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OKC Central Chat transcript, March 15, 2013

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: March 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm •  Published: March 15, 2013

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

Steve Lackmeyer 10:00 a.m. Good morning everybody.
Nick 10:00 a.m. Good morning Steve! Are you disappointed by the Midtown parking garage by the Midtown Renaissance Group? It's quite ugly. The flaps sticking off just seem like they're trying too hard to be artsy. But it's quite disappointing for a group that has done such marvelous work elsewhere.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. The new MidTown garage being planned by the MidTown Renaissance Group will be presented Thursday to the Downtown Design Review Committee. This project marks the first truly new major construction project in the MidTown area where there it completely deviates from any other design nearby (the St. Anthony addition is clearly designed to reflect the existing hospital complex). This ought to be an interesting project to follow. To see the designs, visit my blog at
Nick 10:02 a.m. With the deal that SandRidge made and the trouble that CHK is in, is Mystery Tower off the books?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. Not to my knowledge. Brianna Bailey and I are set to have a story this Sunday about Chesapeake's office holdings, and the consensus is we may not be looking at too bad an outcome as they sell off properties outside their core campus. Now, if they were to disappear all together, however (which no one is threatening - yet), that's a different story.
Nick 10:04 a.m. Does the SandRidge Amenities building get finished?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. I guess?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. The situation at SandRidge Energy is very fluid. Clearly a leadership change is about to take place. I don't think anyone can predict yet what is next for the company.
Guest 10:05 a.m. Any updates on the Arcade Building Renovations? If so, are they looking at retail space or residential?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. I haven't been able to delve into this project yet.
Randy 10:05 a.m. CenterPoint Energy + OG&E Energy + ArcLight Capital= New Office Tower in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Every time you think you've guessed every possible candidate for a tower, a new possibility catches you off guard....
Gary T 10:06 a.m. Good morning Steve. Let's start off with a mystery tower, shall we? No, I am not going to ask who, when, etc. My question is do you think the process will be a company announcing they are going to build a tower downtown and then later show the renderings or everything all at one time? If I remember correctly, Devon announced they were going to build their corporate headquarters downtown saying it would be at least 37 stories tall costing more than $350 million, then they had a press conference a few days later with the specifics that obviously exceeded those limits.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. Every company has its own way in doing these things. That said, considering what must be done with design review committees, being respectful of various parties, etc., I'd be surprised if renderings were released immediately.
Nick 10:07 a.m. Sid Burgess at OKCTalk is saying he's hearing more announcements are coming. Are you hearing the same?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. I saw his comment as well.
BethanySooner 10:08 a.m. Steve, with the partnership of Enogex and Center Point is Oklahoma City more likely to gain a new business or lose one?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. I'm not worried.
Gary T 10:08 a.m. There is a new Gazette article out talking about the proposed main street parking garage and mentions another potential parking garage in Bricktown. Any idea on where that garage in BT would go? Would it be connected to one of the proposed hotels down there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. I'll have a story on this shortly.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. (Yes, I realize I'm probably driving some of you crazy today)
Gary T 10:09 a.m. With the new apartments and hotel in deep deuce, are we likely to see any more Brownstones built? Is there even any more of a market for them?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. No, we won't see more Brownstones built, but planning and design is underway for the remaining empty lots. Deep Deuce is rapidly approaching a day when it will be fully developed - Oklahoma City's first fully matured urban mixed-use neighborhood boasting restaurants, offices, some shops, a grocery, hotel, apartments and owner-occupied homes.
Waffles 10:10 a.m. What are the odds that one of these "mystery tower" builders goes with more of a classic design rather than modern? I think building something that would resemble some of the buildings that we lost to urban renewel or taking design aspects from them would look cool. The Biltmore would be one of those cool lost buildings that would blend with our skyline in a modern rendition.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. I'd say the odds are pretty low, especially for a building that would resemble the Biltmore. Preservationists, in particular, hate such efforts - they refer to it as Disney Main Street architecture - a fake facade with no authenticity in design. Most architects I've met feel the same way.
Gary T 10:14 a.m. With the hotel/apartments/retail proposed for Sheridan east of Joe Carter Ave, Staybridge Suites and several other hotels proposed for east Bricktown, how long until we see something better than a huge empty parking lot in front the BT Events center? I would love to see something reminiscent of Branson Landing with retail and restaurants on ground level with offices/hotel/condos on the 2-5 floors. And if they bought out Mcdonald's and Bodyworks and extended into the Bass pro parking lot, I wouldn't be too mad...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:15 a.m. Gary, I just don't see that lot getting developed. Bob Funk, when he owned the RedHawks, pitched a concept like that and it got no where. And if Funk couldn't get it done, well, I just don't see anyone else making it happen either.
Gary T 10:15 a.m. When will we see movement on the Carnegie Centre renovation into housing?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. March 24. I'm not kidding. I've been very, very busy, and this is one of the updates I'm behind with.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. On "The Rise" on 23rd Street, are they planning on tearing down the existing structure or just removal of the metal roofing to make it more modern? Also, when can we expect work to begin? The article in September quoted Johnathan Russell as saying it would start this past winter.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. Jonathan Russell's plan calls for an extensive renovation of the building. I know that architects are working on designs. I'll check in with him on an updated start date.
