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Funk, OKC Set for 37-Acre Downtown Purchase

By Staff, 08/31/16, 8:11PM EDT


Stadium would be part of mixed-use development in heart of Oklahoma City

Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC

OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC Co-Owner Bob Funk Jr. is set to lead a group of investors that will close on the 37-acre plot of land that has been home to the Producers Cooperative plant south of Bricktown. The land is the largest available for development in downtown Oklahoma City, with the potential in the long-term it could be used for an expanded home for Energy FC.

Speaking with The Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer, Funk discussed the potential purchase, which would see the investment group and current USL club work with the city’s leadership to develop a long-term plan for a mixed-use development that would include housing, retail, hotels, parks, fountains and structured parking and a stadium that could house 20,000 seats.

“The co-op wanted local developers — people connected to Oklahoma City who want to see the city prosper and offer a dynamic vision and capability to transform this site to reach its full potential,” Funk told Lackmeyer. “They wanted a group who would work with them through their process, which required every member to cast a vote. In the end, the vote was unanimous in favor of selling us the land. We are pleased and honored to have gained their trust and support.”

Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC

The Producers Cooperative plant had previously been home to the co-op’s cotton seed processing operation, which moved to Altus, Okla. last year. This June, the co-op’s members voted to approve the sale contract for the site.

Energy FC has had strong success both on and off the field since joining the USL for the 2014 season. With a strong local ownership group led by Funk and fellow Co-Owner Tim McLaughlin, the side moved into the newly-renovated Taft Stadium last season, and has seen big crowds support a side that is closing in on a second consecutive berth in the USL Playoffs.

Now the club appears set on embarking on a long-term project that would take soccer in Oklahoma City to even greater heights. In addition to working with the city, Funk also told Lackmeyer there had been discussions with other local businessmen, including Fred Mazaheri and hotelier Champ Patel, who purchased the lumberyard that runs adjacent to the Producers Cooperative plant last year with the goal of building three hotels on the site.

“We've had good conversations,” Funk told Lackmeyer. “We both understand what the sites mean to each other and we're on the same page on how they need to work together. They need to be seamless and connected together with the same vision.”

Photo courtesy Steven Christy / OKC Energy FC

While the project may not begin in earnest until 2018, Funk and the team he has behind him are excited as to what it could mean for the future of downtown Oklahoma City.

“Our investors and development team are avid downtown Oklahoma City enthusiasts,” Funk told Lackmeyer. “As we imagine the possibilities of this development, we want to take advantage of how cultural variety and diversity intersect in Oklahoma City's core to create an incredible urban experience offering something for everyone.”

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