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OKC Central Chat transcript, Aug. 24, 2013

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: August 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm •  Published: August 23, 2013

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.

Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Good morning everybody.
Gary T 10:01 a.m. Good morning Steve and happy Friday to you.
Gary T 10:01 a.m. What is the biggest hold up for Marty Dillon and his efforts to redo the Tower Theatre? Money? Knowledge for rehabbing an 85 year old building? I know the theatre is the most important thing to him right now, but why doesn't he finish out the retail spaces facing 23rd to get some revenue flowing while waiting on work on the actual Theatre to commence?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. I don't' know. But with the continued threat on historic tax credits and rising interest rates, the longer Dillon waits for either what he considers the right deal or the right buyer, the more chance that that right buyer or right deal won't happen. Without the Tower Theater brought back to life, Uptown is missing a critical piece toward accomplishing a full comeback.
Gary T 10:03 a.m. The building that used to house Queens Beauty Supply on the NE corner of 23rd and Dewey has had a sign up "for sale by owner" for years now. It is on the same block as "The Rise" development getting ready to happen on the site of the old hotel/motel liquidation warehouse. With all the development going on around it, do you see something taking place on that property soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. Only if the asking price makes a redevelopment doable. There are property owners along NW 23 who I hear have an unrealistic expectation for what they think they can pocket.
Gary T 10:04 a.m. Recently you have reported on the Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl development, Waffle Champion and the surrounding area and the new dog park going in north of Fassler Hall. What other hints can you give us that will be formally announced by the end of the year? More housing? Villa Teresa?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. More housing. Hundreds more apartments. More retail. More offices.
Gary T 10:04 a.m. What is next for the cottage district aka SOSA?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. We're continuing to see infill housing built - mostly architectural modern homes in the mold of those built by Brian Fitzsimmons, Donald Lovallo & Dennis Wells.
Gary T 10:05 a.m. What would be your preferred phase II for the streetcar? Health Science Center or Core 2 Shore?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. The Health Science Center seems like the natural next step for the streetcar system. To my knowledge, no one at this point lives, works or plays in Core to Shore.
Lost wages :( 10:06 a.m. I had family here from Las Vegas this week. I suggested they take their kids to the Oklahoma river for a morning of activities. I told them I thought the 80 ft tall slide would be a lot of fun and they thought the same. When I got home from work they told me the slide was closed due to low activity. They were okay with it and found other things to do, but I was disappointed they could not enjoy the ever expanding things to do at the river. The Oklahoma river website gave no indication that the 80 ft slide would be closed. Do you know if they will be posting on their website any closure information? Do you know if they intend to keep regular hours at the Oklahoma river?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. If this is true, that's unfortunate. And it's surprising. Please email me at slackmeyer@oklahoman with information about the timing of their visit, and whether they encountered the entire Riversport area closed (zip line, kids cloud bounce, Thunder drop, etc).
BethanySooner 10:08 a.m. Steve, regarding the latest renderings for the Bricktown East apartments, have you seen the site plan? It sounds as if there are going to be two separate apartment buildings with a gap in between. Do you know how much separation will be between structures? Also you reported that the first phase would be built on the west end. Does that then mean that the hotel will be on the east end fronting Lincoln?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Bethany, I just posted before and after renderings and site plans that will give you a better understanding of how the project has changed. As for the hotel, it remains sited for the corner of Joe Carter and Sheridan Avenues.
BethanySooner 10:09 a.m. With the Sandridge Commons and the Kerr/Couch park developments, it would seem that the Dowell Tower would be the perfect location for a residential mid-rise. How cool would it be to live right in the CBD and yet have a beautifully landscaped park or parks right outside your window? It seems somewhat of a waste to construct all office buildings in a location like this. Tell me Mr. Dowell is giving serious consideration to this amazing opportunity.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. I can tell you that various individuals are talking to Rick Dowell, and that a change from offices to housing is not impossible. Dowell has experience with both areas of real estate.
Kim 10:10 a.m. Good Morning Steve, what is the latest on 23rd St. and some of the developments we had been hearing about? How soon can we expect to see new retail, restaurants or bars in the area close to Tower Theatre?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. If you're talking about the storefronts that are part of the Tower Theater - owned by Marty Dillon - I don't know. He's not shown me any desire to move fast with any redevelopment of this property.
Guest 10:11 a.m. Do you have a link that shows the exact route approved for the street car? Thanks Steve, keep up the great work.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. I posted it today at
Ronaldo 10:11 a.m. What is the status of the Film Exchange buildings in Central Park. Has the city allowed any of the developers wanting to rehab them to tour the buildings? Why are they set on tearing these buildings down?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. I'm working on a blog post about this matter for next week. But when everything is said and done, despite what was suggested by the park designers this last month, city officials say Hargreaves Associates have always wanted the building razed and they never contemplated offers by the city to have the building incorporated into the park. City folks say the designers simply don't think the building fits. This is a public policy debate worth having. But unfortunately, the designers tried to frame it as a matter of the building could not be saved and it did not have any parties interested in using it. I have discovered the past few weeks that both suggestions are false.