JRod 10:17 a.m. Now that a committee is being put together to complete the Native American Indian Cultural Center, do we have a timeline for completion? Will it remain all Native American Art or will they include Modern Art as well to draw more people? Could we see the large hill area become a garden with water features? Look into your crystal ball and tell us the future Steve.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. A lot of effort is going on behind the scenes to get work started on the American Indian Cultural Center, but lawmakers so far have been pretty stubborn in denying the remainder of funding needed for completion. The same lawmakers don't seem to offer any alternatives on how to finish this project, which already has millions of taxpayer dollars invested in construction to date. I look into my Crystal Ball ... and all it shows me is an increasingly Libertarian-influenced state house populated with 20-somethings.... Now, that said, the crystal ball can be awfully murky at times and we might also see a state house populated with an army of Gene Stipe clones as well.
BethanySooner 10:21 a.m. Regarding the new Holiday Inn Express in Bricktown, I personally liked the look of the original proposal best. Does the review board have the authority to reject a proposal even though it meets the requirements of the various codes and design guidelines?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. Good question. We'll find out at the next meeting of Bricktown Urban Design.
Nick 10:22 a.m. Steve, the OG&E/Center Point MLP - what can we expect this to mean for OKC? A loss of jobs when they move their headquarters to Houston?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. I said before ... I'm not worried.
Nick 10:23 a.m. Steve, what's going on with Wenger and Couch? Does OKC need to step up to some big city leadership? These guys are in over their heads and failing the citizens of OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. City Hall leadership is dominated by engineers, and the planning department has seen an exodus of some of its best and brightest who have confided in me they left because they were frustrated by the lack of balance when it came to Project 180, MAPS 3 and other projects. These folks say they are frustrated that engineers run all these projects when they are actually complicated, cutting edge planning efforts. They note that engineers dominate in the hiring of consultants, the timing and implementation of projects, and determining how things get done. I'm not aware of an engineer holding the city manager's job in the 20 to 30 years prior to Couch's tenure, and Couch is now on a record long stint as CEO of the city. On quite a few of these matters, the chain of command has consisted of Couch - an engineer, Assistant City Manager Dennis Clowers - an engineer, and Wenger - an engineer.
They are not, from my observation, bad people with bad intentions. But they bring one perspective to development of the urban core, and their critics charge they are behind the times in understanding modern planning and generational shifts and interests.
JRod 10:29 a.m. Mystery Building Questions #1,304,572... 16 Days left until the end of the month and an announcement. Will we have to wait until the very last day of the month, which just so happens to fall on a Sunday... Are you just trying to drive newspaper sales for The Oklahoman?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. Yes, you got me. Folks planning to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in building a tower are timing their announcement to help me sell newspapers. Come on now....
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. (Forgive me if the tone of that response is too caustic - not meant that way)
Doctor Taco, M.D. 10:31 a.m. Hi Steve! I really appreciate all the work you do. Before you get totally swamped by questions about all the twists and turns of yesterday, I want to ask you about your upcoming story you mentioned you are preparing for Sunday's Oklahoman. Can you give us a teaser about this story? If so, can you give us the teaser in the form of a Haiku? Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. I can't right now.... but hopefully will later today.
Sara 10:33 a.m. What is the percentage that this new company being formed by Centerpoint and OGE ends up in Houston?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. I'm not worried.
BethanySooner 10:34 a.m. Whenever you get the opportunity to do a story on the Maywood Flats could you provide a site map that shows where the proposed new buildings will be located? Also, whenever you visit with the developer could you also check out the progress on phase two of the 4th street apartments as far as when ground might be broken?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. Yes.
Sid Burgess 10:35 a.m. ETA on groundbreaking on East Bricktown project? I can't wait to see those metal buildings come down!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. The metal buildings should be coming down soon. But construction is at least a year away. It's a long, complicated development.
Pat 10:35 a.m. Good morning Steve, Until the I's are dotted and the T's crossed, we know you can't come clean on Mystery Tower #1. Understandably so the transactions are very complicated. I'd like to thank you for the insight and clues provided over the last few months, it's been a fun ride. Thanks again.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. Thanks.
Sid Burgess 10:35 a.m. From what you've heard, will E.K. Gaylord stay 6 lanes?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. I think there will be some debate over this before it's decided. The engineers likely have their preference....
Chad 10:36 a.m. Steve, it's been a disapointing week for those of us that follow OKC's development like most people follow sports. Can you tell us something to cheer us up?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. In the grand scheme, things are still going very well for Oklahoma City and downtown. Population growth is phenomenal. Retail is taking off downtown. Housing and hotel development continues at a fast clip. And the news I suspect some of you find disappointing is limited to possibilities, not certain outcomes.
Brent 10:38 a.m. In regards to the Gold Dome, Mr. Box stated he was amenable to selling it. Since he bought it for $800K, do you know if he is actively marketing it and if so, what is he trying to sell if for now?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. No.
Reid 10:38 a.m. What is going in on the NW corner of 50th and Western? And with the Chesapeake debacle - are they still planning on moving forward with The Peake/OnCue on the SW corner of 50th and Western?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Chespeake has repeatedly declined to comment on the project, but clearly it has stood frozen for several months with no apparent progress.
