of downtown Oklahoma City, Durant, Interstate 40 – pretty much anywhere inside a one-block radius of the president.

The White House provided only a six day heads up Obama was headed to Oklahoma, and that caused some rapid rearrangement of events in the area, according to The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt:

A view of Broadway Avenue from the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Four months ago, Oklahoma City hit a snag on the long-awaited MAPS 3 convention center in downtown. In March, the city dropped a land bid for the location they wanted just south of the Myriad Gardens.

Oklahoma City budgeted $13 million for land acquisition, and the current owners wanted $100 million, so they had to figure something else out.

The city hired the consulting firm Populous to do that, and on Tuesday the group unveiled its site evaluations and made its pitch to the city council.

Cheryl Hooper sells TNT Fireworks from her stand near Route 66 and Westminster Road in Arcadia.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Fireworks stands popped up across more rural parts of the metro weeks ago ahead of the Independence Day holiday, and Oklahoma's climate, some calendar luck, and easing of fireworks laws in other states should a $695 million dollar nationwide industry continue to boom (and yes, of course, that bad pun was intended). Sales have steadily grown since 1998, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Guests at Remington Park horce racing track in Oklahoma City could soon have a 180-room, $22 million destination hotel to stay in.
Kiddo27 / Wikimedia Commons

Two empty lots that bookend the core of Oklahoma City could soon see massive quality-of-life projects take shape.

Developer Neal McGee, who bought the dozen-plus acres along Interstate 35 at NE 50th Street, plans to sign a deal with Holiday Inn to build a 180-room, $22 million hotel. The destination hotel would serve the area the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation refers to as the "Adventure District," with the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, the ASA Hall-of-Fame softball stadium, and the Remington Park horse track all nearby.

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