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OKC Central chat: Bricktown skyline will grow dramatically in 2013

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer discusses downtown development during his Friday chat with readers on
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: January 5, 2013

LACKMEYER: I think it's possible we could see Trader Joe's locate in the urban core, but not so certain it would be in the heart of downtown.

Q: What's your opinion on the proposed streetcar route?

LACKMEYER: I've seen a lot of debate and consideration go into the proposed route, (and) it seems to serve quite a bit of the high density sections of downtown, but also passes along some great undeveloped sites as well.

I question whether Oklahoma City fully appreciates how much operation and maintenance will cost, and I wonder if residents understand the MAPS 3 campaign and ballot made no such provisions for operation and maintenance of the streetcar system, the new park, the new convention center or the wellness centers. Far less consideration went into such matters than was evidenced in the original MAPS initiative.

Q: Besides the restaurants that have opened recently, like Kitchen 324, can we expect any new restaurants in the downtown area in 2013?

LACKMEYER: Yep. The popular Cow-Calf Cafe in Edmond is opening up a second location in the Park Harvey Building.

Q: What are some short-term things that have you excited that you can actually share with us?

LACKMEYER: The skyline in Bricktown is about to change far more dramatically than people may realize. Picture it with three to four new six- to 10-story hotels built up along the east end around the Hampton Inn.

Picture the proposed Holiday Inn Express on Main Street.

Picture the Stewart Metal Fabricators site built up as mixed-use housing and retail. This sort of development should secure Bricktown's long-term future and spare it the fate that befell the West End in Dallas. Deep Deuce and MidTown, meanwhile, are in a race to become truly wonderful mixed-use urban neighborhoods.

Q: Can we expect any new retail development in the downtown area?

LACKMEYER: We've seen quite a bit of small shop expansion already, and I'll update that soon. I think we'll see a continued influx of small shops in and around Automobile Alley.

Q: Steve, what would you say was your biggest disappointment of 2012?

LACKMEYER: I think many downtown would say they were very disappointed to see First National Center remain in control of mysterious, out-of-state ownership.

Q: Can we expect Film Row to really get rolling now that Chip Fudge's companies are moving in?

A: Yep. Film Row is about to get very, very cool.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
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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