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OKC Central Chat transcript, Feb. 22, 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: February 22, 2013 at 11:57 am •  Published: February 22, 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.

NewsOK 9:27 a.m. Good morning everyone! Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. Good morning. I have no voice this morning, but my typing skills are intact!
Aaron 10:03 a.m. Good morning Steve! I saw on DowntownOKC's Twitter feed that we're getting an Old School Bagel at Leadership Square. I posed this question to you on Twitter, but I figured I'd go ahead and submit it here: Do you know if Old School will have weekend hours at the new location?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. Aaron, I saw your question and I'm awaiting an answer from Mark Beffort, who is the lead partner of the group that owns and leases Leadership Square. Beffort confirms Old School Bagel will open by April 1st in the north side of Leadership Square in a space that was previously a card shop, and most recently used by a toastmasters club. Still awaiting word as to whether the restaurant will open on weekends.
BethanySooner 10:04 a.m. Good morning Steve. Your article about the McKown project mentioned that they were looking at building east of Level as well as west. Is the east location the parcel of land directly north of the old Calvary Church building?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Yes. The land in question is part owned by Urban Renewal, part owned by OIC. Urban Renewal has released requests for development proposals for its parcels on the block previously, but bidders could never lock down the OIC land. McKown has taken the reverse action, acquiring the OIC land, and hoping to then secure the Urban Renewal parcels on the block. At first glance, it seems like a good bet.
Dan 10:06 a.m. Morning, Steve! I remember there being talk some time ago about reducing the number of lanes on Broadway and introducing diagonal parking along the street to make things more pedestrian-friendly. Is this still happening?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. I'm told it is still happening, but I've yet to be told a timeline as to when.
mike 10:07 a.m. any update on what shop is going in across from Cafe 7 on the corner of robinson and park?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. A clothing store.
BethanySooner 10:07 a.m. Have you had a chance to speak with Ron Bradshaw regarding the possibility of Brownstone flats being built adjacent to the current Brownstones?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. Not yet, but it's on my list.
Gary T 10:07 a.m. When is the downtown school supposed to break ground?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. My understanding is that construction of the new John W. Rex Elementary are set to go out for bids this next month. The Urban Land Institute will be hosting a presentation on the school next month. Here's the info:
An $11 million elementary school planned for downtown OKC, the final school to be built through MAPs for Kids.
What makes this school different? How will this school set itself apart from others within the same district?
The John W. Rex Charter Elementary School is a partnership between Oklahoma City Public Schools & OKC Quality Schools, Inc., a nonprofit group headed by former mayor & ULI Oklahoma member Kirk Humphreys.
Oklahoma City Public Schools will apply for the school's charter to the University of Oklahoma, and the charter will be turned over to the John W. Rex board upon approval. Plans call for approximately 500 students, pre-k thru sixth grade & adding a new grade each year.
Join us Thursday, March 7th as Kirk Humphreys will engage members of ULI Oklahoma in a candid conversation regarding the John R. Rex Charter Elementary School.
Legacy Bank has graciously offered to sponsor public officials and first time guests who are accompanied by a ULI Member. Thank you Legacy Bank!
The monthly luncheons are limlited to the first 20 people so make plans to join us & register early.

Gary T 10:10 a.m. Any progress on the boulevard?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. I believe the revised plans are being reviewed by federal highway officials.
Gary T 10:11 a.m. When will we see renderings for the smaller hotels near main street in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. At this point I'm not aware of design work having started yet for the two hotels planned for Byers and Sheridan, or the hotel planned as part of the Gary Brooks/Andy Burnett development, or the hotel planned for 1st Street and Russell Perry Avenue. Designs are already out for the Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express.
Gary T 10:13 a.m. I noticed they were clearing out the Lincoln Plaza. Are the latest renderings we saw final?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. Yes, I noticed the same work being done yesterday. It's my understanding that the property is set to become home of the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority.
Gary T 10:13 a.m. Any update on the Preftakes block improvement?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. No.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. The graffiti and dirty, boarded-up windows remain intact.
Gary T 10:14 a.m. Remember the Leslie apartments in Deep Deuce? Whatever happened to that?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. The Leslie project was cancelled when the economic crash hit in 2008. The site is now set to be developed as the second phase of the Level Urban Apartments. You can read the latest on the project, and see renderings, at NewsOK by going to
Nick 10:16 a.m. Is this possible midstream move something to do with the long-rumored Devon project on the Preftakes' block? Or would it be kept in their tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. I don't know Nick. I had the very same question when I read the story by Jay Marks this morning. You can read the story here:
BethanySooner 10:18 a.m. Other than the hotels and the KD restaraunt, are there any other big surprises in the works for Bricktown? Also, with so much new development set to take place on vacant lots do you think that might speed up the process of some of the property owners finishing out the upper floors of their buildings?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Interest in developing the vacant upper floors of Bricktown's old warehouses is the highest I've observed in the history of the district. The owners of the buildings occupied by Brix and the Bricktown Brewery, are preparing to launch an extensive renovation of the upper floors at 27 E Sheridan. It will include restoring long boarded up windows and creating a much nicer entryway on the northside of the building facing the parking lot. We also are set to soon see housing developed in the upper floors of the Meidike Building at 108 E Main. Brent Brewer is eager to develop the upper floors of the former Hunzicker Brothers building (home to Peachwave and Captain Norm's). The upper floors Spaghetti Warehouse, meanwhile, are only undeveloped because efforts to do deals with the out-of-state owners to date have been unsuccessful.
As for surprises.... we'll have a couple new "rides" this next year I think will be great for the district in terms of continuing its momentum as a great place for visitors and family fun.
RW 10:25 a.m. Do we know the type or name of grocery store that will be constructed at tne NW Corner of 63rd and MacArthur once they demolish the old strip mall?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. I'm not covering this project, but I believe I read it will be a Wal Mart Neighborhood Market.
Nick 10:25 a.m. In your article this morning, you said that McKown purchased additional parcels of land to the east of Level. Isn't that where the Calvary Baptist Church is? Which parcels did he buy exactly? The small ones just north of the church on that same block?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. The land is east of Level, and immediately north of thee former Calvary Baptist Church.
Chad 10:26 a.m. Good morning,Steve. With the canal expansion, do you expect to see commercial development along the new part of the canal - and do you expect the expansion to help fill in vacant retail/dining space on the existing portion of the canal?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. The expanded river inlet (I and others have been guilty in the past of calling it the canal) is part of Regatta Park, so I'm not sure it's possible that section can be commercially developed. But the new connection between the Oklahoma River and the Bricktown Canal certainly could promote development on the remaining empty Lower Bricktown parcels in the area immediately north of the new Interstate 40.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. I will add that the area in question was once considered as an early site for the Aloft Hotel that is now getting built in Deep Deuce.
Nick 10:28 a.m. McKown said he wants a coffee shop, but isn't there already going to be a coffee shop in the Aloft Hotel? And we've heard rumors about a new Starbucks going in north of here for awhile now. Too much coffee?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. I've not been aware of any efforts by Starbucks to expand its presence downtown. I am not sure where that rumor is coming from. At this point, Aloft developer Jim Thompson has signaled he hopes to have a restaurant, gift shop and coffee shop, but no deals have yet to be announced.
Kent 10:30 a.m. Do you know what's going on with the hotel liquidation site on 23rd. There seems to be a new owner running it. And promoting business through ads. Is this impacting the redevelopment announced for the block?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. Heh, heh....
OK, how do I tell this story within this chat?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Long story made short. Jonathan Russell, who bought the block and is moving ahead with redevelopment of the property as an upscale shopping center dubbed "The Rise," ended up deciding to buy the business too. It will be moving. He told me the new location, but forgive me, I can't remember where.
BethanySooner 10:32 a.m. Rumors seem to indicate that at least two local companies have been very actively involved in selecting a site for their proposed towers as well as an out of state business. Is there any possibility that we might get as many as three different tower announcements this calendar year? Also, do you think that with the uncertainty right now at Chesapeake and Sandridge that some of these potential tower candidates might be slowing up to see if those properties might come available?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. A whole half hour before anyone hit me with a tower question. You folks are getting slow to the draw. A councilman recently (and jokingly) accused me of being "sadistic" and teasing readers with just tidbits about the tower. I try to give you what I can, and I not intended to tease at all!
So, all of you, who are great readers, who make OKC Central a great discussion, keep hitting me with new creative questions aimed at dragging more information from me.
I'm going to stick with what I've said: a deal is being done, but it's not done yet. It will involve the Stage Center site. Other groups/companies are interested in building high-rises downtown beyond the one in the works for the Stage Center site. But I cannot say with certainty whether they will be built. We have too many moving pieces right now, and too much uncertainty involving Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy.
Nick 10:37 a.m. Old School is coming downtown?! Awesome!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. I agree!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. My wife will be very jealous when The Oklahoman moves downtown and I'll be one block away from an Old School Bagel shop.
