OKC Central Chat transcript, April 18, 2014

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: April 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm •  Published: April 18, 2014

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK 9:37 a.m. Good morning. Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting questions now.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Good morning. Let's get started.
Gary T 10:06 a.m. Good morning Steve! In your article yesterday about The Rise and discovering the older facade under the old metal awning, Russell said he bought the block really only knowing the appearance of the texaco station and that is about it. But in the earlier renderings of the building, that discovered area seemed to be largely intact. Were they holding out on us or just going to recreate it if it wasn't in tact?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. I wrote that Russell bought the block only knowing about the Texaco's appearance. After buying the block, it was determined the original facade might be under the old canopy, but they didn't know for sure until they were able to start tearing it off. So they submitted designs hoping the facade was underneath (after it was bought). It was during the past couple of months that they were able to determine for sure it was under there. So that's a much longer way of writing what I already reported.
Gary T 10:10 a.m. It looks like there are going to be some much needed renovations to the Chevy (Formerly Coca-Cola) BT Events Center. Do you see the Brewer's partnering with a DCF or some promoter of that caliber for better concert promotion? Do you think this will take business away from the Diamond Ballroom?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. The Brewers have their own expertise in the music business, though I wouldn't rule out a partnership. The Diamond Ballroom is in a pretty nondescript building in the middle of no where. I'm not sure if that's really the model for the live music business these days when so many people are wanting to be a part of thriving entertainment oriented neighborhoods.
Gary T 10:12 a.m. Speaking of the Chevy BT Event Center, do you think we will finally see something happen with parking lot in front of this in the next several years?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. Possibly.
Kim 10:12 a.m. Good Morning Steve, Jonathan Russell mentioned that some of the business' at The Rise would be opening up this summer. Did he specify to you which business' would be opening?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. I suspect that some businesses that do well in the summer will open ASAP while others, like the tanning salon, might stagger it out a bit.
Kim 10:13 a.m. With all the surprises that The Rise has provided during its renovation, where do you rank this building in terms of renovation projects for mixed use on OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. The Rise is a huge boost to Uptown and hopefully will inspire other building renovations. The 1920s - 1950s authentic design and character of this development will add a tremendous amount of "buzz" to the area, creating the sort of vibe that will draw visitors. Think about how important the authentic brick warehouse feel was to making Bricktown what it is today. The Rise helps Uptown get that much closer to accomplishing the same feel. And remember, Uptown is along original Route 66. Something very special is being created along NW 23. But there is one big obstacle to complete success - the still dormant Tower Theater.
Kim 10:17 a.m. Does Uptown 23rd have the capability of becoming to most popular entertainment district in OKC along locals? What are some obstacles they will have to overcome to get there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. I think Uptown has the potential of becoming one of the city's leading entertainment districts, though traffic and parking is a big obstacle to realizing such success. I struggle to see any district outright eclipsing Bricktown. And I'd argue the Plaza District ranks second to Bricktown.
Gary T 10:18 a.m. In regards to the Metropolitan apartments, what happens when we finally get the quiet zone through this area? Will 9th street be blocked off to the apartments where people can't walk to S&B's, Hillbillys, The Womb, Iguana or Sarasara? Will they have to walk up to 10th and back down?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. I will have to look at the map again, but I think NW 9 stays open as part of the Quiet Zone.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. A little birdy told me Body Works collision center in BT shut down recently. Do you know who owns that land and could that eventually be part of a larger development?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. Call me little birdy today. It's true - I drove by the other day and Body Works is closed. The property has huge potential - a body shop is definitely not the best and highest use.
Gary T 10:21 a.m. When will we see movement on the Page Woodson School renovation into housing?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. I'll have an update coming soon.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. Where do you think the next Better Block should take place?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. Uptown NW 23.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. When should we know what the Convention Center site appraised for?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. Probably within the next couple of months.
