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OKC Central Chat transcript, June 21, 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: June 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm •  Published: June 21, 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 11:02 a.m. Good morning everybody!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Sorry for the late start today - I'm now at OKC Central home office (Beatnix Cafe in MidTown). I just returned from a press conference at the Gold Dome announcing its sale and planned renovation into the headquarters for TEEMCO.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Let's get started, shall we?
Larry Lobster 11:04 a.m. How annoyed would you be if the Mystery Tower turned out to be a Waffle House?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Annoyed? I'm simply impressed you found a way to combine the two topics into one question!
Bob 11:04 a.m. Nice article in today's paper. Even though I don't really care for how they restored the back of the building, where did the Braniff building fall in your list?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Bob, my list only addressed new ground up construction. Maybe I'll do a separate list on renovation/preservation projects. And if I do, I suspect the Braniff Building would second only to the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. Tom Ward has a great legacy with the Braniff.
Jonas Miller 11:06 a.m. Steve, you're the man! and don't forget it. This chat is awesome and you manage it perfectly. Don't let these crazy waffle house people get to you. Best!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Thanks Jonas!
Dr. Jo Harding 11:07 a.m. Steve, in your opinion, what will your legacy be in Oklahoma City? What will your approval rating be? You will go down as one of the all time greats, in my opinion. Your work is glorious. You are the man. LACKMEYER FOR MOST AWESOME OKLAHOMAN!! WHO'S WITH ME? GARY T? NICK? SOONERGIRL? MYSTERY TOWER? MICK? KEVIN? RUSSELL?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. I want my legacy to be that I raised two great sons. That's what is most important to me.
Gary T 11:08 a.m. Good morning Steve. Sorry for so many questions last week. I didn't realize how much my barrage of early questions delayed everyone elses equally important questions. I will limit mine to three or four from now on unless participation is low.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. Gary, please don't hesitate to ask questions. Unless I've got the cap the chat, I want quality first. And your questions are always good and welcome.
Gary T 11:10 a.m. If you were to pinpoint one thing you thought was holding OKC back on more rapid growth, what would it be? Liquor laws? Mass transit? Quality of schools? Roads? Other?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Quality of schools, followed by a tie between transit and liquor laws. I really don't see how our roads are holding us back - and the aggressive widening program Oklahoma City has pursued the past 20 years may actually be causing sprawl and other burdensome bad growth we may eventually regret.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. FYI - MidTown is experiencing brown-outs this morning, so this chat may get interrupted from time to time.
Gary T 11:13 a.m. Let's assume the Stage Center is going to be a corporate headquarters, Devon will expand onto the Preftakes block and the convention center hotel will be on the new convention center site. When the Cox Convention Center is torn down and redeveloped, what do you see replacing it? Could you see a residential high rise there? Would a portion of the eastern part be reserved for more mass transit expansion?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Well, you can make those assumptions.
I think a discussion will occur first on whether the entire Cox Center block is razed, or whether the old Cox arena should be retained and only the exhibit halls are torn down. Either way, that site is prime land, and yeah, it could turn into offices, housing or both.
Gary T 11:15 a.m. The Boulevard obviously has to go over Shield/EK Gaylord to clear the rail line. How is it going to connect to EK Gaylord/Shields and do you see the eastern portion of the boulevard opening before the rest of it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. The elevation will change. E.K. Gaylord/Shields (can we please just go with one name for the road north of the I-40 junction?) and we will have an at grade intersection. The eastern segment of the boulevard is far less challenged, more certain than the rest of the road, so yes, I wouldn't be surprised if it gets done early in the timeline.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Loud train passing now. Brown-outs, train noise. Bless these MidTowners for all that they have to endure.
Gary T 11:18 a.m. When can we expect more news on the Uptown 23rd area, specifically the Tower Theatre?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Some big deals are about to pop soon. But I remain skeptical on any thing happening soon with the Tower Theater despite some assurances I've heard in recent weeks. I've not observed a commitment by the owner to either sell or get the project done.
KB 11:19 a.m. Option 4 for the boulevard is intriguing for sure, and the more I look at it, the more I like it. I don't know of any document which states the goals of the boulevard (if there is one, maybe you could point us there?) but if it exists I would suspect that a goal of the boulevard is increasing access to downtown, not mobility through downtown. I suspect removing the "through" aspect from the concept would result in fewer through trips, thereby reducing the traffic volumes on the road because I-40 would be a more favorable route for some destinations. This would in turn make it a more comfortable barrier for pedestrians to cross. What do you think the chances are that the planners and the Ed Shadids of the world will be able to get this alternative implemented?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. If the decision were up to the engineers? Zero chance. But there's a quiet, behind-the-scenes force at play here that can't be ignored: the federal highway administration. And they are listening to what the community is saying, and they have the power to make sure that the engineers listen as well. That then raises the odds. To what percentage? I don't know.