Aaron 10:37 a.m. As always, thank you Steve!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. No problem Aaron. After seeing how successful Kitchen No. 324 has been on weekends, one must assume Old School Bagel shop is at least considering a similar operation.
Jay 10:38 a.m. Steve, This new Deep Deuce 96 unit apartment project is great and reminds me of the Nikko and the Alix developments in Dallas that Andy Carnahan with Foresite Development built. See them at Do you know of any more like these for Midtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Not at this time.
Aaron 10:39 a.m. Also, any comment on Aloft's request to switch to stucco? (as mentioned this morning on OKCTalk)
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. I'll be writing about this later. The OKC Talk discussion is lacking context and information.
Guest 10:39 a.m. I missed the chat last week but any updates on the Arcade Building? And about the names itself, was it actually an Arcade Shop or does the name come from something else?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. I ended up working some other stories this week, but an update is still coming soon. Good question on the origin of the name - I'll try and see if there's an answer.
Peter Pan 10:40 a.m. Good morning. Lots (both vacant and with existing houses) in the SOSA neighborhood are getting more and more difficult to find. The going price these days is $60-70k for lots with a view. What other residential areas around the city's core could see a similar influx of residential development? Not necessarily modern design...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. The time for buying cheap land in the MidTown Cottage district, also known as SOSA, has passed. The area is now in play. The neighborhood around NE 18 and Walnut reminds me of a run-down Mesta Park. It has lots of great old homes, scattered empty lots, and has a lot of potential. But it's a rough area. Pioneers in the Cottage District had to overcome similar early challenges and uncertainty over whether they would be able to turn the area around. The greater the risk, the greater the possible reward.
Nick 10:43 a.m. What's the latest on the renovations of Emerson Alternative School?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. They broke ground in October and not a single spade of dirt seems to have been dug up since. Good question.
Nick 10:44 a.m. When is OCU's Law School opening downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Watch for an update this next week or so.
Ryan W 10:44 a.m. Steve,Any idea of the type or name of grocer that is supposed to move in to NW Corner of 63rd and MacArthur once developer demolishes old strip mall?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. My understanding is it will be a Wal Mart Neighborhood Market.
Nick 10:44 a.m. Has Avis decided if she's going to do anything with the Rock Island Plow Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Not yet, though efforts are ongoing behind the scenes.
Nick 10:45 a.m. I haven't asked in awhile, but what is Marva Ellard up to these days? Anything exciting going on with her?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Yes, but if I tell you, she'll hire an assassin to kill me (ok, not an assassin. But she won't be happy with me).
Nick 10:46 a.m. I noticed that site cleanup continues on the block between 10th and 11th and Harvey and Hudson Avenues. Anything new you can tell us at this time? Will there be an update on this "project" in Sunday's Oklahoman?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. The Bob Howard group isn't talking yet, but based on what I've seen, it appears that they are doing some investigation as to what, if any, contaminants might be underground.
Guest 10:47 a.m. Steve, if I am reading between the lines on this new bill about the Native American Cultural Center, is the state basically trying to take ownership of the land and building? If so, will it remain a Native American Cultural Center or could we see it become an Art Museum. It would be incredible to have somethine similar to The Getty in LA with European and American Art and possible Gardens along that hill.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. Guest, some would say your suggestion presumes way too much thoughtful deliberation on behalf of our state lawmakers. Local civic leaders are yearning to see some adults get into the room at the State Capitol and address this situation before tens of millions of taxpayer dollars already invested in this project go to waste by putting the property at risk to the elements and vandalism.
Dan 10:49 a.m. Now that the Level apartments are expanding west, can a railroad quiet zone be far behind?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. Far? Not from what I'm hearing.
holmes 10:49 a.m. any names being released on the helicopter crash?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Holmes, keep visiting NewsOK - The Oklahoman has some of its best reporters working this story and it will updated throughout the day.
Nick 10:50 a.m. Any word on the Bricktown POPS? Is it dead?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. It's been very, very quiet. I've been unable to get any updates. Remember, POPS is owned by outgoing Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. As an aside: wouldn't a Republic or POPS be a great replacement for the now vacant Coach's restaurant at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark?
Ryan W 10:51 a.m. Steve, Any idea of the name of or type of grocer that will be filling spot once the old store front at nw63rd and macarthur is torn down?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. AURGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Quit me asking me this!
(I still love all of you, but the repeat questions are driving me nuts)
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. Everyone, try to remember, there is a delay between the time questions and comments are entered and when they get posted.
Ryan W 10:53 a.m. hi
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. Hi.
Nick 10:53 a.m. Would the city or developers ever break up the huge parking garage that fronts EK Gaylord right by Chase Tower? It's horribly ugly, but you could bring part of it down, extend Park Ave to Gaylord and build something more attractive. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. This idea was somewhat echoed by owners of the Skirvin Hilton when they sought to have the convention center built along Main Street in Bricktown. But cost wise, it just seems way beyond anything the city can consider.
Chad 10:54 a.m. Good morning, Steve. Has a timeline been established for "The Rise" on 23rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. My understand is work should begin later this year.
Michael 10:55 a.m. With the current oil and gas boom, will we see another energy company join OKC in the future ala CLR?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. Anything is possible.
John 10:55 a.m. When will Robert S. Kerr in front of Sandridge re-open?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. SandRidge has started it's part of Project 180 improvements along Robert S. Kerr Ave. as it passes through SandRidge Commons. A timetable for the street's reopening, however, has yet to be announced.
Nick 10:56 a.m. Are there any plans for the old Wholesale Flooring building along the N side of Main St. in Bricktown? The rest of the buildings along Main in that immediate area have had some nice renovations, but this one sits idly by.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. It's a great building. The owners have entertained some possible tenants and redevelopment options, but nothing has firmed up yet.
Jack 10:57 a.m. Have you heard anything about a national retailer interested in property at Memorial and Rockwell?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. When it comes to Memorial and Rockwell, or any place along Memorial, it seems as if national retailers open and close along there about every other week. Not aware of anything specific, but this is an area better covered by real estate editor Richard Mize and reteail reporter Jennifer Palmer.
BOb 10:58 a.m. Any rumors about what might happen to the bus station after they move out East?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. Nick Preftakes has stated it will be redeveloped, but has not indicated any specific plans for the site.
Oklahomie 10:58 a.m. Hey Steve, I heard you finally visited the Neighborhood Lounge last weekend. What did you think?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. The owner is one of the many legendary characters (I say this in a good way) that make Oklahoma City a great place. I'll have a column about my visit soon.
Joslyn 10:59 a.m. When will renderings be released for the new City Arts Center on Broadway?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I thought we might have seen renderings the other day. So I'm not sure what to tell you on this.
Nick 11:00 a.m. Do you think we'll see some mixed use along 23rd St in the near future? The area seems primed for some housing like the Edge or Level to really just boom. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Yes. More housing will be developed along the fringes of NW 23.
Will 11:00 a.m. Heard anything new on The Waterfront development by The Humphreys Co?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. They are toying with some development concepts. The project is active. But no plans have been decided on yet.
Joslyn 11:01 a.m. Is the Bomasada Group considering dipping their toe back in the Oklahoma City market?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. Yes.
Will 11:01 a.m. Brace yourselves... Mystery Tower questions are coming...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. I'm braced.
Nick 11:01 a.m. So, when is Russell going to move the furniture liquidators and get started on the Rise?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Later this year.
Nick 11:02 a.m. CHK showed a profit in news today and if they make the right hire for CEO, things could turn around there. SandRidge is very worrisome. I really wish they'd get it together though because we need more towers!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. So in your mind, is the glass half full or half empty?
Nick 11:02 a.m. Could you maybe give us a newbies a little insight into why the real estate transaction for this alleged tower is so complex? Is it something about inflated land prices, multiple owners of the desired parcel of land, employees will flee? What makes them so complex? Also, is the Stage Center site for the out of state company or one of our local players?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. It took me months to buy my first home and to get it financed. And that was a $71,000 transaction. Extrapolate that ... these deals inherently take time.
Gary T 11:04 a.m. With the influx of more apartments, any chance Deep Deuce apartments decides to slowly move over to for sale apartments?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. I'm not sure. Right now, the momentum is with rental housing, though the for-sale housing at The Hill is moving very nicely now, and more are being built.
Guest 11:05 a.m. You've hinted that we could see an announcement by the end of March, that it involves the Stage Center site, and that the company involved could be a surprise. Have you seen the name of this company in either your chat or on OKC Talk? Can you confirm if this would be a North American or Corporate HQ?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. No.
Austin 11:05 a.m. Hey Steve, do you know what restaurant is being put in the ground floor at Level? We were told it would be open this summer.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. A restaurant deal at Level should be announced soon. I can't say more than that right now.
