Downtown Oklahoma City abuzz with building

Developers, city officials provide an update on more than $1 billion in construction under way in downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: February 12, 2012
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Public Projects:

• New police headquarters, Main Street and Shartel Avenue, and Oklahoma City municipal court complex, Couch Drive and Shartel Avenue: Design work is under way on the $50 million project, which will replace the current facilities that date back more than 40 years.

• Downtown elementary school, Sheridan Avenue and Walker Avenue: Conceptual designs for a multistory school expected to be unveiled to the public this spring.

• Emerson High School, NW 6 and Hudson: Design work continues. Construction bids are expected later this year.

• Project 180 conversions of one-way streets to two-way traffic: With the elimination of the areas around Hudson and NW 5 from Project 180, the city also eliminated funding for streetlights at those intersections that would have completed the two-way conversion of Hudson Avenue.

City staff say they have funding for traffic controllers, but will need to evaluate at a later time how to fund and proceed with the two-way conversions. As a result Hudson Avenue is set to become a sequence of two-way, one-way and then two-way traffic patterns between Interstate 40 and NW 6.

• Project 180 streetscape of Main Street between Hudson Avenue and Walker Avenue: Businesses along this street have complained of monthslong delays that were caused by unexpected waterproofing issues involving the basement of 420 W Main, an office building owned by the city. City staff expect work on this street will continue for at least several weeks.

• Status of other current Project 180 streetscapes: Sheridan is expected to reopen no later than March. Robinson between Sheridan and Main will be reopened in next few days. Robinson from Main to Park is set to open in mid- to late-February. Hudson Avenue at Main Street will be open by March.

• Installation of streetlights along Sheridan Avenue in Film Row: Installation of the light installation, delayed for more than a year, began Friday.

• Addition of angle parking spaces along Automobile Alley: City staff received the request for angled parking for Broadway between NW 4 and NW 10 from the Automobile Alley Association and a review is under way.

• New downtown boulevard, Interstate 235 to Agnew Avenue: Demolition of the current alignment of Interstate 40 is expected to begin later this year.

Design work is under way on an $80 million boulevard that will replace the highway. Mayor Mick Cornett reports the city is progressing in its efforts to build a boulevard that is narrower than the originally proposed six-lane thoroughfare.

• Skydance pedestrian bridge over the new Interstate 40: The bridge is set to open in April, with sidewalks or trails leading up to the span from both sides of the highway. The bridge's multicolored LED lighting was on display New Year's Eve, but no plan is in place for future lighting.

• New downtown parking meters: After a decision to switch vendors, a contract is being negotiated by city staff but no schedule is available yet for installation.

• Canal extension from Regatta Park along the Oklahoma River to the Bricktown Canal. Final plans in review: Construction is set to begin this summer on the $2.5 million project. The extension will provide a pedestrian link between Bricktown and the Oklahoma River, and the canal segment flowing from the river will have a turnaround just south of the southernmost tip of the Bricktown Canal.

• Core to Shore park, at Robinson Avenue and south of the current alignment of Interstate 40: Property acquisition is under way. The city is preparing to raze structures on the site, including the Salvation Army headquarters and the former home of the City Rescue Mission.

• Oklahoma Gas & Electric substation at SW 5 and Robinson Avenue: The MAPS 3 Parks Subcommittee is looking at screening the substation at the urging of the city council, a reversal from the early push by Mayor Mick Cornett to send $30 million on relocating the operation. City staff is evaluating options.

• New Convention Center, Reno Avenue and Walker Avenue: Site acquisition negotiations are under way with property owners Bob Howard and Fred Hall for construction of the $250 million convention center approved by voters as part of MAPS 3.

• Streetcar system, downtown wide: Route engineering studies are under way.

• Downtown transit hub, E.K. Gaylord and Sheridan Avenue: The Oklahoma City Council recently authorized city staff to negotiate buying the Santa Fe Depot from Brewer Entertainment.

• Chesapeake Energy Arena, Reno Avenue and Robinson Avenue: The $91 million renovation and expansion largely will be finished with the new Sunset Grill on the club level opening in May. The Grand Entrance facing southwest toward intersection of the future Boulevard and Robinson Avenue also will be opening in May. The only part of the project not yet bid is the build-out of the Thunder space.

Upcoming construction will include a rooftop garden that will face the southwest corner.


by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist 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 Metropolitan...
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