Brent 10:39 a.m. If the "Mystery Tower" is ever announced/built, what would you expect in the way of a Devon Tower like TIF district? Would it likely be part of the Devon TIF district (i.e. more Project 180 funds), a new one, a TIF created just to help with building the tower itself or none at all?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Devon was unique... don't expect every company to be so generous when it comes to the spending of TIF dollars.
JRod 10:40 a.m. Lot of dirt moving around in Midtown right off Hudson and 10th? Any news on what's to come for that area? While housing is great, there is definitely a need for more retail/commercial buildings for new restaurants/pubs/shopping.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. The speculation by area observers is that the site is being targeted for housing, but no such announcements have taken place yet.
Tyler 10:40 a.m. Stevel what, if any, additional businesses are coming to the downtown OKC area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. As I've mentioned before, several national restaurant chains want to locate downtown. Other than that... well, there's just a lot of interest out there.
Guest 10:41 a.m. Hey Steve, what are your thoughts on the Enogex deal that was announced yesterday? Will they be staying in OKC or moving their HQ elsewhere?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. I think people need to stand by and watch what happens.
Tyler 10:42 a.m. Steve, do you think OKC should bring in an 'In and Out' Burger?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Personally, I'm not impressed with these hyped up deluxe burger chains - I'll take Tucker's, Irma's, Johnnies and Nic's Grill any day over Five Guys and Smash Burger.
Tyler 10:43 a.m. Steve, what do you credit for OKC's population boom?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. The re-investment in the community via MAPS and bond issues, greater diversity, the emergence of Plaza District, MidTown and Deep Deuce, the rise of Devon, Chesapeake, SandRidge and Continental, the effort to rebuild our city ... take your pick, but I think it's safe to say these are leading factors in the population growth Oklahoma City is enjoying.
JRod 10:45 a.m. I drove down Plaza District yesterday afternoon. Looks like they are at 100% capacity with all their buildings. I know parking is an issue, but will we see more growth in business for the area? If so, what part?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. The 16th Street Plaza District is indeed 100 percent leased. The challenge ahead is to improve the quality of some of the tenants (though certainly not all) and ensure parking doesn't get out of hand. Leaders in the district know parking is becoming a problem and they are looking at possible solutions.
Some Guy 10:46 a.m. Good morning, Steve. I'm not sure if you can or want to say anything to this, but do you think planning has lost most of the clout at City Hall to public works? While we're at it, where has Mayor Cornett, who's been celebrated among architecture and quality-of-life circles, been on this battle?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Sounds like you've got your opinion set.
Pat 10:47 a.m. Steve, I'd like you to know, this chat you host is one of the most informative and entertaining aspects of the work week. Do you get tired of it at times ?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. I won't lie - I appreciate why the questions continue on the "mystery tower." But they get old. And after a very busy week like this one, all in all, I wish I could have slept in this morning. That said, this chat is an incredibly valuable tool for me to get a better grasp on what stories readers want to see written, where their interests are, and quite frankly, it's part of a very wonderful ongoing reinvention of The Oklahoman. I am thankful to the support given by all the editors up to Publisher Chris Reen for taking a chance at this experiment, which clearly has become, for now, a permanent part of my gig.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. This opens up an opportunity for me to make a pitch to you readers: The Oklahoman has links up on NewsOK asking you to participate in discussions on what we need to do to remain relevant in the 21st century. It's no secret that the newspaper industry has undergone tremendous upheaval the past decade. But I refuse to believe that local news created by experienced, professional journalists with college degrees in communications are doomed to obsolescence. We need your help in this reinvention. We need your support, your buy-in, and the sort of connection seen in these chats. I believe a major city without a good daily newspaper, in print and online, is akin to a major city without an orchestra, a ballet, a major league sports team, a good university, and a great museum. It's all part of the mix.
Guest 10:54 a.m. Rumors are being posted on OKC Talk that Public Works has decided to keep the Super Highway also known as EK Gaylord a 6 lane street, thereby killing any chance of a pedestrian corridor there and hurting the streetcar. Do you know anything of this decision?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Not yet.
Pat 10:54 a.m. The city has stated that they are still 2000 parking spaces short, even after the main street garage is completed next year. Where else may the next garage go up, in your opinion ?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. A 350-space garage will be built at NW 10 and Broadway. Another garage, equally as big, is being built now by Rick Dowell along Hudson Avenue. And don't be surprised if the city pursues construction of a parking garage in Bricktown.
JRod 10:56 a.m. Looking ahead past MAPS3 to a possible/definite MAPS4... What do you see being the main thing addressed? Does the public get to decide what we want? In that case, I'm throwing out a Downtown Football Stadium for a possible Bowl Game Bid the Devon Energy Oil Bowl and perhaps a future NFL Team... If you build it, they will come!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. I'm skeptical of the NFL and Major League Baseball coming in my lifetime to Oklahoma City. I'm also not certain there will be a MAPS 4 if resolutions aren't found for funding of operations and maintenance of the MAPS 3 projects.
Tyler 10:57 a.m. Steve, who is your daddy and what does he do?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. My father died in December. He was a certified public accountant.
