OKC Central Chat transcript, Feb. 28, 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: February 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm •  Published: February 28, 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 9:32 a.m. Good morning. Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. Good morning!
Gary T 10:11 a.m. Good morning Steve and happy Friday to you! With the zoning issue not approved for the live music venue on 23rd, do you think this will make Marty Dillon more anxious to get the Tower Theatre done?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. I don't know. I just spoke with Jerod Miller who was trying to open the music venue and he's clearly not happy with the situation (or my story on the planning commission vote). But he was not willing to share his reaction to the vote or say whether he will appeal the vote or take another run at getting approval for the venue. If he succeeds at opening the venue, will this make a music venue more or less likely at the Tower Theater? Will it spur the DIllons to move forward with a plan for the Tower? I just don't know.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. As an FYI - Mr. Miller is unhappy that I called him at 3:42 p.m. (shortly after the planning commission vote) and that I reported he did not return calls to The Oklahoman for reaction to the vote (he did not attend the meeting). I could have added his comment to the story through 10 p.m.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. On January 10, 2014, you said, "I do see more entertainment venues being added to the mix. There is possibly one development that could really change the game and even be something that would make Dallas and Kansas City jealous. How's that for a teaser?" Have you gotten anymore information on this? Is it still active?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. It's still active.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. When will we start to see vertical movement on the Steelyard in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. As developers Gary Brooks and Andy Burnett cautioned early on, this property has a lot of contamination and remediation issues. They encountered some "surprises" that require additional time and construction is now set to start late this year.
Gary T 10:18 a.m. When can we expect anything to happen on the prime piece of real estate on the SW/C of 10th and Hudson in Midtown? Seems like that would be the next logical step with the Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl going up across the street.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. I suspect we will see an interim use of the property announced first.
Gary T 10:18 a.m. Any clue as to how long the Humphreys are going to hold on to the Flatiron building before it just has to be sold for someone else to do something with it? And why does it show on County Assessor that OKC Urban Renewal Authorty owns it? Why is it not in the Humphrey's name?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. It's technically owned and controlled by Urban Renewal on behalf of the Presbyterian Health Foundation. This is another complicated deal, but yes, it is feasible that at some point if a development is not attempted we could see another party come to the table.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. How's the Emerson school addition coming along? When is it supposed to be done?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. The project was delayed significantly by the discovery of a sink hole but driving by the other day I noticed construction appears to have restarted.
RJ 10:20 a.m. Who are the two mayor candidates besides Cornett and Shadid and what do they do?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. The other two candidates are Joe "Sarge" Nelson and Phil Hughes. I do not know what they do.
Gary T 10:21 a.m. I saw what looks like people taking core samples from the 39th and May area this week for what I assume is the new SAMs going in there. When should that break ground?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. I'm not covering this project, but I'll refer your question to Brianna Bailey, who has been following it.
BethanySooner 10:24 a.m. Good morning Steve. What is the latest on the start time for construction of the Metropolitan Apartments in Auto Alley? The last information gave the indication that they intended to begin in January of this year.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. This is an inquiry I have underway.
Terry 10:24 a.m. You know the song “Getting Your Kicks on Route 66” where they say “Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty”? Written in 1946 by Bobby Troup and recorded by Nat King Cole that same year, I wonder if there's a story behind that particular line? In the song it's the one and only description of any of the twelve cities mentioned along the route. Maybe OKC was a favorite stop for Bobby Troup and the likes of Nat King Cole before Urban Renewal took away the pretty part. Do you know what interesting buildings, businesses or other attractions were along the OKC stretch of Route 66 back then that might have elicited such a positive response? P.S. My favorite version was by Depeche Mode.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Good question. Let's see if we can get it answered!
Terry 10:25 a.m. What's the status on TEEMCO and the Gold Dome?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. From what I've seen, they are making good progress on renovations.
Enchurrito Avenger 10:26 a.m. How much of the zoning denial of the live venue on 23rd was due to (1)NIMBYism, (2) parking concerns, and (3) incompetence of the venue's management? Could a more capable team team have pulled off the proposal in spite of #1 and #2?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. I really wish I could tell more of Jerod Miller's side of this story, but so far, he would not speak much on the record when I first interviewed him in November and he was unwilling to comment again when I talked to him this morning. He also did not appear at the planning commission on Thursday to present his side of the story. So I don't know how anyone can make any conclusions without hearing both sides.
Terry 10:28 a.m. What do you think is the likelihood that they keep the Cox Convention Center? My wish is they tear down the ugly Cox and extend the Bricktown canal westward to connect with the Myriad lake. Then the Cox site could be developed with new high rise offices and condos above with retail at the street and canal levels below.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. One Christmas gift was the redevelopment of the Transmissions R' Us property at NW 10 and Hudson which was under contract to a very accomplished and well known developer. Another gift was the possibility of a 24/7 drugstore downtown which also fell apart late in the game. Another big deal is still pending, but could be impacted greatly by the outcome of Tuesday's mayoral election, and yet another really big deal is still in the works. These things take on a life and schedule that often do not go as everyone thinks.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Answer from reporter Brianna Bailey to earlier question on Sam's at I-44 and May Avenue (old Lynn Hickey Dodge site): "As far as I know, the sale of the land has not closed yet. Sam’s has yet to confirm the exact location of the store, and will only say they will open a new store in the northwest part of the city. "
BethanySooner 10:32 a.m. As a follow-up question. There were several announcements of private projects last October through December, but what actually ended up being announced seemed to fall short of what you were hinting at the time regarding several big 'Christmas gifts' that were to be opened. How many of those were put on hold, and are those that were delayed still on track?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Cover it live is quirky this morning. My answer about the "big projects" was in response to the one just posted by Bethany Sooner.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. As for Terry's question: I suspect the Cox Convention Center will be torn down and redeveloped, but nothing firm has been discussed yet.
AJ 10:33 a.m. in the case of the new concert venue on 23rd..... with parking not part of the 23rd st requirement and the staff's recommended approval .. would the applicant have a case with council/district court?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. I'm not going to comment on Jerod Miller's next move, since I do not know what his thinking is on the project.
Terry 10:34 a.m. Are you aware of any development projects that originated from an idea expressed in this forum?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. Forgive me - I know that we've seen this chat effect development downtown. I recall Gary Brooks acting on an idea suggested by a participant, but I'm blanking out on the details.
Slush Puppie 10:37 a.m. