Almost 20 years have passed since voters narrowly approved the MAPS penny sales tax — a game changer for Oklahoma City that still is paying once inconceivable dividends.
Without MAPS, Oklahoma City doesn't have a Bricktown Canal, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, a thriving Civic Center Music Hall, a modern downtown library, or a river that is now home to regattas that draw thousands of people from across the country.
Nor would Oklahoma City be home to an NBA team or a 50-story Devon Energy Center.
The 2013 annual Outlook section asked the city's up and coming, the seasoned civic leaders and others to look ahead and predict what's next through 2033.
I've been tracking the MAPS transformation of Oklahoma City, and more specifically the downtown revival that ensued, for the past 17 years. Often I'm asked similar questions to those being posed in this latest Outlook.
The trick is to get ahead of what is already a pretty spectacular look ahead just over the next few years. In that time period alone, I expect to see Deep Deuce fully developed as a mixed-use downtown neighborhood. Bricktown's skyline will be transformed with the addition of several mid-rise hotels (most six to 12 stories high) and a series of four-story apartment buildings set to be built along E Sheridan Avenue.
Add in a new convention center, a 17- to 20-story conference hotel, a new Core to Shore park and a streetcar system. Downtown also will be home to a new police headquarters and a new city court building. That's a pretty big leap ahead — and all of that is almost a certainly within five years.
Twenty years from now, should the momentum continue, is a bit difficult to grasp. But here's my look in the crystal ball, based on conversations with developers, civic leaders and planners.
We will see more mid-rise to high-rise housing. So far, downtown Oklahoma City has pretty limited options in high-rise living — Regency Tower, the Park Harvey Building and the top few floors of CityPlace Tower.
That will change. We will see housing in the historic First National Tower. Someone will figure out how to make the property viable again. We'll likely see a hotel in the tower as well. We will likely see new mid-rise to high-rise housing around the new Core to Shore park.