Mike 10:58 a.m. Good morning Steve. Uncertainty at Sandridge continues to unfold. Your article a while back illustrated the master plan. What are they committed to complete even if the worst case scenario becomes reality? For example, would the city even allow partial construction to stop on the commons?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. The big question here is the amenities building. And I don't think anyone has an answer to it yet.
Nick 10:59 a.m. Were you tracking the CenterPoint OG&E deal before it was announced?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Not by name. But the possibility of such a deal? Yes, I was aware it was possible....
Nick 11:00 a.m. If they do force Ward out at SandRidge, are we going to lose that company to another city?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. it's possible.
Guest 11:00 a.m. Street question,
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Yes?
Nearby Resident 11:00 a.m. Good morning Steve. What do you think of the new Sunbeam Family Services builing going in on Classen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. It should be a nice project - but I've yet to see any renderings or a timetable yet. Sunbeam is a great organization that helps kids. They're overdue for bigger, nicer digs.
Nick 11:01 a.m. Do you have any idea at all when this new MLP from OG&E will announce the location of their headquarters?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. There's a conference call going on right now that the Oklahoman's Energy Team is monitoring....
Crose 11:02 a.m. Street question. Why is Shartel a one way for one block between Reno and California when all the rest of the streets, ie Walker, Hudson, Robinson were converted to two way streets from Reno
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Good question.
Nick 11:02 a.m. What ever happened to the plans for the lot that had the Hale Photo Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Jonathan Russell has that as a long-term development option. I don't think there's anything solid yet.
Kerry 11:03 a.m. Once the mystery tower issue is resolved are you going to cut these chats back to 15 minutes? If not, what do you think we will talk about with the additional 75% of our time together?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. I don't know. You guys are in charge of these chats, not me.
Tyler 11:03 a.m. Why does Gary T get all of the questions?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. He doesn't.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Gary tends to log in early and get the first questions in. You can do that too. People can log in as early as 9:30 a.m. - a half hour before the chats start.
Regal 11:04 a.m. OKC has not developed a walkable, local (thus negating Bricktown) bar district comparable to pretty much any similarly sized cities. Tulsa probably has 4 such districts that are bigger than any one in OKC. For example, Tulsa's Brady District has 10-15 bars in one vibrant area. I don't think any OKC district has more than 3 or 4 bars. Young professionals often see this as quality of life issue. Why has OKC not developed such a district? Are there different zoing laws (or something similar) preventing this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. The bars in Tulsa are actually in the Blue Dome district, not Brady, but I get your drift. I think the struggle in Bricktown is that at some point real estate gets to valuable to support a bar or nightclub just open a couple of nights a week. That said, you may be underestimating what's already in Bricktown. The district is home to CityWalk, Captain Norm's, SkyBar, The Doll House, the Martini Lounge, Venu, Whiskey Chicks, Skinny Slim's, and a few more whose names escape my mind at the moment. Now, having said this... I think the undeveloped old buildings south of Film Row would make a GREAT bar district.
Tyler 11:07 a.m. What new restaurants do you see coming to downtown OKC, Steve? We need a more lively bar/club scene.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. I think I answered this earlier. But yeah, we'll see more restaurants and bars in general... I don't have any specifics for you.
Nick 11:08 a.m. What is this about the city not wanting to narrow EK Gaylord? Isn't that what the people want?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Warning: I don't hold back questions from being posted, but I will not tolerate attacks on participants in this chat.
Nick 11:09 a.m. Steve, I was strolling the Myriad Gardens last night, and I'm curious if you can tell me what is going on there? No water in the fountains, trash everywhere, the great lawn is muddy and hole filled and appears to be sinking in front of the stage. The thunderstorm fountain is broken in several places, mud covering sidewalks, plants missing. What is going on?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. What???
I'll check this out.
Nick 11:10 a.m. Is "Level West" getting ready to begin construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. Yes. This summer.
james 11:10 a.m. What's going to happen to all the Chesapeake properties, like the wine cellar and such?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Visit NewsOK and you'll see an in-depth package of stories written by Brianna Bailey and myself that addresses this question.
Guest 11:11 a.m. Why can't the Gold Dome live up to it's location potential as the focal point of the crossroads of oklahoma city? I'm baffled. The prohibition room was great, the city's only serious jazz place, but it tanked almost immediately. I just find it hard to believe that there isn't some form of commerce that can capitalize on what is arguably the most prime real estate in okc.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. The Prohibition Room didn't tank - it was forced out due to a dispute with the prior owner.
Nick 11:11 a.m. I don't understand how the city can be so stringent on the Holiday Inn Express, but they do nothing about the shoddiness on Skinny Slim's. Have you seen this place in person? The exterior materials used on the back addition and the general quality of the workmanship draws no complaints?
Tyler 11:12 a.m. Steve, have you ever considered moving out of OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Yes. In my junior year of college I contemplated moving back to New York with my family. I realized over one summer my heart was with OKC and I quickly came back and stayed.
Guest 11:12 a.m. Why does the Gold Dome seem destined for demo? Why can't some form of commerce capitalize on what is arguably the city's most prime real estate?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. That's the debate ahead, isn't it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. I know of interests who are interested in buying the Gold Dome to preserve it. Let's see what happens.