Guest 10:14 a.m. What new stories are you working on Steve?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. Oh, the list is long....
Cameron Ford 10:14 a.m. Any update on when the Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl Lanes will open in MidTown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. Next year.
BethanySooner 10:14 a.m. With Ron Bradshaw about to sink a lot of money into the Page Woodson school building, along with the Maywood Apartments phase I and II, do you think he has cooled his heels in regard to the building of additional Brownstones?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:15 a.m. No.
Ronaldo 10:15 a.m. Is there a date on when we will know about the GE complex? You would think they would want to start building it and getting it started ASAP!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:15 a.m. No. They're being very secretive.
Guest 10:15 a.m. Mystery Tower Question... is there a chance we could lose the Union Bus Station to new development?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. I seriously doubt it. I have been assured by those who are really calling the shots on all this that they want to see the bus station preserved.
BethanySooner 10:16 a.m. What impact do you see the Page Woodson conversion having on the surrounding neighborhoods? And what exactly is the boundary of the JFK neighborhood?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. I think it could be a great boost to the area's revival. As for boundaries... gosh, I can't pull that out of my hat right now.
Ronaldo 10:16 a.m. What is the status of the Convention Center site?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. A purchase offer was made this summer to the owners of the site and a response is being awaited.
Alex 10:17 a.m. Any truth to the rumor about the old Hotel Black being renovated into a residential building?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. My Magic-8-Ball says "as I see it, yes."
Guest 10:18 a.m. Do you have any information about who the possible buyers are for Nichols Hills Plaza and Classen Curve? Is this a package deal, and what if anything do you know about the possible buyers' plans for the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. I don't have any answers for you on this.
Alex 10:19 a.m. Last week you mentioned that the Triangle on EK Gaylord was one of your sites if you got to build a Mystery Tower. Wasn't this site looked at in the past by the OKC Chamber? What happened to does plans or is it still on the table for the future?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. The chamber project was scrapped.
Guest 10:19 a.m. After Deep Deuce and MidTown, what is the next district to see major development?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. I think it's Farmers Market.
Guest 10:20 a.m. Have you heard anything about the possible location(s) for the alleged Trader Joes?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Nope.
Lord Voldemort 10:20 a.m. Has Sandridge released drawings of what their new park will look like? Also, how tall will the building they have under construction be when completed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. Read this story to read about the park, see the latest drawing. The Parkside Building will be 11 stories high.
Guest 10:22 a.m. Looking forward 15 years, which OKC neighborhood do you belive will offer the most dynamic mix of quality housing, retail, restaurants, cultural offerings and basic amenities?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Midtown.
AJ 10:23 a.m. any idea when Midtown R will announce their plans for the 10th/11th Hudson/Harvey block? 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? longer?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. We have nothing from them, but I suspect we're looking at a year or two.
BethanySooner 10:24 a.m. Do you know when construction is scheduled to start for phase II of the Maywood/4th street apartments?
Guest 10:25 a.m. Anything new on mystery tower #2 . . . or #3? I have heard quite a bit of chatter about MidFirst moving downtown again. Is there any truth to these rumors?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Rumors... that's all I can tell you.
BethanySooner 10:26 a.m. Do you know anything about the purchase of the old Leo's BBQ site?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. NE 36 and Kelley? Or downtown?
Guest 10:26 a.m. Why do you think national retail chains often choose to open their first Oklahoma locations in Tulsa? Maybe this made sense 30 years ago, but certainly not in the last 10-15.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. Stereotypes die hard.
Lord Voldemort 10:27 a.m. Steve, any idea what the building that is being renovated on California and Classen, in the Film District will become?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. The old carpenters union building is being renovated into an expansion of City Rescue Mission.
BethanySooner 10:28 a.m. You mentioned that Chris Johnson and perhaps a partner(s) were looking at building a hotel on the site west of the proposed Bedlam building. Did he happen to speculate on how many stories high this might be.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. No.
Ronaldo 10:28 a.m. Is OU building a boathouse on the river? If so when?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. Yes. I am told design work is underway and more info should be coming out this next year.
Guest 10:29 a.m. Will the new downtown elementary school be open by new school year? will be follow the okc school calendar and be year round?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Yes, it will open in 2014. I don't know about the schedule.
Guest 10:29 a.m. Assume for a moment that Sandridge is an acquisition target for companies in the industry with better balance sheets and cash reserves. Who are the buyers, and what happens to Sandridge's campus?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. The buyer could be any number of companies. As for the campus.... oy....
Guest 10:30 a.m. Do you have any information about the restaurant on the park level in the Sandridge amenities building. The rumor is that it will be another Good Egg Group production. Any truth to this?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. Maybe.
Larry 10:30 a.m. Do you envision any economic fallout stemming from the murder of the Australian baseball player?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. I hope not. But the situation is not good. Folks in countries with tougher gun laws are going to be asking if they want to be doing business in a state where lawmakers are attempting to arm school teachers and allow guns on college campuses and where open carry is legal. I'm not arguing for or against gun control here, just stating the obvious whether we like it or not.
Aaron 10:31 a.m. Steve - I keep hearing rumors about proposed residential by MidtownR on 10th street. Any idea when we'll hear something official?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. not yet.
Ronaldo 10:32 a.m. Are there any plans to improve the river's asthetics? Getting rid of the rock border.... and possibly improving the connections to parks via the concrete streams that feed the river? Has the city looked at improving these concrete aquaducts to make them more natural so they can clean the water before they hit the river?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. The Boathouse Foundation shares your interest and is working on some ideas.
Kim 10:32 a.m. Of all the projects you have written about in the last 3 months, what are you most excited for?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. The one I've yet to report.
Aaron 10:32 a.m. I saw Lisbon Lofts got approval - any idea when they'll start construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. An update on this project is coming soon.
Laura N 10:33 a.m. Hi Steve! What are some possible solutions to the problems that vacant buildings and houses in neighborhoods around downtown pose to current residents? Are there any cities out there that have solved these problems?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. Bill Crum had an excellent story on this issue last Sunday I urge you to read. Ultimately it will require you contacting your state house and senate representatives and telling them you need to see laws changed to give cities more flexibility in dealing with these issues.
Larry 10:37 a.m. Do you read The Curbside Chronicle?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. I read one issue and I think this is a great effort to help our city's homeless population.
Ronaldo 10:38 a.m. What building or lot in each district would you like to see improved that could make the most impace for each district. These are locations that are not currently being developed or in the works. : Deep Deuce, Bricktown, Midtown, downtown, Film Row, Farmer's Market, and Plaza District... and any other spot you can think..... One for each!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. This may be the best question I've been asked to date since these chats started. Tiffany, start the transcript with this!
My suggestions for improving the urban core, district by district:
- Central Business District: take the dead honeycomb like, obsolete relay equipment and towers off the roof of the historic Pioneer Building. Successfully redevelop First National Center.
- Deep Deuce: turn the old Luster home into a bed breakfast, turn the adjoining century old wood frame grocery into a gift shop or art gallery.
- Bricktown: Build a hotel across from the JDM Building along the Bricktown Canal.
- Midtown: Build housing and shops at NW 10 and Hudson.
- Film Row: Redevelop the ICM buildings on the north side of Sheridan Avenue.
- Farmers Market; Open up a really great bar and restaurant in one of the ancillary one-story buildings.
- Plaza District: Build a three-story garage west of the Lyric Theater children's performance building.
- Automobile Alley: Build a mid-rise residential tower immediately west of the 5th Street Garage.
- Uptown: Redevelop the Tower Theater into an Alamo Draft House Cinema.
Richard 10:45 a.m. Oversight not to include Deep Deuce in street car phase 1?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. No. Remember, phase 2 is funded. Deep Deuce redevelopment is proceeding rapidly, and it may be wise to stagger that route out a bit to ensure it matches up with what ultimately transpires there.
Lord Voldemort 10:45 a.m. The Twin Mystery Towers that were proposed for the Stage Center site., did they require the entire block or just the Stage Center site? Could the Bank of America drive thru site fix the Twin Mystery Towers?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Whole site. As for the drive-through... I don't know.
Laura N 10:46 a.m. What are some possible solutions to the problems that vacant buildings and houses in neighborhoods pose to current residents? Are there any cities out there that have solved these problems?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Read Bill Crum's story in last Sunday's Oklahoman.
Thumper 10:46 a.m. are you excited for the leaps forward made by Selexys Pharmaceuticals Corp.?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I must confess, I am only slightly aware of all this...
Ronaldo 10:47 a.m. Are there any other hotels in the works for the OUHSC besides Embassy Suites and the Kids Corral?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Nope.
Aaron 10:47 a.m. Good stuff on the East Bricktown Project. I think the changes make the development a whole lot more exciting.
BethanySooner 10:47 a.m. I know you think that the next tower will most likely go on the Preftakes block, but would you say at this point that tower 3 is most likely to go on Hudson & Kerr or somewhere else? Also, with the potential tower on the Stage Center site, the Preftakes block, and Hudson/Kerr, Hudson Avenue could become the most prominent street in the CBD.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. I would not say that, but I also would not discourage others from saying it either. No assumptions can be made at this time. Yes, Hudson is gaining in importance.
OKCNat 10:48 a.m. Hi Steve, thanks for doing this, not necessarily in the downtown area but would you happen to know what's going up near the Target at SW 44th and Western and the space north of I-240 between Walker a S. Santa Fe? It's great to see how the southside is also catching the overally revitalization in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. No, I don't know. But I do agree, we are seeing some good development on the southside and I have high hopes for Capitol Hill.
John 10:49 a.m. What's the story on the barber shop in the Branniff building? Is a replacement set to move in?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. See my posting last night at OKC Central.
Aaron 10:49 a.m. Any chance at more changes to the East Bricktown project? As it stands now, the spaces facing the promenade appear to be residential. Wouldn't it make more sense for the ground level space facing the promenade to be commercial/retail?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. I know that Gary Brooks reads these chats, so hopefully I'll get an answer from him to your question.