Terrell Owens 10:24 a.m. Hey Steve, do you see anymore delicious fast food restaurants coming to the area? Being the fast food capital, we would always use a few more Taco Mayos or BKs!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. I disagree.
Terrell Owens 10:24 a.m. Steve, do you think the Thunder will win the title this year? What do you think about the match-up with the Grizzlies?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Our sports writers are probably better ones to ask, but as a Thunder fan, I'll always say go with the Thunder.
Anthony 10:25 a.m. Any chance the thing that would make kc or Dallas jealous would be revealed in the next month?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Nope. It's a complicated deal that may take a few months to get done.
Anthony 10:25 a.m. What is going on in the boathouse district today?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Probably quite a bit considering how beautiful it is outside.
Terrell Owens 10:26 a.m. In pictures of Bricktown, why does it always seem like a ghost town? There are shots of Bricktown during national telecasts of Thunder games and there is nobody there. It looks nice but deserted. Cheers!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. Yeah, that irritates me a lot. A lot of it is footage shot by the team for the networks, so I can't understand why the team can't partner with the city to provide some b-roll that shows downtown at its best.
Terrell Owens 10:27 a.m. How does OKC compare to Tulsa in terms of national perception? Isn't OKC considered a bit more 'cowboy' and Tulsa a bit more worldly/artistic?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Tulsa might like to think that's still true. But I suspect Oklahoma City's image has changed quite a bit. Oklahoma City has an international image now, while Tulsa clearly does not.
Anthony 10:29 a.m. With the opening of Aloft, is Deep Deuce the best mixed use district in the DT area? Is there anything in the works north of third? There appears to be a few abandoned buildings either on or just off Broadway in okc.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. I'd say Deep Deuce is the best densely developed, mixed use district downtown. But once expected infill takes place in Midtown, it's hard to overstate what an incredible mixed-use urban neighborhood we will have in north downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Terrell Owens, I suggest you try to stick to the theme of OKC Central - downtown development.
Anthony 10:32 a.m. I haven't looked at the routes, but do you know if the new embark bus system will hook up with the street cars?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. I don't know. I imagine eventually it will.
Anthony 10:32 a.m. Isn't construction supposed to begin any day on the GE facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. It shouldn't be much longer.
Kim 10:33 a.m. What would be the best targeted location for new Residential Housing in the Uptown District?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. New housing? I'm not sure. There are plenty of in-fill opportunities. I'd say there are better opportunities in buying the older, neglected duplexes and making them something better than Section 8 housing.
Anthony 10:35 a.m. When is construction to begin on 21c? I think this is the thing I'm looking forward to most in the coming days.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. I'll have an update soon.
Anna 10:36 a.m. Any announcements? A crumb of what's to come? Thanks for doing this every week. I always look forward to Fridays to see what's new in downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. We have a lot of in-fill projects coming throughout downtown that can often be under-estimated in their overall impact. We have some big, big deals coming. And yeah, I'm still tracking a tower in the Central Business District beyond what's already announced for the Stage Center site. And no, I've not seen anything to indicate the towers project on the lumber yard site in Lower Bricktown is anything but a fantasy. Whenever you have a developer with no related experience, no financing for a $100 million-plus investment and they don't own the land, I find myself hard-pressed to understand why some renderings posted on an architect's website get people excited.
Anthony 10:41 a.m. Did you find out what that 'proposed construction' across from sauced in paseo will be?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. Not yet.
Nick 10:41 a.m. Steve, in your recent article/video regarding the Rise, Jonathan indicated he still hopes to have tenants in by this summer. I've driven by multiple times and I just can't see that happening. Do you think he meets that goal?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. Yes, I think we'll see some openings by mid- to late-summer.
TGIF 10:42 a.m. I saw the great news that the huge space next to Anthropologie will be filled by West Elm. Any other new businesses going into Classen Curve/Nichols Hills Plaza that you know about?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Brianna Bailey is following that development. I'm sure she will keep us all updated.
Nick 10:43 a.m. Do you know when we might see work begin on the Metropolitan development? What's been the holdup? Design changes? Normal permitting issues?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. These developments are complicated, with a lot of unknowns. Delays happen. I have seen and heard nothing to indicate the Metropolitan won't start construction fairly soon. Ditto for the second phase of the Maywood apartments.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. Sorry about the interruption. Got bumped off wireless!
TGIF 10:48 a.m. It would be great if you could get whoever is in charge of city landscaping budget, planning, etc. on some Friday so we could ask if there are any plans to replant lost trees on medians, in parks, etc. as well as what they will be doing to beautify the city as they build/infill/etc. Just a suggestion.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. I hear ya.
Anthony 10:49 a.m. Can I suggest putting in a locally owned 'wing restaurant' in either uptown or plaza?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. Gary Brooks, are you listening?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. (I'm suggesting Midtown instead)
Guest 10:49 a.m. Steve! Exciting news about all the stuff to do with The Rise and those developments. Have you heard yet anymore about the development to go on at Paseo Dr and Walker Ave?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. I'm about to pay a visit to Paseo and get caught up on some details.
Nick 10:50 a.m. The Arts Festival is coming up. Once it's complete, do you think we hear more about the plans for the Stage Center tower for OG&E?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. It shouldn't be much longer....
Kevin in STL 10:51 a.m. I travel to OKC a few times per year and usually make a point to spend a day or two seeing what is new around town. Always impressed with the progress and new developments. On my last visit, I explored the rowing facilities along the river on a really sunny and hot day. It quickly became apparent that more shade trees are sorely needed down there and around bricktown in general. Any idea why trees weren't included when drawing up the original plans for the rowing facilities. It seems like an obvious requirement.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. The master plans I've seen, however, that are drawn up by Rand Elliott, show the removal of even more trees.
Pat 10:52 a.m. Good Morning Steve - With the Festival of the Arts almost here and gone, do you have any information on the new proposed Stage center Rainey Williams tower ? Heard anything else about possible architects etc... ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. We'll have an update soon.
Pat 10:52 a.m. Hi Steve, any great articles coming our way this weekend ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. We have an eight-page special section celebrating the 125th anniversary of Oklahoma City.
Nick 10:52 a.m. Why is Gary Brooks no longer working with Milhaus on their apartment development at 10th and Shartel?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. Because Gary has enough on his own plate to get done and Milhaus is quite capable of doing their own development and really don't need a local partner. There is no controversy or bad story here - just another example of how busy downtown development has become.
shawnw 10:55 a.m. I'm under the impression we are completely out of options to save the Film Exchange? Am I mistaken? Or is the 90-year old historical gem coming down for sure for a patch of grass?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. We're not out of options. The out-of-state park designers, Hargreaves Associates, wanted a "clean slate" and never wanted to incorporate the building into the Core to Shore park and never sincerely sought to save it. Parties interested in redeveloping the building were quietly discouraged from proceeding with any effort to do so. A token request for proposals was issued and structured in such a way to discourage genuine responses. If the city really wanted to save the building, they could have done so. They are, interestingly enough, doing just that with the old police headquarters building.
david ball 10:58 a.m. i don't think parking in uptown will be any more challenging than it is in downtown edmond or greenville in dallas, and they have both been quite successful. if you make it cool, they will come.
Aaron 10:59 a.m. Seeing all of these renovations lately got me thinking about the iten building in Bricktown. Any hope for renovation and redevelopment in the next 3 to 4 years?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. Oh how I wish....
david ball 10:59 a.m. what made both ne and nw 23rd streets so viable and vibrant was that they were major highways. sadly, ODOT has removed the highway designations from all local thoroughfares, which is a real bummer if you are from out of town and want to find a commercial district that you can find your way in to and out of. they ought to run u.s.
david ball 10:59 a.m. 62 right down 23rd all the way to I-44.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. Yep.
Pat 10:59 a.m. Steve - Is their anything going on at the lumber yard site south of the U-haul building ? Will this be a big deal ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I'm not seeing anything real.
Nick 11:00 a.m. Do you think the Lumber Yard rumors are anything more than that yet? Or are we just being sold down the river with fancy drawings?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. I have received some information that seems to confirm my suspicions this may be a floater where renderings are put out online to get people talking, see if investors can be attracted to a project that has no property acquired and no financing. I'm waiting to be convinced otherwise.
Nick 11:02 a.m. Any word on the expansion at St. Anthony's? Is that still planned?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Yep. I'm not sure when construction starts on the next phase.
BethanySooner 11:03 a.m. Good morning Steve. Was there some sort of delay concerning a large development that was supposed to come out in the past couple of weeks? If so, do you have a handle on when it will finally be made public?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. I broke the story on the Tapstone Energy/Mideke building project two weeks ago.
Anthony 11:03 a.m. Also thank you for sharing your insights every week. It's much appreciated.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. No problem!
BethanySooner 11:04 a.m. You stated that there was more than meets the eye regarding Tapstone Energy moving into the Mideke Bldg in Bricktown. Can you elaborate?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. In the eyes of many, Bricktown has long suffered from a lack of leadership. Tapstone Energy is going to have quite a bit of influence on the district. And the overall potential of this project has yet to be reported.
david ball 11:06 a.m. do you get the same bad feeling about core to shore south of I-40 as i do?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I don't know what to think yet. I think there is potential.
Bob Loblaw 11:06 a.m. Steve, there's a lot of heavy hitters around town that focus on making things happen in downtown, Midtown, Uptown - who are some of the movers and shakers that are trying to make a difference in the South side? and what are they trying to do? Or are they any?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. I think Capitol Hill and S Robinson Avenue are ultimately inevitable targets for revitalization simply because there won't be much left to tackle north after the next several years.
david ball 11:08 a.m. i wonder if britton could ever experience a revival like the other urban districts.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. I was thinking about that recently. If the school property can ever be redeveloped, when you consider the corporate development taking place just to the east of Broadway, old Britton may have a shot in years to come.
Pat 11:09 a.m. With the OU college of Medicine going up and the GE Research center getting ready too, is there anything else getting ready to be announced for the OUHSC ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I'm not aware of anything immediate.
Guest 11:09 a.m. Did Nic's question get answered about the possible deal for the Chevy center parking lot?? Could this be the possible location of the thing to make KC and Dallas jealous?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. No.
david ball 11:09 a.m. are things going to continue to remain forever silent in the old maywood addition?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I'm not sure I understand your question.
Nick 11:10 a.m. Do you think a parking garage is the solution for 23rd's parking issues? Better use of on street parking the neighborhoods that surround 23rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. Yes.
BethanySooner 11:10 a.m. I think I saw somewhere that OKC Urban Renewal is looking at the entire area around the Page Woodson School Bldg. They have a boundary from Kelley to Stonewall and 4th to 6th. Will this be part of a larger development, and if so, will there be other developers involved besides Ron Bradshaw?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I think we'll have to wait and see.
david ball 11:10 a.m. can you get patrick from the lost ogle as a future guest here?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I'm not sure the front office would like that pick.
Nick 11:12 a.m. What's your best guess as to when we might know what Preftakes has in store for the block he owns?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. It's hard to say... things are definitely going on behind the scenes.
Ed 11:13 a.m. The new angled parking along Broadway completely changed the feel of the street. It's so much more friendly and busy looking. Any surprised relations from within OKC public Works?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Relations?