BethanySooner 11:21 a.m. Good morning Steve. In your blog about dangerous crossings you had a map of the south Deep Deuce/north Bricktown area. You highlighted the future development of a hotel on the south side of Sheridan just west of the new Wormy Dog Saloon location. I hadn't heard about this one. Can you give any more details?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Nope. That's all I've got for you at this moment.
Bob 11:22 a.m. Were the actions the design committee took yesterday concerning the hotel and the office building in film row a good thing? Does it make things harder on developers?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Bob, do you want it easier for developers to build a six-story yellow and blue hotel across the street from your home?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. By the way, we just got hit with fifth power flash here at Beatnix in the past half hour.
shawnw 11:25 a.m. Now that the CEO situation is settled at Sandridge and they are saying it's not for sale, what should we expect regarding their downtown projects going forward?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Here's a bonus for the live chat crowd. Tiffany Gibson, this is how to start the transcript recap. Ready?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Let's assume that both Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge stay intact and in Oklahoma City, as promised by the new CEO's of both companies. Maybe they are less prominent and aggressive in community involvement than they were under Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward. But they remain intact, they continue to employ people, and they continue doing business. That's sort of what happened with Semgroup in Tulsa.
But with McClendon, we already have a man who took no vacation, and is clearly launching another major company with American Energy.
And I can tell you this morning I have it from great sources that Tom Ward is already searching for prominent and visible downtown office space.
Oklahoma City may end up with more great companies, not less, from the fall-out of changes at Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy.
Larry T 11:30 a.m. What is going on at Chesapeake and the ousting of executives?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Change.
Matt 11:30 a.m. Did you hear about the student who drove into the main entrance of Oklahoma City CC? Guess he was in a hurry to get to class.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Yep. It's amazing my oldest, dearest friend Bobby Ross Jr. didn't pull off the same bit of chaos while we were students at Oklahoma Christian University a quarter century ago.
shawnw 11:33 a.m. Do you know if TEEMCO plans to utilize the existing restaurant space in the Gold Dome to still provide that function to the neighborhood or will it be renovated into office space?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. The Oklahoman's real estate editor Richard Mize, made a great comment about the Dome a few months ago when he spoke about how the building was designed for a single tenant, and can only work best as a single tenant building. But can there be an allowance for a restaurant where the Prohibition Room was located? I don't know And the buyers don't know yet either.
BethanySooner 11:36 a.m. Last week you presented an vision of what the East Bricktown area might look like while riding on a streetcar from the Health Sciences Center. You mentioned riding by the GE research facility. Is this one of the locations that they are considering? And if so, would this possibly satisfy OU President Boren's desire to align this business with the university, while at the same time locating it in OKC - in other words a win-win proposition?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. I don't know. I get the impression David Boren wants the GE research facility at OU in Norman, and he's playing to win.
Eric 11:37 a.m. Steve, is anyone still trying to fight for the round-about idea for the blvd? Seems to have disappeared from the conversation.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. There are probably some voices still going for it. My observation, after watching a presentation trying to support such a design for the boulevard, was that the examples shown did not have any new urban development abutting these junctions. They did not appear to be good for building a downtown.
Waffleton 11:39 a.m. i have noticed the last few weeks that First National Tower has not been lit up at night, are they working on improvements?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. I need to check on this. I noticed this too - and it seemed to follow the flooding that knocked out a lot of underground electrical boxes downtown.
Guest 11:40 a.m. What's up with all the power outages downtown lately?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. Yeah!
Jabba 11:40 a.m. Any truth to the rumors that Oklahoma City will be hosting the World Dodgeball Championships?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. I don't know. But early childhood trauma would prevent me from wanting to attend the games.
C&C Question Factory 11:41 a.m. Steve, I wanted to give you a formal apology - I have been one of the ones riding you hard lately in the forum. I don't know you personally, but I do know that you're an outstanding reporter and, from what I gather, person. Thank you for your continued awesomeness in reporting the facts. And I am sorry for giving you such grief.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Thanks. That's very kind of you. Yes, I've chosen to lay low at OKC Talk, not participate in the forum chats. There's a lot of good on that board, but there are a couple of people who are very intolerant of questions and discussions that don't go their way.
Nick 11:42 a.m. Steve, can you give us some hints about the story you were excited about on Twitter that you're finally nailing down?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. The story was today! An Edmond company is buying the Gold Dome and is set to renovate it into their headquarters. I was hoping to break this story last weekend, but as with all real estate transactions, delays can happen.
C&C Question Factory 11:43 a.m. Also, what do you envision the future holding for the empty lots Uptown on the south side of 23rd? I'd love to see a 4-6 story residential mixed-use building or two on that stretch.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. I think that's a great idea. But reality might dictate that some of them, especially the one across from the Tower Theater, will be paved into surface parking.
