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.
Which district do you see developing faster? 23rd Street or Film District? Where would you personally start a business if you had to choose between these two districts?
That's a good question. I think they're very different animals. Film Row is a bit ahead of 23rd, but the potential with 23rd, and the work to be done, is much greater. Film Row is becoming a mix of creative firms, corporate offices, a sprinkling of eateries and a home for our city's growing film community. I've heard several folks dream of making 23rd similar to Austin's South Congress Street. And I can see that.
How long will the construction of Oklahoma Health Care Authority's headquarters on Lincoln take?
Renovation of the former Lincoln Plaza at 4345 N Lincoln Blvd. began several weeks ago. As reported by Oklahoman Real Estate Editor Richard Mize, when finished, the transformed property will also be larger, a total of about 160,000 square feet, thanks to a 35-foot-deep addition across the front, which faces Lincoln Boulevard. The healthcare authority expects to move into the property by early 2014.
What do you think will be the best use of Union Station once the park is completed? Event space with a restaurant attached?
Hard to say. Because of federal transportation grants used to renovate the property when it was turned into the offices of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, I'm told use of the building has to be transit related unless those funds are paid back. With proper planning and operation, the potential with this property is pretty big. Restaurants, shops, event space, displays and exhibits... this could become quite the community center.
What's next for Steve Mason and his investment group?
Steve is getting pretty busy in the Plaza District, but don't be surprised to see some more announcements soon related to NW 8.
How optimistic are you that the Bricktown parking garage developer gets the go ahead next week to start work?
Well, the developer is simply deciding next week whether to move forward with the project. He'll still need to go through various reviews throughout the summer.
Can you clear up what's going on with the railroad crossings downtown? I didn't think it was quiet zone work, but is that what's going on?
Yes. The crossings, especially at NW 9, were very, very rough. They are being improved, but this work is not a part of the proposed quiet zone project.
Anything to the rumors that OKC is expanding its airport?
Not to my knowledge. Will Rogers World Airport underwent a pretty big expansion a few years ago. I know their plan allows for more gates to be built - but I'm not aware of OKC running out of gates.
What do you see for the future of lower Bricktown?
There's a lot of open space being used for surface parking. I'm not aware of much open space left for development (unless that parking were to be plowed up and a garage were built)
Besides Toby Keith's OK Kids Korral on the south end of the OUHSC campus, what else can we expect for this area?
Construction is expected to start this summer on an Embassy Suites hotel.
Would the co-op site just south of Bricktown be a nice space for a stadium for an NFL team? If this was even a possibility in the future would that area be big enough?
It's not going to happen. Not at the Coop site. Not in OKC. Not in Oklahoma. College football is too strong.