Guest 11:13 a.m. Why has it been so difficult to find transcripts of your chats after they happen? They're sometimes on your blog, sometimes on the Downtown OKC section of the website, sometimes in the Business section, or sometimes just missing completely. Can you standardize on a place and time to put them up so I can still enjoy these chats if I can't be online at 10 am?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Let me talk to Tiffany Gibson and see how we can improve on this. As a rule, the fall-back is www.newsok.com/stevelackmeyer where you will find everything I write, from blogs, to stories to columns and chat transcripts.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Transcripts are usually posted Friday afternoons.
bill 11:15 a.m. Steve, I walked thru the new aloft hotel yesterday and was amazed at what I saw, okc should be lucky to have this, what was your impression.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. I agree. Jim Thompson sacrificed a lot to give downtown a very special hotel - one that is far nicer than most Alofts.
Cole 11:16 a.m. Any update, either from you or Brianna, on the Sam's near May and I-44?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. I can't provide you with that, but I'll forward this question to Brianna.
Nick 11:16 a.m. I second Anthony's suggestion for a wing restaurant.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Gary Brooks, are you listening? (A wings restaurant on the first floor of The Edge?)
JFo 11:17 a.m. What's the timeline for Fassler Hall and Dustbowl construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. It's well underway!
Terry 11:17 a.m. What happened to the chat last Friday? I was writing you a question when all of a sudden I was cut off.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Yeah. My bad. I forgot to inform Tiffany I was unable to do chat last week. My apologies.
Anthony 11:18 a.m. I'd be fine with midtown for an okc wing restaurant. It's actually shocking how there are so few sports bars in okc despite all of college sports and thunder.
Cole 11:18 a.m. To Kevin in STL - A LOT is needed at the river to make it more enjoyable...trees. Some days if you walk/jog/bike those river trails...you can't breath properly for the smells/chemicals in the air.
Terry 11:18 a.m. Now that Automobile Alley has it's angle parking, have you gotten any feedback from the business owners, City, etc. as to it's impact?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. The business owners love it. I've seen noting to indicate the changes are causing notable traffic problems.
JFo 11:18 a.m. Were Bleu Garten's design plans approved this week?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Yep. The project is on target for opening this summer.
guest 11:19 a.m. What is the pile of dirt next to Dowell's property?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. I need to call and ask him.
Terry 11:19 a.m. Do you think they'll add angle parking in Bricktown and Uptown now that they've added it in Automobile Alley?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Bricktown? Yes. Uptown? I don't know.
Cole 11:19 a.m. The subject of city beautification (one commenter brought up). Miller Historic Neighborhood plants, waters, takes care of, and pays for our beautiful medians, lighting, and common areas along 12th and along Miller. Don't hold your breath...the city doesn't even mow there.
Jeff 11:19 a.m. Heard any Steve Mason rumblings lately?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. He's out and about. I'm sure we'll hear something from him soon.
Terry 11:20 a.m. Can you give us an update on the parking shortage downtown and what parking garages are currently under construction, renovation, expansion, etc.?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. I'll have an update on this soon, but we have more than 1,200 spaces now under construction.
Terry 11:20 a.m. When is the House of Bedlam slated for opening?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Hard to say. Chris Johnson has yet to move forward with building construction since he excavated the site.
Anna 11:21 a.m. What's going on with the U haul building? I've heard rumors that they are being asked to remove their siding and the tacky uhaul on the roof. Any truth to these rumors?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. They can be asked to do so, but they are under no obligation to do so. They own the building and had that siding on before the design district was created.
Cole 11:22 a.m. To the idea of US 62 still running down 23rd....do you realize how much more federal restrictions would come with that? Not smart.
Terry 11:22 a.m. You've mentioned that the OCU Law School will have a big impact on downtown. What other colleges are located downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. ACM@UCO is another big influence (located in Bricktown)
Nick 11:23 a.m. Do you think Tapstone can kick off a wave of other companies looking to office in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Yes.
David 11:23 a.m. What are the chances that in the next 15 years the BT canal is expanded? If it is expanded will it connect to the Myriad or expanded in the other direction? Why isn't the city more interested in this idea?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. It's possible.