Tyler 11:13 a.m. Steve, what city are more 'out-of-towners' impressed with... OKC or Tulsa?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. I think both cities have their own charm and challenges. I'm not an out-of-towner, so I'm the wrong guy to ask.
Bob 11:14 a.m. Pretty bold statement, Nick. Why do you say that?
Mike 11:14 a.m. Steve, are there any interesting ideas for what the Cox Convention Center may become after the new convention center is built? Does that seem like a good place for the Pei planned Galleria?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Not yet. As for a Galleria shopping mall, oh, no.... no, no, no.... that failed experiment is history, and needs to remain history.
Nick 11:15 a.m. Any progress on the apartments going in between Oklahoma Ave and I-235?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Let's see.... maybe
Nick 11:15 a.m. What are your thoughts on this - Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward reconnect and form a new energy company for OKC and build it like they did with CHK? Just totally unlikely?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. People keep suggesting this possibility. But think about this.... let's say I'm Mr. X, and I once co-founded a company with Mr. Y. He stayed with the company, I left to start my own company. He got into some deals that drew the interest of Reuters, which led to blistering coverage that led to his downfall as CEO of the company we co-founded. Then, since Reuters was in town anyway, they started examining my company, and caused me a lot of grief. Would I have gone through that grief if Mr. Y had attracted Reuters' notice to begin with? Would I be pleased with this string of circumstances?
Sara 11:18 a.m. Yes, its Sid! I am going to make I love Sid T-Shirts!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Yea!
Guest 11:18 a.m. Steve, why do you ignore my questions?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. What question? I've not ignored any questions.
Guest 11:19 a.m. Morning all, wondering what is going on at NW 10th and Penn? heard it was to be a homeless shelter...and what to do about the homeless/peddlers, had 6 on each corner of NW 23rd and Penn!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. The Salvation Army is supposed to build a new complex at NW 10 and Penn.
Nick 11:19 a.m. Is the city going to have to use eminent domain to get the Santa Fe Station for our transit hub?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Quite possibly.
Greg 11:20 a.m. What's your take on the Gold Dome Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. A battle is about to ensue
Guest 11:20 a.m. This issue about the Gold Dome seems concerning. What is the probability it will be able to be saved? Is there any plans for the site or is he just wanting to demolish it for the sake of demolishing it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. I suspect David Box has plans, but he's not talking.
Milton Carroll 11:20 a.m. So...since you aren't worried about oge/centerpoint going to Houston, that is a total tower confirmation. Isn't it. :|
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. I'm not worried.
Pockettees 11:21 a.m. What are the new white structures in the Boat District? Is the tall one part of a zip line? Any timeline for the other 3 or 4 boathouses to start construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Yep, that's the zip line. The other boathouses are designed, work should start soon.
Doctor Taco, M.D., Ph.D., J.D. 11:21 a.m. I'll be watching Twitter for your Haiku Steve!
Nick 11:21 a.m. Steve, with the chain of command for the city existing almost exclusively of engineers, if Couch leaves, wouldn't he just be replaced by another engineer? How do we break this monopoly of engineers?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. No. Engineers have not been the usual pick for past city managers.
Mystery Tower 11:22 a.m. Tell us something you can't tell us. Please?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. I slept three hours last night and I am in desperate need of a nap. But that's not what you're looking for, now is it?
Gary T 11:23 a.m. Do you think the potential success of 200 for Her will help spur more retail development downtown? I would love to see an upscale men's clothing store near it downtown to complement it.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Yep.
Gary T 11:23 a.m. It seems like the intersection of EK Gaylord, RS Kerr and Broadway is a great gateway to DT from AA, yet only a Chase drive thru and a parking garage take up that corner. Do you think once something is done across the street where the city offices were once proposed is developed we might see something happen there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. I don't know. You're talking about the triangle that the chamber wanted, and then it was bought by an affiliate of SandRidge, and now that's all crazy murky...
Pockettees 11:24 a.m. With the elevation difference in the new canal extension, I'm doubting they are going to connect it so that the canal boats can continue. What will the water connection look like? Waterfall, or just two different canals connected with stairs and walkways?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. I can't remember, but I seem to recall steps, an elevator and some sort of water feature.
Morpheus 11:25 a.m. What's the next step in the Oklahoman's process of moving Downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Completion of designs, construction.
Guest 11:25 a.m. Excuse my joke about driving newspaper sales with the Mystery Tower, it was only that, a joke. You've done a great job on this tower. If the newspaper thing doesn't work out, you should consider the CIA the way you keep things a secret. haha.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. I know. That's why I did the follow-up comment. And note my prior comment about three hours of sleep!
Nick 11:26 a.m. Steve, why doesn't OKC get more of the innovative pub/bar culture that seems to be far more prevalent in Tulsa? I think Tulsa's successes would all do very well here. I know some people aren't into "copying" ideas or bringing in "chains", but I think some second locations of these awesome pubs would be great in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. I hear ya.
Bob 11:26 a.m. Steve, have you had a chance to peek inside the new Dunlap Codding offices? The new neon sign is a nice touch.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. No, and I really want to!