Eric 11:44 a.m. Second blvd question, why does ODOT think that we need another high speed, high volume east/west road in the downtown area? Downtown rarely feels like its so crowded with traffic its going to burst, and i40 seems wide enough to handle burden alone for decades to come.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. Because those overseeing the boulevard project at ODOT are engineers. They are engrained with thinking about moving as much traffic in and out of downtown as fast as possible. While they say they understand walkability and modern planning, I have never sensed they truly believe in it, or have made a genuine change in their thinking.
Waffleton 11:46 a.m. What is the next game changer in downtown development in your opinion?Already planned or in planning ex: The new park, street car, boulevard, mystery tower(s), infill of midtown bricktown & deep deuce. I would think once they get the park completed it will catapult development in the area around the river between byars and western
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. The elementary school will be huge, and combined with the new MAPS 3 Core to Shore park, could trigger a wave of new housing development.
BethanySooner 11:47 a.m. Last week you responded to a question regarding the Mystery tower by saying that back in March your answer as to who the company would be is different than today. Either the former frontrunner has fallen off the map or there are indeed currently two towers in the process of being erected. Which is it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. The front-runner was knocked out by a competitor. No one willingly dropped out.
Linda 11:47 a.m. What is up with the power outages downtown the last few weeks?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. I don't know, but I'm asking.
Eric 11:48 a.m. Last blvd question/statement: I was unable to attend the public meeting this week and I am pretty sure you were unable to as well. I will be sending in my comments later to ODOT but, is there anything right now Steve that you would like to say to the ODOT employees reading this/ any comments on what you would like to see in the final design? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. The video of the meeting is posted at OKC Central. Yes - why can't there be a full intersection at Lee Avenue in the Alternate C design?
Guest 11:48 a.m. When is MidtownR going to start work on the garage on 10th St? Didn't they have an agreement to start work by a certain date?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Yep. It should start up soon.
BethanySooner 11:49 a.m. If the new boulevard is replaced predominantly with a return to the street grid, is Federal funding still in play or would we need to finance the street improvements through the City coffers? If the funding is still there it would seem that that money could go a lot further with streetscaping to the west as well as 3rd street in front of the new Convention Center and the new 'Union Park'. There would also be new parcels of land that could be redeveloped and fewer areas bisected by an I-40 lite.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. These questions have yet to be answered.
George 11:49 a.m. Steve without a doubt in my mind, the ugliest building downtown is the giant yellow brick box that i think att is in on the north side of the central business district. When was that built and why does the building completely lack any north facing windows?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. George, I agree completely!
Let's look at what we're talking about.
11:53 a.m.
The ugliest scar on the downtown Oklahoma City skyline?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. I took this photo just yesterday when my older son looked up and asked "why is that building not finished?" He has noticed it repeatedly, and thought it looked ugly. I've heard this remark by others. I've been told by past at&t officials the microwave relay equipment is junk - that's it's obsolete. But it would cost $150,000 to remove it, and previous company executives have told me at&t doesn't think our skyline is worth that expenditure.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. The building itself, minus the phone company's "modifications," is actually pretty cool. Here's what it looked like in earlier times:
12:01 p.m.
Pioneer Telephone building before modifications by at&t. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society
Nick 12:01 p.m. What option do you think OKC finally chooses for the downtown blvd?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. I don't know. Probably C with more modifications.
Nick 12:02 p.m. Are the Lisbon Lofts actually going to be built? There have been multiple announcements, but they never seem to get going. What's the latest?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. Notice I've never written about it. I'll write about it when I'm convinced it will happen.
Nick 12:02 p.m. We still haven't heard about the apartment announcement from the Bomasada people. Is this deal still on?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. Not until the land is bought.
guy 12:02 p.m. Who takes over the building you're in now once the Oklahoman moves downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. American Fidelity has purchased the OPUBCO building and will be moving its operations from NW 22 and Classen.
Animal Mother 12:03 p.m. In 10 years, how many people do you think will be living downtown? Do you think it's possible we could reach 30,000--a gigantic jump?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. I can see 5,000 to 10,000. But 30,000? I don't see how that happens in just one decade.
Nick 12:04 p.m. Is there truth to the rumor that the Tower Theater is going to become a music venue, similar to the Granada in Dallas?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. There are people who aspire for that.
Santanoro 12:04 p.m. Looks like 23rd street is the place to be. Have you heard of a timeline or plans for the Tower Theater?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. Everyone wants the Tower Theater to happen yesterday. Well, almost everyone. I can't figure out the owners anymore.