David 11:24 a.m. Any news on possible tenants in the renovated century center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. I will have an update soon. I think we've seen the downside of prematurely going online and passing along rumors of deals that are not done.
Cole 11:25 a.m. There will be plenty of stuff to tackle west of downtown but still north of the river. Even though I agree that Capitol Hill, with it's gentle rise above the downtown skyline, is primed. I know of several people eyeing properties in Capitol Hill right now for long term investments.
David 11:25 a.m. What have you heard about the plans for the downtown airpark and surrounding area? Are we going to see a new mixed-used entertainment district. At a minimum, will we finally get to ride the Ferris Wheel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Blair Humphreys is working on a plan now.
Nick 11:26 a.m. Forbes had a pretty interesting article about Harold Hamm. Did you read it? Continental was a big coup for OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Yes. And yes, I agree.
David 11:26 a.m. Based upon your discussions with local developers, what if any impact do they think a completed Native American Cultural Center would have on downtown OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. I'm not sure the development community has really had to the opportunity to think about this considering how long state lawmakers have monkeyed around with not completing a project THEY started.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I'd love to know why Rep. Jeff Hickman thinks it's a responsible decision not to allow a vote by lawmakers to complete a project THEY started.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I'll use their language: is not completing a project they started the sort of decision Ronald Reagan would make?
Terry 11:29 a.m. Does Rand Elliot hate trees? He seems to always be recommending tree removal when OKC is badly in need of more shade and a greener canopy. You just mentioned he's recommending "removal of even more trees" in the Boathouse District. This after he clear-cut the large number of big, mature trees at Bicentennial Park. Doesn't he realize how long it takes to grow a tree in OKC
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. I think you'd need to ask this of Rand Elliott.
Pat 11:30 a.m. Is he main street parking garage scheduled to be completed this fall or summer " Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. This summer.
Guest 11:30 a.m. I work along Auto Alley and love the look of the angled parking!! Think traffic is slowing down a bit as well.
Charles 11:30 a.m. What is the status of OPUBCO's plans to move downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Construction is continuing and the move, as I understand it, will take place next winter.
Downtown Sally 11:31 a.m. Steve, any idea when new planning and parks directors will be announced?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Soon.
guest 11:31 a.m. what do you think the just announced George Kaiser stake purchase of the Thunder means for Oklahoma City
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. I think that adds incredible stability to the team.
Nick 11:31 a.m. You're fairly active on Twitter, but do you think you'll ever blog regularly again? I miss OKCCentral being a source of almost daily updates and news.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. A decision was made last summer to change the commenting and format of the blog. I disagreed with those changes and predicted it would kill the blog as we knew it. Sure enough, the great discussions disappeared and were replaced with the same banal "blame Obama for everything" or "the Republicans are evil" nonsense we see on regular NewsOK stories. I still blog, but without the feedback and discussions, it's just not the same. I always said I truly valued the readers' contributions to the blog and I meant it. Quite frankly, when the discussion threads were killed, my passion for the blog was killed as well. This is an issue I've raised again with the folks at NewsOK, but so far, I've yet to see any resolution.
David 11:35 a.m. If you were to rank the following projects in the order of which you think will have the greatest impact on OKC, what would that list look like: (1) 21c; (2) Journal Record Building renovation; (3) The Rise; (4) the completed white water course; (5) future development of downtown airpark; (6) Native American Cultural Center; or (7) development that will make KC and Dallas jealous.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Three-way tie for first place: 7, 6 and 4.
Nick 11:36 a.m. What's the next big project to kick off in Midtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. More housing.
Cole 11:36 a.m. If it must be wings...make it a Bon Chon Chicken franchise. Look it up. Some Oklahomans who've spent time living in DC will know.
erich 11:36 a.m. Well just got word that Central Storage that is across from Norman plumbing supply near Ferguson will be torn down staring in May.
David 11:36 a.m. What is the projected completion date for the Parkside building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Later this year.