Pockettees 11:26 a.m. Who needs and 'In and Out' when you have S&Bs, Tuckers, and Irmas?!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Amen
Richard 11:27 a.m. Haters gonna hate on the design of the midtown parking garage. If it was plain and boring heads would role and people would complain and show examples of forward thinking designs in other cities. Can't win em all I guess.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Steve, I take back what I said, you don't hate me. Thanks for answering my questions!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. You're "guest" - how can I be hostile to a "guest'?
Pockettees 11:27 a.m. More timelines questions, when will the Century Center/OPUBCO and Grayhound Bus Station begin transformation?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. Century Center move is slated for first half of 2014. I don't know Greyhound.
Guest 11:28 a.m. Steve, are you happy the 'fist pump' is going out of style (coming from an Oklahoman living in Jersey)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I have no idea what you are talking about.
Nick 11:28 a.m. Steve, on Twitter the P180 account said that Walker had been restriped for "future development", but when pressed, they never gave a timeline. Was this a lie by Wenger to get his street wider? Was it related to Mystery Tower? Was it something else entirely?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Check out my posts yesterday at OKC Central.
Guest 11:29 a.m. We've been able to target Stage Center as a possible site for Mystery Tower #1 and the parking around north of the Art Museum for Mystery Tower #2. If and when we get a Mystery Tower #3, what area in the downtown area would you look at?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Probably Core to Shore
Nick 11:29 a.m. Plaza Parking Garage!
Jeff Bruno 11:29 a.m. Are you a fan of The Walking Dead?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. No.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Steve, do you know any people from New Jersey living in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Yes. But they've lived here a long time.
Nick 11:30 a.m. Have you heard anything about Equal Energy relocating to OKC from Canada?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Add another name to the rumor list.
Gary T 11:30 a.m. Steve, any more tower hints you would like to give your loyal readers and contributors to this chat?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Things are still moving forward.
Nick 11:31 a.m. Steve, you say for now, are you leaving the Oklahoman or having your duties changed?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Not to my knowledge.
John p. 11:31 a.m. No questions, just like to thank you for the okc central blog. It's awesome.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Thanks.
Prince Harry 11:31 a.m. Steve, what 'national restaurant chains' want to locate downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Panera Bread, Denny's, Applebee's and Dunkin' Donuts have all, I am told, shown interest in locating downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Oh, and Burger King too.
Jennifer 11:32 a.m. Will the Tower Theater ever be turned into the awesome music venue it could be similar to Brady or Cains in Tulsa?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I wish!
Prince Harry 11:32 a.m. I agree Stevo. Well said! - From England
Greg 11:32 a.m. I'm glad this is part of your gig. It's always very informative. Thanks for your efforts!
Nick 11:32 a.m. Steve, is more housing coming to downtown? As I walked around last night, it was pretty dead. However, the patio at Flint was hopping!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Yes, hundreds of new units are being planned...
erich 11:33 a.m. Steve anymore noise coming out about another attempt to get a grand prix race in okc
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Probably. But nothing final yet.
Waffles 11:33 a.m. Will the bricktown canal ever be expanded further west or southwest? I know its still a draw for visitors, but i do not find it fun to go from chelinos down to the Landrun monument and thats it. Maybe looping it around the new Convention center and down reno in front of the Peak to come full circle in downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. The current leadership at City Hall has not shown serious interest in such an extension.
Tyler 11:34 a.m. Steve, I was just messing around about the daddy question. I'm sorry to hear about your father.
erich 11:34 a.m. Talking about the Maps 3 projects is the new expo center at the firagrounds one of those that could not see the light of day?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Not sure what you mean
Nick 11:34 a.m. Steve, your post at OKCCentral this morning made it sound like you're hearing from a lot of trepidatious folks regarding CHK and SandRidge. How truly precarious are the situations at those two companies, which stand in such stark contrast to how Devon and Continental have been managed?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. People have lost their jobs. People are scared.
Nick 11:35 a.m. Losing SandRidge is possible, but is it likely?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I won't bet for or against it.
Nick 11:35 a.m. Aren't the renderings on their fundraising page? It looked very suburban. (Referencing Sunbeam)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Let me check it out.
Guest 11:35 a.m. With Lady Luck on our side, it might not be a bad thing to see Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward teaming up again to start a new venture in OKC...
Waffles 11:36 a.m. ?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. !
Nearby Resident 11:36 a.m. Any chance we get something like a Fassler Hall here in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Yes.
Gary T 11:36 a.m. To Tyler at 11:03 am, I post when the chat starts taking questions at 9:30am and I usually post rapidly to get them out of the way so I can enjoy the rest of the chat. The questions are posted to Steve as they come in, he does not choose which ones to answer.
TJ 11:36 a.m. When is the City going to put a concerted effort into overall beautification efforts? It's great that they are spending 3/4 mil in Bricktown, but overall the City streets/landscaping/lighting/maintenance is rundown. We don't have a lot of natural beauty, so the City is going to have to sink a lot into faking it.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Another bond issue is coming up, and this one may be quite different due to the city having caught up with widenings, etc. Call your councilman and make the pitch.
