The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Read the complete chat transcript here.
Does OKC finally get the railroad quiet zone completed downtown by the end of 2013?
There are conversations going on behind the scene. I can picture an announcement of the project in 2013, but with railroads involved, I seriously doubt the project would be finished next year.
What's next for the Oklahoma River portion of MAPS 3 improvements?
I hear that the University of Central Oklahoma should be ready to soon make an announcement on when work will begin on the next boathouse. Ditto for the SandRidge pavilion that will have the wave pool and zip line. Planning is under way for the white water rapids.
Have you seen the renderings of the Santa Fe Railway station as the hub for OKC? What do you think of it?
I saw conceptual renderings that came out earlier this year. Keep in mind, they will almost certainly change once an architect is done. But as a concept? It looked pretty cool.
Do you know when The Hill is going to begin constructing the next phase and is the Club House going to be part of that?
As I recall, the clubhouse was being eyed as part of the next phase of construction. Seeing how The Hill has suddenly become the lead in for-sale housing downtown, and that the current supply is sold out, I believe the developers when they say they want to start work on the next phase as soon as possible. As for the location of the club house, my recollection is it will be built toward the south east section, on the side closer to Bricktown.
Do you think we will see more retail and restaurants build in the MidTown section?
Yes. Absolutely. I reported on Waffle Champion opening up in the 1212 Building. Saturn is planning to open next to Go Go Sushi. And I'm aware of small retailers wanting space in MidTown as well. Most of the downtown retail momentum, however, appears to be centered along Automobile Alley.
Are you as excited about OU's purchase of the PHF Research Park as some others are?
There seems to be a lot of potential with PHF being purchased by OU in terms of branding and better joint promotion of the entire medical district. This may be a good time to remind everyone I will be hosting my first Google+ hangout next Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. with several major players in the Oklahoma Health Center. We will be talking about development, promotion, design and branding. We will also have a live chat like this going on consecutively where you folks can enter questions for the entire hangout panel. Here's the key thing to know: I am told you do NOT HAVE TO HAVE a Google+ account to watch the hangout. I'll post more details on my blog, www.okccentral,com, early next week.