Nick 11:36 a.m. Any progress on a streetscape/beautification plan for Bricktown? It needs some serious TLC in terms of trees, flowers, and sidewalks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. It's being talked about.
Sean Brownlee 11:37 a.m. Wasn't the 21c an exciting place to visit? When I was in Bentonville to see the 21c, I was blown away with how cool it is. The pictures and press do not show how unique and wonderful this development will be for OKC!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Yep. I'll have a story this next month.
Guest 11:37 a.m. The new law office across from Dunlap Codding seems to be moving very slow.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Last I heard it will open this summer.
Guest 11:37 a.m. is the city still plan to have Oklahoma connect to the new blvd? (would go through the uhaul parking lot)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. yes
Klint 11:37 a.m. What do you think of the paint job on the Park Harvey?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. I know some people don't like it, but I do.
Downtown Sally 11:38 a.m. OBU and Langston have offices/small classes downtown as well. And the downtown library offers college-level classes.
Nick 11:38 a.m. How is work on UCO's law school going?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. They're on schedule.
Nick 11:38 a.m. Are you tracking anything for the lot across from the Maybe One Day Will Be A House of Bedlam to the west?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Hopefully a hotel.
Nick 11:38 a.m. Any word on possible tenants for the Rock Island Plow Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Not yet.
Bob 11:38 a.m. The new law office across from the new school seems to be moving very slowly. Are they having problems?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Nope.
Ed 11:39 a.m. $&@! Spell check! Reactions from inside OKC Public Works.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. LOL. I'm not aware of any heartburn on their behalf concerning the angled parking on Broadway.
Cole 11:39 a.m. What's the official count on "rooftops" in the downtown center? (not the central business district specifically...I'll add DD, BT and the Arts District in there) More importantly, how far are we from Buy For Less throwing a "Uptown Market" down there on the recently closed collision center property. P.S. I love Native Roots, just as much as you do.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. I don't see that site becoming a grocery. The dirt will be too pricey for that.
Nick 11:40 a.m. Is the Chickasaw shop opening up in Bricktown a fair (or better) trade off in lieu of the Pops that was slated for the space originally?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. Yeah. I think in terms of visitor interest, it's a better fit for Bricktown.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. POPs is a Route 66 attraction that is special because it's on Route 66, has fantastic architecture, and is in Arcadia. Take away all that, and the generous soda choices really isn't that big of a deal.
bill 11:42 a.m. Steve, based on your inside information, what has a better chance of being done the native american cultural center or the project that whould make kc and dallas jealous
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. That's funny. I think the museum has the better chance overall simply because it's already started (and common sense would usually dictate that after investing $90 million, responsible adults would find a way to finish it). The other project still has hoops to go through to even get to the starting line.
Brett 11:43 a.m. Hi Steve. Has Costco Wholesale shown any interest in coming to Oklahoma City?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Yes, but there is no deal done yet for any sites in Oklahoma City. At least not as of my last check on the matter.
Sean Brownlee 11:44 a.m. Wasn't the 21c a great place to visit, I was very impressed with how unique and wonderful it will be for OKC. The press and pictures to date have not shown all of what it can be. I am eager to see the renderings and for it to be open.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. I agree. I'll have a story soon.
Terry 11:44 a.m. Will Union Pacific RR ever grant access beneath their tracks from the Bricktown Canal to the Boathouse District? Everything's already built and in place. Why won't they allow people to have access to this tunnel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. The railroad folks move on their own schedules.
David 11:45 a.m. What is the current Status of Ed Shadid's petition for a revote on the Convention Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. It's dead.
steve 11:45 a.m. Didnt know kaiser bought stake in okc thunder hes a tulsa guy billionaire interesting
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. The story broke as this chat was underway.
Terry 11:45 a.m. I'm impressed with the quality of the Aloft and Ambassador Hotels. Do you think OKC has reached a new level of sophistication with the addition of these two new hotels?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. Absolutely yes.