Chad 11:37 a.m. What's the likelihood of the Gold Dome demolition permit request being granted? Is it on a preservation registry, and if so, what is involved with getting the demoliton approved?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. At city level? Not good. Don't be surprised if this ends up being resolved in court.
Jerry 11:37 a.m. Thanks again for your work, Steve. For someone new to learning about city planning and urban design, do you have any recommendations for books or other essential reading (besides your reporting, of course) on these topics?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Not to be self serving, but my first book OKC Second Time Around has a lot of history on this topic. Also check out Urban Builder, Jane Jacobs' Life and Death of an American City is essential, as is the Power Broker, the biography of Robert Moses in NYC. Jeff Speck's Walkable City is another good pick.
COMMANDER MUBOPPA 11:39 a.m. Hey Steve, thanks for all the coverage and insight you provide. Any idea off the top of your head the status of "brain drain" in OKC/Oklahoma? With all the redevelopment going into the downtown area, are we still losing a significant amount of young professionals or are those numbers plateauing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. The brain drain in OKC is far less than it was 20 years ago. I think things are much better in this regard.
Lt. Colonel Kally Sern 11:40 a.m. For those of us who would actually like to see a thriving central Oklahoma that includes walkable, livable communities and multi-modal transit options, how the heck do you approach/engage these Agenda 21 nutters?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. I have no idea.
Grannie 11:40 a.m. Thank you for your remarks about newspapers. I grew up in the busiess, and find the need to read the paper irrepressible. You just can't get to the meat of the news in 15 second sound bites. I must admit that I read more online than actual ink and paper these days, due to vision problems. Sign me, "The old printer's devil."
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. God bless you.
Steven 11:41 a.m. Bars = quality of life? LOL I think we need to check the quality of our morals! I'm a young professional the city works so hard to attract and don't think more bars is the answer.
Regal 11:41 a.m. Just a correction, Steve. I'm very familiar with Tulsa there are a large number of bars in both the Brady AND the Blue Dome Districts, which just goes to prove my earlier point about OKC's lack of bar districts.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Different perspectives, I guess.
Guest 11:41 a.m. Steve, where is the link you discussed earlier on NewsOK to give our opinion?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Oops. It was there earlier. I'll try to post something later on my blog.
Nick 11:42 a.m. Why doesn't Box consider letting the Prohibition Room come back into the Gold Dome just to earn some money?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Because he shut it all down.
Tim 11:42 a.m. What is ACOG's role in OKC's future?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. They are part of the planning discussion....
Rod 11:43 a.m. Heard a rumor from someone in the banking industry that a new mall will be built out west OKC. Anything to it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. I can't imagine that in light of the Factory Outlet Mall already being out there. But one never knows...
Joe 11:43 a.m. Do you know if Mayor Cornett still opposes OKC helping fund rail between Norman and OKC? I remember he said didn't like the idea of subsidizing people to live in Norman and work in OKC (versus living and working in OKC), which is a fallacious argument.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. I'll let him speak for himself.
Nick 11:44 a.m. Steve, is that really what led to Reuters reporting of SandRidge? If so, that seems to effectively kill any chances of X and Y reuniting.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Would Reuters have really focused attention on SandRidge if they weren't already in town?
Nick 11:44 a.m. Including the OU boathouse?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. I think so.
Nick 11:44 a.m. Who picks the city manager? The mayor? Council?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. The city manager is hired/fired by five or more of the mayor and council.
Aubrey McClendon 11:45 a.m. Where should I go next?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. The real Aubrey McClendon already knows the answer to this question and already on to his next adventure.
Guest 11:45 a.m. Does the Film District have an Association or Committee formed yet? Who has input on the growth and progress of the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Chip Fudge is the guiding force...
Nick 11:46 a.m. Is the OKC Chamber still interested in new digs downtown? After the battle over that lot, those rumors died down. What's the latest?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Yes. Not sure where they will end up though.
Jerry 11:46 a.m. Teena Hicks Company is a great upscale men's clothing store in the Oklahoma Tower.
Nick 11:46 a.m. Can you believe I-44/I-235 interchange is going to take a decade to redo? And there are at least two other interchanges that need just as much work. Unreal.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Yes. And it will hurt.
Nick 11:47 a.m. Richard, we've seen far better designs on parking garages than what they proposed for Midtown.
Guest 11:47 a.m. I heard any rumor that the softball hall of fame was going to relocate downtown and build a 40+ story tower of indoor softball fields. Any truth to this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. No, no, no....
Nick 11:47 a.m. Steve, how's the Edge progressing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. IIt's under construction.
Sid Burgess 11:47 a.m. Just an FYI, Enogex/CNP conference call is complete and no mention of headquarters location.
Nick 11:47 a.m. Not a rumor. Look at OKCTalk. They're coming here.
Grannie 11:48 a.m. When OCU Law moves to Old Central, will they retain the small but interesting Central High Museum?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. I don't know
Ben 11:48 a.m. In the future, how do you think you'll look back at all this Golden Dome drama which has spanned almost a decade?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Not sure
Craug 11:48 a.m. I sure like what Sandridge has downtown. What are your thoughts about the work being completed now with the leadership changes?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. Braniff is beautiful.