Nick 12:04 p.m. Now that Tom Ward is out at SandRidge, what's next for him? New companies like what Aubrey started? Also, the new CEO said SandRidge is not for sale. Do you believe him?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:05 p.m. Is SandRidge up for sale right now? No. The analysts say it just wouldn't make sense. But in five years? Who knows. As for Tom Ward, I disclosed earlier in this chat he is already looking for visible new downtown office space.
Guest 12:05 p.m. The gold dome remains a hot button topic. Isn't this simply yet another party tilting at the windmill that is that functionally obsolete building.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. Not necessarily. If renovated, and if some pragmatism is used in changing the interior (the bank teller windows might need to be gutted), it might turn into a pretty cool single tenant building. Which is what is set to happen.
Nick 12:07 p.m. Speaking of, I saw your Twitter post with your son asking about the unfinished building downtown near TAP Architecture. Are there plans to remove those hideous antennas from the top of that building?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. Nope. See prior answer.
John 12:07 p.m. Steve, just wanted to say my favorite article you have done so far this week is the one about how design matters. I love it because it is such a stark contrast to your blurb about the federal building in your 'architectural worst' blog post where at the time okc would take any development it could get downtown. I am from okc but currently do not live there, and I look forward to following downtown development through your various posts/articles and hopefully the unveiling of several new architectural gems in the near future! thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. Thank you. And if you like this new approach to The Oklahoman's coverage, please consider contacting the paper's top editors and letting them know what you think. And keep me employed by becoming a subscriber! (The online package is as inexpensive as a typical smart phone ap).
Animal Mother 12:09 p.m. Any word on the GE research building location? I'm hearing the people in Norman are quite confident they have it. I think it would fit in well in the health sciences area in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:09 p.m. No word yet. But I also don't think that folks truly have a full grasp at what's at play here either.
Ed 12:09 p.m. Hi Steve, great work! Hearing rumblings again about the Tower being redeveloped as a music venue. Are you hearing the same? Fowler?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. Music venue? Yes. Fowler? We'll see.
Santanoro 12:10 p.m. Do you have a date for the next Central Park meeting?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. No.
Jane 12:10 p.m. Steve, Brianna's article about the new direction urban renewal is taking in midtown is very exciting. How do you see this new plan changing the midtown area in the short term and in the long term?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. I think we'll see some hard to get properties flip, and it will "make" some changes take place.
Ryan 12:11 p.m. In your opinion, how long will it take to get retail downtown? Is OKC even trying to get a "mini KC Plaza" district?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:12 p.m. Tell me when the city's public works department will get restriped angled parking spaces along Auto Alley. They're taking months, and the delays are hurting the existing retailers who need the additional parking. When that parking is done, I think Auto Alley is our downtown retail corridor.
Cameron 12:12 p.m. You alluded on Twitter this morning to a reader that the offices that American Fidelity are vacating won't be empty for long. Who will we see taking those spaces? It would be a shame to see them sit empty, not to mention an economic hit to the area.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:12 p.m. Developers are considering several pitches to make to the property's owner. Don't be surprised if it also becomes a candidate for the Oklahoma City Public Schools administration.
Santanoro 12:13 p.m. With the huge success and sold out venues for deadcenter. Do you see any other artist festivals coming to OKC that are different than the typical arts festivals?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:13 p.m. I'd love to see the Myriad Gardens become home to a Christmas indie rock festival.
Peter H. 12:13 p.m. Yet another party seems determined to make a run at the gold dome. Why would they meet with any more success than the previous parties? Why save what is a functionally obsolete building with little true significance?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. Because a lot of people disagree with you.
Nick 12:14 p.m. Last week, you said your answer regarding the Mystery Tower predicted tenant would be different from what it was in March. Can you expound?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. See my answer prior in the chat.
HAL 9000 12:14 p.m. Looking at the SpringHill Suites design by Patel, it boggles the mind. Does he HONESTLY believe the design was appropriate or is he just so out of touch he can't fathom why people would protest it? It irritates me that he would even submit something so terrible. I'm sorry, Mr. Patel, I'm afraid we can't do that.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. I don't know what to think.
Kent 12:14 p.m. Sandridge is currently not for sale according to the new CEO. What is the energy desk saying about the long term prospects (+5 years) of Sandridge still being around town?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:15 p.m. They are digging into this question and I think they'll have a story soon.
Nick 12:15 p.m. Steve, do you genuinely have no idea what Preftakes is up to with his block of buildings? Or are you holding out while things develop?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:15 p.m. Preftakes holds his cards close to his vest. But.... (Tiffany Gibson, here's another item to include in the recap)....
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. Preftakes is requiring tenants to leave with no extensions at the end of their leases at 1 N Hudson (the old Hotel Black). He also has customers at the adjoining auto hotel on month-to-month contracts. The two buildings are considered historic and he knows he would face a huge and likely unsuccessful battle to tear them down. The floor plates do not work for big companies, and he's kicking out the smaller firms that are the only office users that can make this space work. So that would seem to indicate he's looking to change the use of the building.
