The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer and Film Row developer Chip Fudge 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.
When looking at the planned streetcar routes, it didn't appear that Film Row was going to be serviced by it. Do you think this will hinder or help spur development for Film Row?
Chip: The initial streetcar route did involve Film Row. Unfortunately the last iteration left us out. I think it would be a great benefit to have a streetcar in our district. Hopefully whenever a renovation of the Fred Jones plant is done, this issue can be revisited.
How long until you see Film Row development expanding up to Main or down to California?
Chip: I've been trying to acquire buildings on both streets. My biggest disappointment was not acquiring the Main Street Arcade which I think would have been perfect to retrofit. Right now I'm trying to acquire buildings on California Avenue.
What are the highlights of Film Row?
Chip: No. 1 - DeadCENTER Film Festival. And now KOSU. IAO Gallery. The event space at The Exchange. The Paramount.
Steve: I will add that FIlm Row is now hosting a monthly art walk festival called "Art Walk Premiere." Tonight, many of you will be thrilled to learn that food vendors will include the legendary Bobo's. If you've not heard of Bobo's, it is the most popular and happiest way to cut a year or two off your life span.
Chip: We also host the annual Gay Pride Parade, we also hosted a nationally sanctioned bike race in June and we hope to have it return next year.
What's happening development-wise on Film Row right now and what type of development would you be most excited to see on Film Row or nearby?
Chip: We are completing the sliver building, which should be occupied in December. It will be home to Butzer-Gardener Design. In the first quarter of next year we will start work on the 800 W Sheridan building, which is a pre-statehood building just west of Hart. We're excited about the new school currently going up two blocks east of us and a law firm is building a new building between the school and Film Row.
What is the end goal for Film Row? Do you see a true mixed use area with residential and retail along with the restaurants and offices there now?
Chip: I would love for there to be some residential here. But it's so much cheaper to building commercial space compared to residential space. I'm hoping other developers will build residential in our area.
What was your initial attraction to this part of town?
Chip: The cool Art Deco and mid-century modern style of buildings here were what initially drove me to the area. I wanted a place to be a headquarters for our companies and the Hart building seemed a perfect place to do that if we could redevelop the rest of the street appropriately.
Beyond film row what comes to mind when you think of Oklahoma City in 2030?
Chip: As one who grew up watching our central business district being vacated during my early years, it thrills me to see our urban core being redeveloped in such a fun, cool interesting way. I believe developers like Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg, Steve Mason, Marva Ellard are doing a great job of spearheading our individual districts. It's exciting what I see happening over the next several years.
A place called Film Row should have a movie theater don't you think?
Chip: We do! We have a screening room at The Paramount. We have the deadCENTER Film Festival and our Friday night previews will show outside screenings on the outside wall of the Paramount (including tonight).