Coolgreens’ downtown location is set to close this Saturday and won’t reopen until January as the restaurant is surrounded by streets being torn up as part of Project 180.
The reconstruction of downtown streets, sidewalks and parks has been painful for downtown commuters, residents, merchants and property owners. Project 180 was blamed in the closing of Tratoria Ill Centro when reconstruction of Main Street at Walker Avenue was delayed by months.
Oklahoma City Public Works engineers adjusted how such projects are staged, promising not to tear up more than one block at a time. But for restaurants like Coolgreens, located along Robinson Avenue between Park and Robert S. Kerr avenues, the inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists was enough to cause a noticeable drop in business.
No easy access
Allan McMurrain, Coolgreens founder and managing partner, said the downtown restaurant at City Place Tower has no easy access for anyone who works in major office towers west of Robinson, including those in Leadership Square.
“We work with the Devon wellness center, and they had planned a Christmas party here in December — they were excited about seeing the Christmas lights,” McMurrain said. “Between the time they planned it and we set it up, they (contractors) put the wall up, tore the street up, and we ended up moving the party to Nichols Hills Plaza (Coolgreens) so they could still enjoy a view of Christmas lights there.”
McMurrain is timing the reopening of the downtown Coolgreens to follow the estimated fall completion of Robinson Avenue between Park and Robert S. Kerr avenues, and of the SandRidge Parkside building and Kerr Park immediately north of the restaurant.
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Park Avenue, arguably the most heavily traveled street in the Central Business District for both pedestrians and motorists, is set to be the next corridor to be torn up and rebuilt as Project 180 gets closer to completion.
Shannon Cox, Project 180 spokeswoman, said construction bids haven’t been sought yet for Park Avenue between Broadway and Hudson Avenue, but the timeline calls for work to start this spring and not end until summer of 2016.
The intersection of Dean A. McGee and Robinson Avenues is set to open to north-south traffic in April. The entire intersection and Dean A. McGee Avenue between Broadway and Robinson Avenue is set to open in May.
The intersection of Robinson Avenue and Robert S. Kerr Avenue is scheduled to reopen for east-west traffic in July.
Robinson Avenue between Dean A. McGee and Park Avenues is set to reopen for all pedestrian and vehicular access by October.
Project 180 construction began in August 2010. It is a $176 million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas to make the central core more pedestrian friendly.