The space would make for great housing, and could easily handle apartments or condominiums of up to 3,000 square feet. It's in a great location for housing, across from the new elementary, Devon Energy Center and the Myriad Gardens. Don't be surprised if the building is turned into housing.
Ryan 12:19 p.m. What will it take to get the ball rolling with some major retail downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. Angled parking spaces on Broadway.
Santanoro 12:19 p.m. The triangle at 4th and Gaylord/Broadway was supposed to be the new Chamber of Commerce. What is the latest news on that piece of property? I would love to see a tower there!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. An "affiliate" of SandRidge Energy bought it last year. Does that mean it is controlled by SandRidge or Tom Ward? I don't know.
Kelvin 12:20 p.m. Where exactly could one find the different options for the boulevard?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. OKC Central.
Greg 12:20 p.m. The urban developments that are taking place in downton Salt Lake City are amazing, but why is no one talking about it? This is my sleeper city...they have amazing downtown retail (City Creek Center), tremendous light rail system, a Harmon's grocery store all downtown, its amazing.
Matt 12:20 p.m. If they razed the Cox Center, what would happen to the Barons? What's their lease like with the Cox?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. I don't know.
L 12:21 p.m. What is going in the old Hall mark space at FNC. Noticed brown paper on the windows
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Good question!
Greg 12:21 p.m. If you had to move to Omaha or Louisville, soley based on urban environment and developments which would you choose, and why?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Omaha. Because they're doing some incredible things with their downtown and I like the city.
Bob 12:21 p.m. What are the chances of ever seeing Turbinomic in downtown Okc?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:22 p.m. Zero. Unless Rand Elliott wins a $2 billion lottery. Then it's on!
Guest 12:22 p.m. I wish the television news coverage would spend more time covering the weather.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:22 p.m. Subscribe to the Weather Channel
Bob 12:22 p.m. The initial plans for the boulevard is for it to go under the railroad tracks. There was some discussion about how quickly it will get back up to grade so they can make a connection to cross streets in Bricktown. I understood the complaint about the hotel...
Ryan 12:23 p.m. Do you have any word on plans by OU Health Science or Urban Renewal Authority for the neighborhood just south of OU Health Science Center and East of Lincoln???
Steve Lackmeyer 12:23 p.m. It's politically sensitive ... I think they're going to back off for a while...
Richard 12:23 p.m. Steve, why dont you think more people are talking about the Enogex/Centerpoint deal? It will result in a company with 5X the market cap of Sandridge?! Oddly stealth in my humble opinion.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:23 p.m. Because there's nothing new to report yet.
t 12:24 p.m. Found your article about archetectural gems in DT OKC to be hilaruous. Outside of Devon Tower the gems you mentioned in a couple of cases are not DT and otherwise non descript Childrens Hospital, the library really?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:24 p.m. Are you saying you think I should have listed the library?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:24 p.m. As for location, I disagree.
Mark 12:24 p.m. Steve I don't think it is any secret that well designed high quality buildings are more expensive to build than a building that may not look quite as nice on the outside. Do you see this new, more expensive design standard being set in downtown being a hindrance to further development of the urban core? and the areas immediately surrounding it? thanks for you time.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:25 p.m. I'm not sure....
Harold 12:25 p.m. Which micro-metropolitan city in Oklahoma would you say has fostered an urban mindset and why? Enid? McAlester? Bartlesville? Muskogee? Ardmore?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:25 p.m. Enid. Enid rocks. Enid has kept its density, has some great retail and restaurants, and even has it's own version of Bricktown (but in some ways it's better).
Santanoro 12:26 p.m. Are there any plans for buildings on the many surface parking lots in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:27 p.m. Yes. Don Karchmer wants to develop parking, and housing on the surface lots north of Main Street but he's facing resistance from rail advocates who think it could interfere with future rail development.
Gary T 12:27 p.m. What are the chances that with that $90 million Tom Ward got, he buys and renovates First National for office space?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:27 p.m. Tom isn't sentimental. He'd be more likely to tear it down and build new.
Mark 12:27 p.m. How much is going to cost to get to golden dome back to functionality? Is box TEEMCO going to pay for these upgrades? What did you learn from today's press meeting?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:28 p.m. Box previously estimated it might cost upwards of $250,000. I'll be writing a follow-up later today.
Sid Burgess 12:28 p.m. Deep Deuce or MidTown? ;)
Steve Lackmeyer 12:28 p.m. Deep Deuce.
ABD 12:28 p.m. What is your take on the new Lisbon Lofts proposed for SoSA and the future of for-sale housing in DT in general? I love all of the new construction down there but it concerns me long term about the lack of ownership.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:29 p.m. For sale housing is rebounding. And yes, we need more of it.