Nick 11:06 a.m. Well, Steve, maybe Marva could do a guest blog post on OKCCentral and tell us a little about what she has upcoming... Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I can ask her, but that's not really Marva's style.
Nick 11:06 a.m. That tidbit on POPS is very disappointing. That was the Bricktown development I was most looking forward to. Just thought it would be a wonderful addition.
Nick 11:06 a.m. OH MY GOD, YES! A RePUBlic or POPS in the Coach's space at Bricktown Ballpark would just be a smash!! I'd be there all the freakin' time!
Nick 11:06 a.m. Steve, we haven't seen any work on the revamped I235 off ramp for 10th St. What's happened to this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. It's still being planned.
Nick 11:07 a.m. There are lots of rumors on OKCTalk regarding Shell. Lots of interesting tidbits about Shell having sold their Houston headquarters and owning a lot of acreage here in Oklahoma. Is something brewing with Shell?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. OKC Talk is a great site, a wonderful community forum. What you read there is a mix of links to news stories by The Oklahoman and other news organizations, items dug up by the site's owner, and then a lot of rumors that may or may not be true. And then there are the conversations involving cranky weird people (and a lot of fun, smart folks who make up 95 percent of its membership!)
mb 11:09 a.m. There are barriers going up blocking the inside lanes on Classen from abuot Mani up to near 10th. Is this a Project 180 deal that is going to mangle traffic on this major boulevard for the foreseeable future?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. No. Project 180 does not extend to Classen. Water utility relocation and other work has been ongoing in the area.
Nick 11:10 a.m. Skinny Slim's look just as shoddy now as it did during the construction phase. What is going on?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. It's not done yet.
Guest 11:11 a.m. When will the new parking garage across from city hall break ground?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. This spring.
ABD 11:11 a.m. Hello Steve. Hope I am not asking a repeat question. With the developers of LEVEL now planning a second phase and the Flats at the Maywood Park Brownstones generating a lot of interest, is there any hope for more for-sale units under 250K in downtown or surrounding areas?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Yes. The developers in our city know the demand exists. The trick is making the numbers work.
Oklahomie 11:11 a.m. There's a cool webinar about MAPS happening at noon today. You peeps might be interested. "MAPS: Oklahoma City’s Renaissance through Self-Investment and Economic Development"
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Who is hosting the webinar Oklahomie?
Nick 11:13 a.m. Steve, why do developers maintain such secrecy about their projects?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Because they're competitive and don't want to see land swiped away from them or deals stolen. It happens. I've seen it happen.
Guest 11:14 a.m. "IF" the new convention center is built south of the Myriad Gardens, what do you think will become of the land south of the Arena between Robinson and Shields? Which location do you like best for the convention center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Every study I've seen, every person I've spoken to, all say the same thing: if all things were equal, the current site remains the best site for a convention center.
Guest 11:15 a.m. So has the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel that the Humphreys bought just been sitting in storage this whole time?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Yes. Wouldn't it be great if it could be used as part of the new Core to Shore park?
MustangSooner 11:15 a.m. Wish people would quit worrying about SandRidge. The group that is pushing for drastic changes does not have the votes to make it happen which is good for downtown. Devon is quietly hiring 2000 staff over the next year and no way they have room in the current tower. The location of stage center to Devon is interesting. I have a family member that works at both, fyi.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. You are a glass that is very full kind of person. I can drink from that!
Nick 11:16 a.m. You know, I actually feel that CHK can get it turned around and I see that glass as half-full. SandRidge i think is half emtpy
Nick 11:16 a.m. empty**
shawnw 11:17 a.m. I don't consider the tower at Stage Center a "mystery tower" as it seems like the rumors point to CLR. Same with Devon/preftakes and Sandridge (if they get their act together). Those are just 3 potential/planned/pending towers we all kinda know about. The "myster tower" to me is the one to be occupied by the supposed international move/North American HQ move to OKC by an as yet unnamed company. That said, can you tell us, yes or no, if Shell is that company?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. You're pushy.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. (I like that)
George 11:17 a.m. Good morning Steve, when Century Center is redeveloped will there be street level retail? If so, what would you like to see there when OPUBCO moves in?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. A restaurant is planned for the southwest corner of the building. Other plans have yet to be announced.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. What would I like to see? The return of Taylor's Newsstand!
Erich 11:18 a.m. Is there any plans in the works for Devlopment for the land on the west side of the park. Mainly in the 4th and Western area. Bascially in the Neighborhood North of Little Flower.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Nope. Too early.
