Stillwater News Press

Local News

January 2, 2014

Growing oil patch fuels Stillwater-area economy

STILLWATER, Okla. — The oil patch should keep Payne County’s economy humming in 2014.

Devon Energy plans to expand its Stillwater field office as exploration and drilling continues in the Mississippi Lime play.

“From what we understand, the exploration of the Mississippian play for Devon is a 30-year plan. It is producing strong economic results,” Stillwater Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lisa Navrkal said.

Devon’s growth will create a need for secondary field workers who service Devon’s needs, which impacts Stillwater’s rental market, hotel rooms and restaurants, Navrkal said.

Stillwater’s Economic Director for Consumer Business Development Angela McLaughlin said the energy-sector boom has sparked more retail and hotel interest in Stillwater.

“It’s feeding our local economy and that goes to our city services, public schools and hospitals. So, that’s a good thing,” McLaughlin said.

One large economic development obstacle is a lack of buildings to house industrial, retail or restaurant development.

The Chamber’s Director of Economic Development Eric Miller said an available existing building plays a large role when a company evaluates a city.

“Why is an existing building the company preference versus constructing a new building, one might reasonably ask? The answer is an existing building, even one that requires some modifications to reflect the company’s needs, affords the company the most expedient route to commence operations, employ people, and most importantly, make money,” Miller said.

Stillwater’s lack of available industrial buildings puts the city at a disadvantage during industrial recruitment, he said.

Stillwater doesn’t have much retail or restaurant space available either, McLaughlin said, adding her office is working with developers to possibly build shopping centers in north and west Stillwater.

McLaughlin said several projects could spring to life in early 2014.

“Hopefully, we will be able to make announcements in early 2014,” she said. “It’s looking very good as long as the economy keeps growing.”

The announcements primarily involve the retail sector, she said, adding her office would like to fill several niches in Stillwater. It is working to attract a higher-end men’s clothing store, niche clothing stores and sporting goods stores.

“Our biggest holdup right now is we don’t have a lot of available space to put these guys,” she said. “We are trying to get another lifestyle center developed.”

Downtown Stillwater continues to be a hotbed of development. Loft-style apartments are attracting young professionals. Downtown retail is evolving to meet those needs.

The loft apartments have been successful, and it’s something the city wants to encourage.

“A small niche grocery store would be nice to have downtown,” McLaughlin said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News