Liz 11:49 a.m. My son was thinking of renting an apt. around 12 and Dewey. We live out of state now. Is this a safe area? And what are they building across the street from this location?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. yes, that area is safe now, and a lot of fun. They're building the Edge apartments across the street.
Sid Burgess 11:50 a.m. Equal Energy announcement: Specific quote about moving to OKC - "The culmination of the strategic review process also resulted in the complete exit of Equal from its Canadian operations. We are in the process of relocating our head office and transitioning management to Oklahoma City. The combined interest and general and administrative cost savings total over $7 million as a result of the debt reduction and focus of our operations in Oklahoma."
Guest 11:50 a.m. Mystery Tower #1...
Nick 11:50 a.m. Dunkin Donuts! I need a french crueller asap.
Guest 11:50 a.m. Mystery Tower #1... a) 30-40 Floors b) 41-50 Floors c) 51-60 Floors... Same question for Mystery Tower #2?
Jeff 11:50 a.m. What's this I hear about a mystery tower being built Downtown? j/k
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. I have no idea.
Nick 11:51 a.m. Any word on Pachinko Parlor's replacement? Don't tell me they're waiting on a quiet zone, haha.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. No update yet
Mike 11:51 a.m. It seems like the City would benefit having an Architect or Urban Design expert in the mix with the over-abundance of engineers.
5Alive 11:51 a.m. Steve...your Friday morning chats are "Appointment Reading". Much thanks!
Satan 11:52 a.m. I'm late to the party, but Nick might be on to something with Couch replaced by the engineers. The early city managers were mainly engineers. Most notably ODOT legend H E Bailey and airport builder Red Mosier. Admittedly that was 75 years ago but just sayin...
Nick 11:52 a.m. Why doesn't Brown's Bakery clean up their property?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. He's talked abou ti.
Richard 11:52 a.m. Any updates on the Indian Cultural Museum?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Nope.
Punchy 11:52 a.m. Oklahoma needs more Waffle Houses. Agree?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. I've never been to Waffle House.
Nick 11:53 a.m. Excellent question TJ! I've wondered the same thing...
Tyler 11:53 a.m. Touche, Gary, touche. You're the man!
Satan 11:53 a.m. Steve, do you see anything cool on the horizon for the fates of Villa Teresa and now Sunbeam. Those are great buildings with rich traditions.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. Not yet.
I forgot 11:53 a.m. What is the chances that the Condos going to be built downtown at SC will be broken into two or three medium sized towers and not a 65 story tower?
Nick 11:53 a.m. If there are truly interested parties, why doesn't Box just sell it and let someone else try and save it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. I don't know.
Tyler 11:53 a.m. Steve, is there a moderator for these chats or do they go directly to you?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I am the only guy in the kitchen right now.
Tyler 11:54 a.m. Steve, can I please get a shout-out for my friend Brendan? He is a big MLS fan and would love to see a team in OKC. Is this a possibility?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. It's been attempted in the past. I can see it happening in the future.
Grannie 11:54 a.m. to Jerry: I received two nice paperbacks about OKC for Christmas. Images of America, Oklahoma City Statehood to 1930 and (same title) 1930 to the Millennium.
Lambeau 11:54 a.m. Can you give us an update you heard any future plans regarding the Adventure District?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. Not really. I haven't been able to focus much attention on that area in a while.
Nick 11:55 a.m. Better hangout options are definitely a QOL issue.
Ben 11:55 a.m. How closely are you following your own company's downtown move?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. My editor seems to think I still won't show up at the office....
Jeff 11:56 a.m. We need a rail from Choctaw to OKC!!!
Regal 11:56 a.m. Bars = one of many aspects of quality of life for some young professionals, Steven. Everyone does not have to share your habits or morals. That's why big cities provide many options, which is was the initial point about the lack of quality bar district options in OKC.
Tyler 11:56 a.m. Steve, is a MLS team a possibility in OKC? I believe a team could thrive in this city. Soccer is the world's sport.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Yes, I agree.
Nick 11:56 a.m. Wow, I'd imagine that Tom is not Aubrey's biggest fan then. I really didn't know this, but that's interesting stuff. Man, what a shame this whole CHK thing has been.
Nick 11:56 a.m. Do you know what Aubrey is doing next?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Working on that...
Nick 11:56 a.m. Can we get a chamber update? Do they even know where they want to go?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I'm aware they're looking....
Clem Shiver 11:57 a.m. Steve, can you tell us anything about the future of Crossroads Mall?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Not right now.
Nick 11:57 a.m. haha, Equal is small I think. At this point, we have rumors for Mystery Towers 1-4 and probably won't see a single one.
Tyler 11:57 a.m. They should make apartments in the mystery tower!
Nick 11:57 a.m. New signage for CHK Arena. Is CHK going to have to get out of their sponsorship agreement?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I don't know.
Prince Harry 11:57 a.m. Best city/town for architecture outside of OKC/Tulsa? Guthrie?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Guthrie and Bartlesville.
Waffles 11:58 a.m. i agree Punchy, there should be more waffle houses, and Steve you should go try one. Stack of waffles and chees eggs, yumm
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Folks, we've hit two hours. I've got to go now. Have a great weekend.
Grannie 12:00 p.m. THANKS
Nick 12:00 p.m. Get some rest Steve.
by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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