Bob 12:29 p.m. We are already seeing some fallout from the Sandridge situation with them letting their Thunder sponsership lapse
Steve Lackmeyer 12:29 p.m. Really?
Carol 12:29 p.m. If you could build something next to the new Oklahoma City Boulevard, what would it be and why?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:29 p.m. Housing and light retail.
Gary T 12:30 p.m. When can we expect work on the addition to the Journal Record building to start?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:30 p.m. When Rick Dowell is ready. He goes at his own pace.
GARY T FAN CLUB 12:30 p.m. Gary, if you ever stop asking questions, I will murder a tree.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:30 p.m. If you must murder a tree, make sure it's a Cottonwood.
Santanoro 12:30 p.m. What happened to all the Triangle projects? Are there any that are being developed or have the all been cancelled?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:31 p.m. The triangle partnership fell apart during the economic bust. But the area is developing and it's enjoying greater diversity as a result of that change.
Sid Burgess 12:31 p.m. In all seriousness, I was one inspired neighbor yesterday. Thanks for your help in getting the word out about the hotel story. I'm curious, what do you think will happen next? Do these hotel operators make a habit of meeting with neighborhoods?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:33 p.m. I doubt the guy has a choice Sid if he wants to build the hotel. Your appearance, and the protests of the other folks who took their time to go to City Hall was a game changer. You have put developers on notice. Times are changing. Those of you who showed up have started something bigger than you may even realize. Congrats.
Rob 12:33 p.m. Has Anyone Really Been Far Even as Decided to Use Even Go Want to do Look More Like?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:33 p.m. Rob, go to Waffle House and ask this question.
Jane 12:33 p.m. Steve, why did you include the myriad gardens restaurant in your architectural worst instead of something else that really is an architectural piece of junk? Such as the single story lower bricktown shack that has the fuzzies in it.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:35 p.m. The Myriad Gardens restaurant turns its back on the street. Look at it from Robinson Avenue. What about that design makes you want to see what's inside? It's a blank wall. And the panels are showing the same signs of staining that have occurred at the downtown Ronald J. Norick Library. The Lower Bricktown Residence Inn acts as a symbol of all the bad architecture that has been committed in Lower Bricktown.
Nick 12:36 p.m. In your opinion.. and JUST in your opinion. DO you see a Stage Center announcement in the next 30, 60, or 90 days?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:36 p.m. Or sooner?
Santanoro 12:36 p.m. What is with the empty lots on the east side of Broadway from 13th to 16th? That strip pretty much ends the urban flow. It would be great if something was built there? Do you know anything about all of that property?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:37 p.m. Yep. The lots on the east side are owned by Dolese and I don't see them getting developed. They act as a buffer to their operations. The empty lots on the west side, on each side of the Garage Lofts, could be developed if a concept comes up that might win the approval of Heritage Hills.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:37 p.m. Guys, you're exhausting me here....
Santanoro 12:37 p.m. I am so happy the Gold Dome is staying and being refurbished. It truly is iconic! What is going to happen to the Record story on the opposite corner of 23rd and Classen. I love that Art Deco building.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:38 p.m. I love it too. But nothing seems to be imminent.
Jess 12:38 p.m. Steve all seems quiet, too quiet if you ask me around First National considering it was in such a focus of attention just a few months ago. Any thing new to report on going on over there, is there anything going on over there? I am just curious about a general update on the property.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:38 p.m. I am too.
Gene 12:38 p.m. Does anyone live in the huge apartment thats on top of the City Place building?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:38 p.m. Yes. One resident is Councilwoman Meg Salyer.
Things Need to Move Faster Around Here 12:38 p.m. Any info this week about Classen Curve/ Nichols Hills Plaza?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:38 p.m. No. Not from me.
Mark 12:38 p.m. Have you visited the newly redone Petroleum Club in the Chase/Cotter Ranch tower? It's pretty cool up there! I am assuming they need to compete with Vast.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:38 p.m. Yeah. I need to do an update on that.
Kevin Durant 12:39 p.m. I will be better than Lebron James. I will not let you down, OKC!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:39 p.m. Keep Westbrook healthy, OK?
Craig 12:39 p.m. What is the latest update on non-chain restaurants entering the metro? Are we doomed to have Louie's Republic on every corner still???
Steve Lackmeyer 12:39 p.m. No.
Jane 12:39 p.m. Have you had a chance to talk to the guys over at MidtownR and get a peak at what their 'vision' for the area is? Any chance you know whats next for them besides the car garage?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:40 p.m. They're staying busy. Let's keep it at that for now.
Santanoro 12:40 p.m. Any news on your new headquarters downtown? Will there be restaurants and retail in the new OPUBCO headquarters?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:40 p.m. The deal is still moving forward to my knowledge.
