The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer fielded questions on Oklahoma City development during his weekly online chat with readers Friday on NewsOK.com. This is an edited version of that conversation.
Q: With DNA galleries expanding, Pie Junky and a pizza place moving in, what's next for the Plaza District?
Lackmeyer: The Plaza District has a great future ahead, though they're very aware of the parking shortage they are now facing.
Expect more redevelopment of the impoverished Classen-10-Penn neighborhood to the south, and some spinoff development along nearby Classen Boulevard.
Q: Last week you alluded to some big projects in the pipeline for MidTown. Just how many of these big projects are you currently aware of, and what is the range in size/units?
Lackmeyer: If all goes as currently planned, we likely will see significant new residential development in MidTown.
Q: What's more likely to happen: Broadway between 11th & 12th getting a quiet zone and apartments, or some other development?
Lackmeyer: The site you speak of was purchased for construction of a new City Arts Center, which is currently at State Fair Park. I do believe, based on progress I'm tracking, that we will see a quiet zone come to reality. And more housing is almost a certainty for the area.
Q: It seems like companies and people are moving downtown regularly, but this could be a bad thing if downtown OKC can't support or keep up with that growth. Your thoughts?
Lackmeyer: Downtown is keeping up with the growth. We have street capacity for thousands more vehicles per day than what is carried currently. New parking garages are being built by the city. A streetcar system is being designed. And ample room for expansion of downtown exists to the south and west (and also some to the north).
Q: At one point I think there was some concern that with the construction projects so spread out over the different districts that we might fall short of having any one complete revitalized urban neighborhood. With Deep Deuce rapidly filling in, and now north and east Bricktown, along with what is happening in MidTown, is there still some concern that we are spreading our growth and development resources too thin? Or is all this beginning to snowball so quickly that it is no longer a concern?
Lackmeyer: If all proceeds as planned, Deep Deuce will be as close to being fully developed as one can imagine within the next five years.
Bricktown is also on the verge of having most undeveloped properties built up, though it still faces the challenge of thousands of square feet left vacant in the upper floors of the old warehouses.
MidTown still has a long way to go, as does Film Row.
So far, I'm not seeing anything that would worry me about development resources being spread thin, though I still question the city's plans for Core to Shore. The developers I speak to have very different ideas about what is possible for the area compared to what is in the 2006 Core to Shore master plan still being pursued by Mayor Mick Cornett.
Q: Any chance that the Bricktown Canal would expand to the east with all the development moving in that direction? Is it safe to assume that the canal will never move into the downtown area?
Lackmeyer: An extension of the canal was rejected by the mayor during planning for MAPS 3, and I've not seen any new effort to revive talk of a canal extension in the future.
Q: Any chance they would add another dam on the Oklahoma River close to NW 10 and make that area a recreational water area?
Lackmeyer: Yes. I can absolutely see that happening over the long term, especially when or if the American Indian Cultural Center is completed and opened.