Thumper 10:50 a.m. Bob Seeger is overrated.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. He's the American voice pal, and don't you forget it!
Ron or Fez 10:50 a.m. Excited for Affleck to play Batman?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. No.
notcool 10:51 a.m. Why do people talk about this great leadership in OKC? Crime is out of control..we have no choices (for example, where my Dad lives in Colorado they are not tied to Cox and the speed is 5x faster at half the cost). We have backwards liquor laws, no plans for any kind of rail from the airport to anywhere. Our roads are horrible. Our highways are not build with any future expansion needs at all. I don't see good leadership in the least.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. The answer is in the eye of the beholder. I feel safe in our city compared to others. The liquor laws are a result of lawmakers and few powerful interests trying to maintain the status quo. The chamber and city hall are working to get these state laws changed, so I'm not sure that reflects on city leadership as much as it does on lawmakers across the state. There is a great planning effort to create a regional rail system, and I'll be reporting on that this fall. Highway design is dictated by the state, not the city.
City roads? I guess some are good, some are bad.
Lord Voldemort 10:54 a.m. Any updates on The Rise on 23rd Street? When will we find out if it will be retail, restaurants or bars?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Hey, yeah! We should do an update on that!
Jordan Brandenburg 10:54 a.m. Steve, was the vote for MAPS3 explicitly for a streetcar, or was it transit in general?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. The vote with MAPS 3 was to give the city council $777 million to spend on capital improvements. They voted on a resolution prior to the ballot that committed to spending that a list of projects that included mention of the following:
"A new rail-based streetcar system to service the inner city and-or to service other areas within The City of Oklahoma City, plus funding for other transit infrastructure as appropriate, such as connections to other rail-based systems and/or a transit hub." That makes it pretty clear, at least from my reading, the intent and what was promised to voters was a rail-based streetcar system, and efforts to divert money to the bus system would be a break in faith with voters regardless of whether one thinks they were properly informed about funding issues and/or its operations.
Paul 11:00 a.m. So, what do you see as possible snags with the streetcar situation between now and approval of the route by Sept. 24?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. Politics. I am told that the vote is being staggered out so far because of the availability of consultant Rick Gustafson.
BethanySooner 11:01 a.m. Steve, thanks for showing the Bricktown East site plans on your blogsite. I was concerned about what exactly would fill the gap, but if it turns out anything like the photo it will be amazing. Do you have a rendering of the larger site plan, I curious to see what is proposed for the extreme east and west ends?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. To the west, a hotel and garage will be built. To the east, a second phase of housing is planned.
Gary T 11:02 a.m. What is the first thing that needs to happen to make the Farmer's Market the next great development area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Housing or a really great bar.
Guest 11:02 a.m. What is Ron Bradshaw planning on doing with the Page Woodson School?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Housing.
Guest 11:02 a.m. Excited about all the development. If you were opening a new company, Steve Lackmeyer Inc., where would you put your office?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. How big a company are we talking about? Big enough to fill up the Parkside Building? Or a small company that might fit nicely into First National Center?
Elise 11:03 a.m. Hi Steve. Do you know anything more about the old brick building on the northwest corner of 23rd and Classen (the vacuum shop)? It is way underused and some of the buildings to the west of it have for sale signs that look several years old. I am worried another box store will tear it all down. That corner will lose some of its coolness if that happens.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Nope. I agree with your concerns.
Gary T 11:04 a.m. I saw the Homeland on 39th and Penn closed down. Any idea what will take its place?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. I think Richard Mize had a story recently that indicated it won't be empty long, that it already has some potential tenants lined up. That's all I know.
Michael 11:04 a.m. Steve I am having the awesome problem of having a difficult time keeping track of which developments have been announced and where they will be. Any chance you could post a map on okccentral of what plots of land have announced apartment developments on them and which projects are going where (with pics :) ) thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Yep. I'm already working on it.
Guest 11:05 a.m. Steve, maybe I missed it but what are the exact streets for the Fassler Hall location? Is it 10th/Park Place and Walker/Hudson?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Think of it this way: it's immediately to the east of Brown's Bakery.
Michael 11:05 a.m. Steve, have you been able to meet with Rainey Williams and see any preliminary design of the stage center tower? Or are they waiting to lock in an anchor tenant before starting design work?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I've met with Rainey Williams and he seems like a really good guy.
Jonathan 11:06 a.m. Do you have any insight into what is going to be built on 10th Street between 235 and Lincoln?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Nope.
Michael 11:06 a.m. Also, any changes to your "at least 20 stories" comment?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. No changes, other to emphasize the "at least" portion of the comment, which seems to get forgotten by those who are referring to this as a 20-story tower.
AP 11:07 a.m. Do you think there are too many hipsters in this city?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Heck no! I like them.
George 11:08 a.m. all right, we all know Nick Preftakes is up to something, and you know whats up. It's time to spill the beans Steve!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m.
