The Downtown Traffic Advisory for Oklahoma City next week, issued by the city:
• “Couch is open between Hudson and Walker. Parking lanes remain closed while crews complete amenity zone work, parking for the Museum of Art is on Kerr.”
Some newcomers — and there are a bunch of you — don't get how cool it is that Oklahoma City has to issue a weekly Downtown Traffic Advisory. Trust me. It's cool. Ask anyone who heard the crickets chirp.
• “The intersection of Park and Hudson is limited to westbound traffic only. No left turn from Hudson onto Park. Eastbound traffic from Patience Latting must turn right at Hudson.”
And downtown is still luring new firms and new people. In the third quarter, Covenant Financial and RKI Exploration moved into Oklahoma Tower, 210 Park Ave., and Booze Allen Hamilton relocated to Leadership Square, 211 N Robinson Ave., among other activity, noted Grubb & Ellis-Levy Beffort, commercial realty, in its quarterly update.
• “The east side of Walker from Main to Kerr is closed for utility relocations.”
Look for demand for space downtown to pop as major parts of Project 180, the $160-million redesign of downtown streets, sidewalks, curbside parking, parks and plazas, are completed, Grubb & Ellis said.
• “Colcord from Lee to Walker is closed while crews continue to relocate utilities.”
Don't look now but the Devon shadow has started to fall across downtown, after three years of hand-wringing in some quarters. The bugaboo: the effect of Devon Energy Corp. vacating hundreds of thousands of square feet of leased office as it occupies its new 50-story, 1.8-million-square-foot skyscraper at 333 W Sheridan Ave. How concerned should anyone be?
• “The east side of Hudson closed from Kerr to Sheridan. Two southbound lanes are open.”
Continental Resources Inc., of course, immediately backfilled Devon's old headquarters at 20 N Broadway and lots of other former Devon space was immediately absorbed, Grubb & Ellis said pointed out• “Kerr closed between Robinson and Broadway for private downtown renovations.”
Alas, Grubb & Ellis reported: “At long last, the first of Devon's vacated space has hit the market. The 200,000-square-foot unit at Chase Tower (100 N Broadway Ave.) is the largest block of quality space downtown.” It's hiked downtown vacancy back up to 26 percent.
Not to worry, Grubb & Ellis said: “The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce routinely says that companies are interested in relocating to Oklahoma City but are deterred by the lack of available quality space. Devon's former space at Chase Tower will open up an opportunity for new tenants to move into Oklahoma City's central core.”
The bottom line: downtown vacancy back down to around 20 percent in a year; Class A rent rates firm to increasing; Class B rates steady.
Downtown Traffic Advisory for 2013? Just guessing here, but I'd say: Continued heavy.