Sowa 12:40 p.m. You can be on my dodgeball team, steve.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:40 p.m. You're doomed to lose...
Kevin Durant 12:41 p.m. Steve, in your opinion, what is your opinion?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:41 p.m. You're awesome.
Santanoro 12:41 p.m. These last few weeks have been so exciting with all the news downtown. I don't know how you are getting any sleep. Have you been to the New Po Boy place? Do they serve cajun food as well?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:41 p.m. Yep. They're great.
Jane 12:41 p.m. Do you think the mystery tower will be included in future lists of architectural gems or just a very normal 'typical' office building? I am excited for the announcement either way and look forward to seeing our skyline grown.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:41 p.m. I hope so!
Things Need to Move Faster Around Here 12:41 p.m. Will the new owners of the Gold Dome also clean up the exterior to help rid that corner of its skid row look? I would rather see it torn down than exist as the eyesore it is. Also the corner diagonal to it is also a disgrace- empty buildings, very messy. Any word on what might happen there?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:41 p.m. I don't know...
Nick 12:42 p.m. Is Land Run Real Estate still proceeding with the Rise as envisioned?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:42 p.m. Yep.
Craig 12:42 p.m. What is the NEXT thing that will enter the OKC metro area that will build or bring some unique character to the city? Be advised, the answer is NOT 4 more Earl's Restaurants....
Steve Lackmeyer 12:42 p.m. Mission Chinese???
Santanoro 12:42 p.m. Do you see the growth of Deep Deuce/Bricktown/23rd street moving east to Lincoln? It would be great to have retail, residential, and restaurants tieing OUHSC and the Capitol closer to downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:42 p.m. Yes.
Derrick 12:42 p.m. In your opinion, What makes the Gold dome historic and worth saving?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:42 p.m. My answer is too long to get into here, but I'll do something later at OKC Central
Jane 12:43 p.m. If I recall correctly Mayor Mick said he wanted the blvd to be a showcase road for okc, something people drive and think 'wow this is cool' instead of blasting 50mph out of the city on. Why has he not been more vocal in this debate? Has he been saving his opinion for meetings behind the scene?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:43 p.m. Yes, I've observed this too....
James 12:43 p.m. Steve you have been cranking out some awesome articles these last few weeks, keep up the good work!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:43 p.m. Thanks!
Craig 12:44 p.m. This chat bugs me. WHY are people so concerned about towers, buildings, and garages???? The city needs attractions, no? Towers, buildings, and garages aren't where it's at, right???
Steve Lackmeyer 12:44 p.m. I hear you....
Things Need to Move Faster Around Here 12:44 p.m. I follow a blog that recently mentioned the OKC city council is considering passing some laws this fall that will also include provisions to allow urban agriculture (e.g. people being able to have gardens, a few chickens, etc. in the city area). Any word on this? I would like to see some "green" progress along with all of the architectural progress.
Molly 12:44 p.m. Steve, you are one of my favorite people to follow on twitter, what was the most significant thing(s) you took away from playing Mr. Mom this week?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:44 p.m. It's exhausting. And fun. And exhausting.
Tyler 12:45 p.m. Any word on whether or not The Hill is going to keep building at the pace they're currently building?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:45 p.m. They are building now.
Derrick 12:45 p.m. Can you elaborate on the streetcar plan mentioned in previous posts. Why not start from scratch with a high speed train and do it right.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:45 p.m. I don't know.
Animal Father 12:45 p.m. Steve, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:45 p.m. In five years? Teaching my older son to drive.
Craig 12:46 p.m. Everyone wants to see a tower everywhere. How about we put something IN a tower that we all want to go to, and that people from out of state want to come to???
Jennifer 12:46 p.m. Steve how is the news Women's clothing store doing downtown? I would assume you are not a frequent shopper over there but just curious if you new if things were panning out as well as they had hoped and if they had enjoyed being downtown. thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:46 p.m. I see people shopping there, and I'm hearing good reviews.
James 12:46 p.m. Gaillardia. Whoa. I am not a member, but I still feel like that one came out of left field. How did you guys over at the Oklahoman get wind of this. specifically how did you tip Brianna off about the golf carts?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:47 p.m. I have my sources....
Jesse 12:47 p.m. What ever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, and evening tv?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:47 p.m. Stupid internet.
James 12:47 p.m. Whats in store for okccentral this week?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:47 p.m. Before and after.
Nick 12:48 p.m. What's the hold up on the angled parking along Broadway?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:48 p.m. public works
Animal Father 12:48 p.m. So many new people today? What's going on??
Steve Lackmeyer 12:48 p.m. Yeah, what's going on?!???
guest 12:48 p.m. what are the chances that there will actually be some redevelopment of the Pioneer telephone building I actually love the art deco style (minus the antenna0 any chance ATT would relocate their switch bulding to a more industrial area?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:48 p.m. I don't know...