George 11:10 a.m. Because if you don't spill the beans on preftakes someone might burn you again!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I love beans.
Alex 11:10 a.m. There were a lot of rumors surrounding possible anchors for the Mystery Tower. Were Shell, Conoco or Phillips 66 ever really in the discussion to move their headquarters to OKC? If so, are they still at the table?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Rumors, rumors, rumors. Headquarters? No. Regional operations? Maybe.
Guest 11:11 a.m. hmm. I may be reading too much into your response to my MidFirst question, but are you saying these are just "rumors" (i.e. no truth, just chatter) or are you saying that you have heard something about this, but cannot disclose yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. There are just way too many moving pieces still with all this development, and if Ii were to say "yeah, that company is in the mix," and then the game changes, my credibility is at stake. I'm just going to get into naming names unless there's a letter of intent or I'm confident a deal is set to take place.
Ryan 11:12 a.m. Do you know what the plans are for the Page Woodson School?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. housing
Judy 11:12 a.m. Steve thanks for question and answer article, those were all things I was dying to know about! I do have one question, are crepe myrtles set in stone for the ball park? I think Sycamore's would look even better there!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. I think the folks at Downtown OKC Inc read this, so maybe we'll find out.
Gary T 11:13 a.m. Do you think the building of the Hilton Garden Inn and the East bricktown apartments will help stop what is the revoling door of clubs closing in that area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Yeah.
Guest 11:13 a.m. Can you please tell us the name of the company that chose to reloacte to Nashville instead of OKC b/c of the lack of parking (I believe you referenced this in your last chat)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. They chose to relocate to Nashville due to air connections, not parking. And nope, can't do it.
Alex 11:14 a.m. Any chance we could finally attract a Hard Rock Café to Bricktown with everything that the city and district have going on now?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Good gosh, why? We can do better than that.
Guest 11:14 a.m. When will you be reporting on the project you're most excited about? Sometime in September maybe?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Yeah, I hope so.
Rich 11:14 a.m. Steve, glad the Oklahoman picked up on the official announcement that Classen Curve and Nichols Hills Plaza are for sale. I think you may have an idea of who has been snooping around those areas. I know you can't say names but are national or local firms doing the most snooping?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. I know of local interests who have made bids.
Austin 11:15 a.m. Hi Steve, when do you think the OKSEA project will be complete? What kind of tenants do you foresee?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Sometime next year. We'll likely see an office or two, and some artists and food truck style operators.
BethanySooner 11:15 a.m. I could be mistaken about it being Leo's, but the building I was referring to is at 4th & Harrison right next to the railroad tracks. The transaction was in The Oklahoman's land sales. I think the purchase price was around 400K.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. I'm not aware of a sale there. I'll look into it.
Guest 11:16 a.m. Surveyors have been working on the empty lots just east of 235 and west of Lincoln on 10th Street (three huge lots by the Department of Commerce building), any idea what will be built there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. That might be related to OU's purchase of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park, but any answer I give you on this is speculation.
Guest 11:16 a.m. When are the 4th St apartments starting construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. Later this year.
Michael 11:16 a.m. I understand the chamber is lobbying hard to have liquor laws reformed at the Capitol, but it doesn't seem like they have made much progress. What is it going to take to get things done? What doesn't the Tulsa Chamber help out?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. How do we know Tulsa isn't helping?
George 11:17 a.m. Why does there seem to be such a distinct difference in the mind set of Tulsa vs. OKC when it comes to connecting the 2 cities via rail? I feel like Tulsa almost has their glass half empty and our is half full? does that make sense?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Actually, Tulsa is quite eager to get a rail connection.
Michael 11:17 a.m. Do you think the sale of Nichols Hills Plaza will increase our chances of getting a trader joes?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. I think we will get a Trader Joe's regardless. Costco as well.
Joey 11:18 a.m. Glad to hear that the citizen advisory committee approved a street car route, this is very, very exciting news for okc. I saw somewhere that there is a video of what this route will be like; can you get your hands on this video and post it to okccentral? that would be great!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Yep, if it's made available.
Joey 11:18 a.m. Also what do you see as the biggest advantages and disadvantages of the street car route approved by the committee?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. I really have no qualms about it. Most of it makes sense. The only debate really is whether to go with couplets or duel tracks, and it looks like the city council is being given the option of going either way.
Mark 11:19 a.m. Besides the Tower Theater, what do you think are the biggest things that need to happen to 23rd to get it back into proper shape? From a personal note, crossing the street can be difficult sometimes.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Yes, and unfortunately I was not able to attend an Uptown walkability forum on this very subject earlier this week. I'm hoping a video will be posted.
Chris 11:20 a.m. Watching The Edge construction on 13th. The parking garage seems massive in comparison to the overall size of the project. Will some of the parking spaces be used for pay parking to serve the general parking shortage in that area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. As I recall, there will be a lot of public curbside spaces, but the garage is private.
Judy 11:21 a.m. I know there are a thousand things going on right now, and I cannot imagine how backed up you are right now, but is anyone talking about putting together a Skirvin type public/private venture for First National?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Gotta wonder about that....