Terry 11:45 a.m. Was it the cold winter? Why do you think Chris Johnson has slowed down on constructing his House Of Bedlam?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. No, it wasn't the winter weather. He encountered questions over the revokable permit previous owner Jim Brewer obtained for building over the canal.
Nick 11:46 a.m. What Paseo Project was Phil Cross referencing on Twitter last night?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. He had a good story. It was about a long neglected, boarded up white stucco duplex. I'll do my own take soon.
steve 11:47 a.m. Steve I stronly disagree with kaiser buying stake in the thunder if you think this is a good thing ask the people of Seattle about an out of towner buying into there team
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. You do realize the Bank of Oklahoma, which is owned by Kaiser, has significant holdings and investment in Oklahoma City and he lives in Tulsa, right? Not sure this is equal to Oklahomans buying a team based in Seattle.
Cole 11:48 a.m. Yeah...more streetscape for Bricktown. Great idea...then all the folks living in Ardmore can enjoy that while in Bricktown. Meandwhile, venerable OKC neighborhoods in Midtown continue to pay for their own lighting, median care, and mowing. Sounds great!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. Wow, a lot of hate there for Bricktown. You might not realize it, but plenty of locals enjoy Bricktown, and the district generates a lot of sales tax revenue from visitors to help pay for services for the city's neighborhoods.
Terry 11:49 a.m. I agree w/ David that the Bricktown Canal expansion would be great. I understand that the MAPS3 projects take precedence right now, but I too would love for them to expand the canal to the Myriad Gardens.
David 11:50 a.m. Any news on Trader Joes? Please do not say this is dead. OKC needs a Trader Joes.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I don't think it's dead.
Nick 11:50 a.m. Did Jim Couch ever look into the light poles in the middle of the sidewalk near St. Anthony Hospital?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I don't know. I'll ask.
shawnw 11:50 a.m. Any bites on an indie theater development for the old Uptown Theater idea?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Not that I know of.
David 11:50 a.m. What have you heard about possible locations for an OKC History Museum?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. If one is done, it will likely be at Union Station.
sam 11:50 a.m. Steve as a native American I am often asked why dont the native Americans finish the cultural center refresh my memory we didnt ask nor start this project am I wrong
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. The Oklahoma State Legislature started construction of the American Indian Cultural Center. The tribes have generously donated money to help cover a gap in funding created by an apparent lack of legislative oversight of the project's design and construction. The legislators are the ones who started this project and have struggled to agree on how to be responsible adults and finish what THEY started.
Cole 11:53 a.m. Not hate...there has to be a counter-balance to downtown cheerleading, Steve. We're talking about midtown neighborhoods...it's not like I'm talking about improving streets out near NW 122nd and Penn...wait.
Terry 11:53 a.m. Is it too expensive for developers to be interested in adding housing on top of the Civic Center parking garage? I thought that was a great idea in a great location for penthouse views like Meg Salyer's. I hope that idea hasn't been killed.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. The developers say the numbers won't work.
Klint 11:53 a.m. I live and work downtown and really like the Park Harvey paint job
Chad 11:53 a.m. Heard anything about a Movie Theatre like Alama Drafthouse coming to OKC? Thoroughly enjoyed it in Austin.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Oh how I wish.
Nick 11:54 a.m. After the open street festival on 23rd, do you think Marty Dillon is any more open to the idea of renovating the theatre?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I have no hope that Marty Dillon is ready to do anything that will involve a full restoration and redevelopment of his property.
Guest 11:54 a.m. I'm Choctaw and Cherokee and I'm tired of hearing ignorant folks complain that the tribes aren't contributing enough to complete the center. Folks, we didn't ask for the darn thing!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. I think the tribes have generously donated to the project. When I hear people start talking about the tribes and "casino money," I question whether some lawmakers and critics of the museum are using race baiting to distract attention from the real issues.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Folks, it's been two hours. I'm going to call it quits now. Have a great weekend!

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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