KB 12:48 p.m. Is Public Works doing the more-modern back-in-angle parking for Automobile Alley or will it be head-in?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:48 p.m. No, they're looking at regular head in parking.
Craig 12:49 p.m. Steve - Not for posting on the chat....but be VERY wary of TEEMCO. I know former employees of theirs that can tell you they are a ponzi scheme involved in very fraudulent activity. I'm not sure the city or anyone else knows, or is on to, this.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:49 p.m. Craig, please contact me. I promise to keep your identity quiet.
Nick 12:49 p.m. What kind of timeline do you think we're looking at when it comes to the Rock Island Plow Building? Does work start this year?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:50 p.m. Not sure... but soon...
Guest 12:50 p.m. What happened to the Lunchbox?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:50 p.m. I never could get a straight answer...
Eric 12:50 p.m. How much money do you think Sue Ann is gonna squeeze out of Harold? Do you know how much it would have to be so that Harold would own less than 50% of Continental?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:50 p.m. She's going to get enough money that she can buy me lunch.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:50 p.m. Repeatedly. And often. For life.
Nick 12:51 p.m. Steve, do you have any renderings of the Maywood Phase II from 4th St?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:51 p.m. Yes, I published them with a story last week.
James 12:51 p.m. Steve, please don't even hypothetically mention First National being torn down. That would such a horrible loss for okc I can't even think about it!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:51 p.m. Sorry. Don't worry. It won't happen.
Craig 12:51 p.m. TEEMCO advises landowners that they are in violation of Federal Law regarding spill plans, and then scares them into paying premiums for new spill plans that are "compliant" when they are not. They have no environmental engineer assessing the plans they sell, and they pull their info from the internet, rather than providing EPA quality plans. They offer a catalog of products that they do not have, and when someone orders them, they point the purchaser to inferior quality products or scramble to manufacture something similar to what they falsely advertised and then pocket the money. TEEMCO will not be around very long. Seriously...research this, or send another media member onto the story. I know multiple former employees that will support this.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:52 p.m. OK Craig, we'll look into it.
Jane 12:52 p.m. Does any city you know of in the U.S. have something similar to what the boulevard needs to be? A beautiful tree lined street with parking on the side, light retail on either side with some housing thrown in? I was just thinking that maybe if they had something to look at it could help the ODOT engineers see the vision.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:52 p.m. Yes.
Molly 12:52 p.m. Do you ever read The Lost Ogle?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:52 p.m. Yes. It's a great mommy blog.
Calcium Kid 12:52 p.m. Did you hear about the bats invading the south part of town?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:52 p.m. LOL
Nick 12:53 p.m. I thought the Heritage Trust Co. owned the Journal Record Bldg. You've repeatedly said the city doesn't like the idea they've proposed for that building. Have things changed?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:53 p.m. Heritage wants to buy the building. Talks are ongoing.
Santanoro 12:53 p.m. Any chance of the famous chefs opening restaurants downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:53 p.m. Mission Chinese..... wouldn't that be awesome!
Nick 12:53 p.m. Steve, you really think a Mystery Tower announcement is coming within the month? I don't believe that for minute...
Steve Lackmeyer 12:54 p.m. OK.
Jack 12:54 p.m. Do you think a new parking garage will be built along with the mystery tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:54 p.m. Yes.
Tim 12:54 p.m. Have you ever thought about going into Stand-up?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:55 p.m. No.
Nick 12:55 p.m. Anything new with the Villa Theresa property? I assume they're out of mourning and looking to deal.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:55 p.m. You'd think.
George 12:55 p.m. You mentioned a while back that you were going to do an article about what might or is going to happen to the land south of i40 and North of the river where the park is going to be and that large scrap yard just east of there. When can we expect to hear about this? I am very curious because this area I think has the potential to be a VERY cool part of town far down the road.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:55 p.m. Yes, I did a story about this a few months ago.
Nick 12:55 p.m. Wow, I didn't realize the number of Gold Dome haters out there...
Tim 12:55 p.m. What is life all about, Steve?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:56 p.m. Some say Waffle House. I disagree.
Tony 12:56 p.m. Towers and parking garages are boring... agreed. But park benches... that's where the excitement is. Are there any new park benches being built that you know about?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:56 p.m. You're odd.
Sid Burgess 12:56 p.m. "Things Need To Move Faster Around Here" I highly suggest you reach out to the Office of Sustainability. They are working on that project and would probably love to hear from you.
Tim 12:56 p.m. Did you play any sports in high school?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:57 p.m. Basketball. I was a great bench warmer. But there are photos of me on the court. It's sad.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:57 p.m. Folks, that's it. Two hours. Goodbye, have a great weekend!
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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