Judy 11:21 a.m. When you tweeted big decisions are going on downtown right now and that we need to pay attention what did you mean specifically? I need things spelled out for me! :)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. First: pay attention to the mayoral campaign. You have two very clear choices about where this city will go in the future, and there will be voices trying to muck it up with mud slinging against Shadid and Cornett. I know both men. They're not bad men, despite what mud is slung. Pay attention to what they want to do and how they propose to move forward with MAPS 3 and continued development of our city as a whole. It's easy to talk about what's wrong without providing solutions.
Also pay attention to upcoming discussions about the streetcar system, the Core to Shore park, convention center and hotel. Pay attention to efforts to get state laws changed on vacant buildings, liquor laws, and a fix in funding for the American Indian Cultural Center. Pay attention to how Project 180 is implemented.
Judy 11:25 a.m. You said you gave 2 speeches the other day, were these public events because I definitely would have liked to have gone!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Kinda public. One was a club of civic leaders that meets at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club, the other was a Mercedes club that meets at Mimi's Cafe. I've got another speaking engagement this next Thursday. How many of you would be interested in hearing me speak at an OPUBCO-sponsored gathering? I say this off the cuff, and it's one of those moments where my bosses will embrace my spontaneity or I'll get lectured for not talking to them first. So I'm just gauging interest here.
Mark 11:27 a.m. Honestly, why don't the people in JFK just realize they are sitting on great real estate, sell for a huge premium and reinvest in another up and coming area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Because JFK is their home.
Judy 11:27 a.m. What is your new book about?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I have a book written with frequent collaborator Jack Money coming out next year about the history of the Oklahoma City YMCA. It's really a great story and it reflects a good deal on the history of our city.
Judy 11:28 a.m. Looks like it is going to be another past 12:00 chat day! woohoo!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Oh sure. Do you realize how burned out my brain is after these things?
CeCe 11:29 a.m. What area actually encompasses the Farmer's Market and what kind of development can we expect there? Will it be more of an entertainment destination or a healthy mix of office, retail, and housing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I don't know. I just think it has a lot of potential.
Ronaldo 11:29 a.m. How will the timing of the streetcar impact federal funds that could assist in extending the streetcar system? Did we miss our window for getting these federal dollars?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Maybe. Federal funding is getting increasingly difficult to obtain.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Why can't we get a pharmacy/drug store in the CBD?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. I've thought about this, and quite frankly, I'll be shocked if we don't see a full fledged pharmacy downtown within the next couple of years.
Judy 11:30 a.m. Steve the last picture you posted in the 'east bricktown before and after' okccentral article, where is it from? I hate to admit it, but I became almost giddy just looking at it thinking about the future! great times ahead for okc!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. That photo was taken in Bathesda, Maryland. I thought I placed a cutline on that.
Ryan 11:31 a.m. Twin towers at the city center? I thought it was supposed to be a single tower
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Another developer proposed two towers at the Stage Center site, but the winning developer, Rainey Williams, is just doing one tower.
Tom 11:31 a.m. Notcool and I see different sides of the same coin. I took an out-of-town buddy to lunch at Kaiser's yesterday and told him how GOOD things are here: Unemployment, broad industry, cost of living, friendly people, ease of getting around, on and on.
James 11:32 a.m. Is it just me or do Tulsans have a kind of defeatist attitude when it comes to cool public/private development ideas? They can see how well maps has gone, why not pay a little more for such a incredible return?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I don't know. I think each city has its own challenges. I love Tulsa, and they are accomplishing some really great projects in their urban core.
Ronaldo 11:32 a.m. Are there any developments in the works besides the possible GE complex in the Capitol to OUHSC area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Nothing I speak of right now.
Mark 11:32 a.m. So exactly where did the barber shop go/why did they leave/have you talked to them/what do you think would go well there instead?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. I've not spoken to Jamie Rush since she closed, but I don't sense she was having much success doing business downtown.
notcool 11:33 a.m. My point is I used to feel safe period. Not relative to other places. I think what progress has been made is largely in spite of, not due to our leadership. Ever been to Phoenix. The roads are plenty wide, the bridges are built to accommodate future lanes to be added without having to hire your brother in law's construction company to tear them down and build new ones years after they are needed. I like that downtown is changing but the rest of the city is decaying. Fast.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. I disagree. I see a vast amount of improvement in our older city where there was once blight from NW 23 to NW 36. I see thriving neighborhoods from NW 36 to NW 63. I see far west NW 10 continuing to struggle, but not getting terribly worse. I see the far west by Council thriving thanks to the outlet mall. I see redevelopment taking place along the I-240 corridor. I see stability in the east side with opportunities popping up for redevelopment. Are there pockets of crime? Yes. And this exists in every major city - even Phoenix.
Guest 11:36 a.m. Speaking of the liquor laws, do you see them ever getting changed? It seems the coalition of the religious anti-alcohol conservatives and liquor store owners is too powerful for there to ever be a chance at meaningful change. I've seen polls where most Oklahomans oppose changing the laws. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. If the liquor laws ever get on a ballot for voters, absolutely. And this terrifies the liquor industry in our state.