Guest 11:19 a.m. in your opinion, what density of population would the OKC metro need to grow to in order to support a light rail transportation system?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. I don't know. There are so many questions yet to be answered.
Nick 11:19 a.m. Do you think St. Anthony's is going to continue to expand in addition to the ER that's already been announced?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Yes.
Guest 11:19 a.m. Hey Steve! What's the status on that grating in Deep Deuce, the one that is surrounded by a railing in the middle of the sidewalk?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. I've heard some discussion I need to pin down on this before answering.
Oklahomie 11:20 a.m. Russel Claus, Director of Planning for OKC and Brent Bryant, also from the City, will lead the webinar.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. I'll register and listen!
Nick 11:20 a.m. If you could develop something downtown and you had the money to do it right, what would it be?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Give me $500 million. I'll buy First National Center, create a great hotel and for-sale housing in the historic tower with an urban design library and event center in the old Beacon Club. I'll tear out the middle building, restore the ground floor retail, building parking and housing on top, and I'll likely see if I can sell the east tower to BancFirst. I'll then buy Stage Center, hire Wayne White to help on doing exhibits for turning it into a children's museum.
Now, all that said.... can anyone lend me $1.75 for the parking meter?
Damon 11:23 a.m. Steve, in your talks with city leaders, has there ever been conversation about establishing an "endowment" with some of the tax dollars raised to provide for ongoing maintenance of the projects built? Seems silly to build them then cross your fingers that a private funding partner can be found later to operate and maintain them, similar to what's happening with the Senior Health and Wellness Centers.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Um, yeah..... MAPS 3 did not have the same public discussion and arrangements for operation and maintenance that we saw with the original MAPS>
Nick 11:24 a.m. haha, but you're sadistic Steve. So tell us something!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Taco Mayo is building a 60-story headquarters that will be shaped like a taco and will have an elaborate courtyard with fountains flowing with mild salsa sauce.
Guest 11:26 a.m. I agree - I miss Taylor's!!!
Peter Pan 11:26 a.m. CHK is going to be in good shape and has taken the right steps to right the ship from an operational standpoint (lower G&A and drilling costs). Now they just need to monetize a few of their play holdings. For some reason, a few in OKC love to see CHK struggle - I don't understand why...
Nick 11:26 a.m. Regarding the Waterfront, what would happen to the landing strip and helicopter station that currently resides there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Nothing has been announced
Robert 11:27 a.m. Steve, the Steak and Catfish restaurant at Legacy cleared out recently. Any ideas what will move in in its place?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Nope.
Nick 11:27 a.m. Will you be clarifying what context the discussion on OKCTalk is missing about the Aloft Hotel's proposed changes to the granite exterior?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Yes.
David 11:27 a.m. What's the latest on the trolley route?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. It is being studied by engineers and debated by politicians.
Guest 11:27 a.m. The street that Coney Island is on still pretty bleak. What's the status of that, including the empty Pizza place on the corner.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. No announcements have been made.
Jason 11:28 a.m. My guess, Devon will build a tower on Stage Center site for Continental Resources.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. That would be an incredibly kind gesture by one corporation for another.
Nick 11:28 a.m. I love your idea. First National really needs help. That discussion really died off after Yash got in so much trouble. Can someone local get it back or are we destined to wait him out with our tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. It's not for sale
David 11:29 a.m. What is the latest on the downtown Trolley? The route...the station, etc?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Design is ongoing, the city is haggling with the Brewers over price for the depot.
Nick 11:29 a.m. Oh, is someone craving Mexican for lunch?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Not sure.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Steve--so if you're already riding a giant taco down Route 88, why would you need to pull into a Taco Mayo drive through to purchase further tex-mex food stuffs? (Some commercials don't make sense to me.)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. This chat is getting weird. My bad.
Nick 11:30 a.m. By the way, the new downtown circulator buses are awesome. I like the little green buses. However, the path is kind of funky.
guy 11:30 a.m. i'm curious about what Peter Pan said--i don't understand it either. Why do some in OKC have some (at least mild) disdain for CHK?
Tony 11:30 a.m. what is this rumor about a tower being built where stage center was
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Welcome to the chat Tony!
Nick 11:31 a.m. Have the owners of Spaghetti Warehouse tried development ideas for the upper floors with only out of state developers? Is there someone locally that has shown interest?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Many have shown an interest. Nothing has really taken root.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Folks, I've got to log off now. Great chat. Have a good weekend!
by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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...
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