Eric 11:37 a.m. Why don't law makers realize that the absurd liquor laws are not preventing any teens from accessing alcohol, are hampering free market bar development around the state. Worst of all they are actually filling the pockets of a Lebanese Mafia family who's name happens to start with an n and end with a aifeh.
Mark 11:37 a.m. Do you see the jail on the west side of downtown being a reason for developers to stay away from that part of town?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Nope. Developers are getting active near there either way... wait...
Ted 11:38 a.m. What is the deal with Midfirst and Chesapeake with those buildings off of grand... did they buy them or not? I am confused.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. There has been no such purchase.
Guest 11:38 a.m. Any truth to the rumor that Aubrey has filed for a PUD near the dark tower on Broadway Extension?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Maybe?
Ted 11:38 a.m. Steve what was your favorite part about the cage? I am thinking about getting a team together and playing in the tournament. Where do I sign up and does it cost money?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. I loved The Cage. I went there with my son, and quite frankly, it's now my favorite way to view basketball outside of a Thunder game. It's awesome.
I'll post some links on my blog.
Ted 11:39 a.m. Also are there plans to put basketball court's in the core to shore park, and will the cage be rebuilt if not?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Yes.
Guest 11:39 a.m. What is being done with the old Dept of Labor building at 4001 N Lincoln Blvd? It has undergone some serious exterior renovation.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. I noticed that too. I don't know.
TB 11:39 a.m. DO you think between the future development of Film Row and the outdated jail (that will cost millions to bring up to date) that they will ultimately tear down the jail and relocate it elsewhere?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. No. The jail is a tough deal... I don't know that voters will give the county money to build a new one.
Bob 11:40 a.m. Any idea what is going to built on the Northeast corner of May and General Pershing just West of the new NorthCare facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. I think that's a soccer field being built for Aztec Charter School, which will ultimately relocate there.
Guest 11:40 a.m. Any news with the Native American Cultural Center? Think about it, when that is done we will have some pretty impressive museums in town and along with the thunder may be able to market ourselves fairly well to European and Asian tourists. Who doesn't want to learn about native americans, cowboys, Chihuli and see Kevin Durant all in one weekend?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. My understanding is it will be addressed in the first week of the next regular legislative session.
Lost wages :( 11:41 a.m. I liked your comment about the light rail/street car. I knew exactly what I was voting for.
Ted 11:41 a.m. Do you know when the dog park is opening in midtown? Also I these kinds of temporary set ups are great, they look much better than the pastures of midtown and can be cheaply removed when the sites are ready for a more permanent development. Are there any other things like this popping up in the other 'fields' ?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. I wrote about this last week. So yeah, there a a few others. I think the dog park will open this next year.
Chris 11:41 a.m. Re: building on 10th Street between 235 and Lincoln. Are they still planning to add an off ramp for north bound traffic there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Yes.
Ted 11:42 a.m. Do you know what the asking price is for NH plaza or Classen Curve? Estimate?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Nope.
Tim 11:42 a.m. What are plans for the historic house on 3rd and central? (Deep Duece)Do they have a buyer or is it going up for auction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. nothing so far
Mark 11:42 a.m. Just curious, but do you know how much the Gaylord clan sold OPUBCO for?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. More money than what's in my checking account.
AJ 11:42 a.m. The video for the street car route should be on YouTube soon.
Mike 11:42 a.m. Is pump bar still happening? That seemed really cool
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. yes
Ted 11:43 a.m. If Aubrey gets American growing as quickly as well all think he does, you need to convince him to move their office downtown and possibly develop another tower!
Gary T 11:43 a.m. What are the boundaries on the Bomasada development going to be? Oklahoma and 235, obviously and 6th all the way to 10th or are they going to leave that corner for other development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. I think it ends at NW 8
BethanySooner 11:43 a.m. The crape myrtles around the ballpark would look nice and are drought tolerant once established, but they would not be to scale with the height of the ballpark, nor would they provide the shading and cooling aspects that are needed in our part of the country.
BethanySooner 11:43 a.m. When might we hear something from the folks at the Wormy Dog regarding their intentions for development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. soon
BethanySooner 11:43 a.m. 'The one that got away.' You mentioned last week that OKC lost a potential business to Nashville because of a lack of direct flights out of Will Rogers. How many jobs were they talking about, and do you see this being a significant factor for other companies looking at OKC, or was this just something specific to this particular company?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. More than 100 jobs. And yes.
John 11:44 a.m. Are the powers that be doing anything to incentivize increased air connections to prevent the situation with the company choosing Nashville from happening again?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. They are limited in what they can do by the FAA.
Mike 11:44 a.m. If you were young, and wanted to get into the next up and coming neighborhood and renovate before prices shot up, where would you go?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. NW 18 and Walnut.
Guest 11:44 a.m. Do you believe the streetcar will get passed and completed when it's all said and done?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I don't know.
Mike 11:45 a.m. Where are you today steve?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. At an undisclosed location.
Mike 11:45 a.m. Exciting news to read that perhaps advances in technology could lead to wireless street cars, now thats something even larry nichols can get behind!
Lucky 11:45 a.m. Is there a goal to have current business owners to revamp or modify their rundown exteriors so it will conform to all the other modern projects going up?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. Nope.
Mike 11:45 a.m. What do you see as the biggest pro and the biggest con for both Shadid and Cornett? Have you made your mind up who you are going to vote for?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Uh-uh, no you didn't! You're not going to get me answering a question like that! I'll be voting for Pat Paulson for president.
Guest 11:46 a.m. Yes to OPUBCO sponsored forum!
CeCe 11:46 a.m. If someone wanted to seriously get into urban development what initial steps would you recommend???
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. This is a great question - but too in-depth to be answered at this time. Maybe on the blog.
forsale 11:47 a.m. Isn't it ironic that I'd like to sell my house in NW OKC and move downtown, but my neighborhood has run down so much and crime gotten bad enough recently that I probably am underwater now. Enough money is being spent downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. What neighborhood are we talking about? I know of a lot of neighborhoods that have seen values go up due to investment downtown thanks to major employers growing and expanding.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. I am quite aware of the political campaign going on right now, and how some folks are trying to create a downtown vs. suburbs battle for their own benefit. I'm not stupid. Forsale, name the neighborhood you are in.
Mike 11:48 a.m. We need to bring in a internet/tv provider that can actually compete with COX. They essentially have a monopoly in okc and the prices definitely reflect that!
Dan 11:49 a.m. Ant chance Phase 1 of streetcar could go to HSC instead of the convoluted starter line currently proposed? HSC is huge employment center, activity generator 7 days a week, all hours....
OKC Streetcar 11:49 a.m. Steve, we'll get you the streetcar video after it's posted. Who would have thought a little 20 minute video would take a week to create and publish...
notcool 11:49 a.m. Tom, I'd agree but I wouldn't give our leadership credit for much of that. I had a buddy here from Phoenix and he couldn't believe the theft problems in my neighborhood I told him about. It's a nice neighborhood. I have video of someone cutting loose a trailer and stealing it with his kid in tow. Cops were too busy to do a thing. That's bad leadership.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. notcool, what neighborhood are you in?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Folks, please remember, that in the year I've been doing these chats, crime has never been mentioned as an issue. There is an effort to create impressions, to manipulate the public discussion. I don't know if that is going on here, but I am suspicious.
Lucky 11:51 a.m. Will the city force current business owners to update their exteriors to conform with the new projects going up?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Nope.
Hope 11:51 a.m. What would you add to downtown to make it more convenient for people to live there? I would invest in a Walgreens in a second if I had the money.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. sounds good
Larry in SoLoCo 11:51 a.m. Also, of all the new nd interesting things occuring in the area, I ran into olive oil tasting at Kanon Gallery on 8th street. Is this something new? Seemed odd to me.
Mark 11:52 a.m. Worst example of klingonspeak at the Tranist Subcommittee meeting?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Oh, don't get me started.
Elise 11:52 a.m. What's going to happen to the building on the southwest corner of 10th and Harvey where the guy got fined because it was so junky? Will he sell it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. He doesn't seem interested in doing anything.
sam 11:53 a.m. I saw a entire family bathing (with clothes on) in the canal by the landrun statue's...with soap and everything! is that legal? if so count me in!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. No, that's not legal.
forsale 11:53 a.m. Between 50th and 63rd near Tulsa. I know people who have gone in to get a drink and come back to a missing mower.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. I know that area very well. I went to school near there. My father lived there last year before he died. First off, even in the nicest neighborhoods, you can't just leave a lawn mower unattended outside. That's a bad idea. That area has some nice, stable neighborhoods, and others that are plagued with rental housing. I would suggest that even if you add hundreds of new officers, the challenges facing that area are more due to the lack of incentive for there to be owner-occupied housing rather than rental housing. It's definitely a problem facing a lot of the neighborhoods, and I've not heard anyone at City Hall really discuss it.
Kim 11:57 a.m. Steve, can you decide which comments show up on this chat? Can we ban the idiots trying to turn this into a political chat with lies about crimes in their neighborhoods.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I'm watching it. I am aware that a similar situation has taken place at OKC Talk.
CeCe 11:57 a.m. I'm glad FORSALE said that because I live on 50th street and Meridian. No problem with crime for the 3.5 years I've been there. Maybe too many people parking in apartment complexes for Bingo but no real crime issues. The only sirens we get are first responders and ambulances going to the senior's citizens home on Meridian or firefighters going to the every blazing Willow Creek Apartments.
Kim 11:57 a.m. Crime happens everywhere, I know of 3 people that have had their rims off their SUV's stolen in the middle of the night and they all live in nice areas. All 3 took place in completely different areas. Yukon, The Village and Deep Deuce.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Folks, it's noon, it's time for me to say goodbye. 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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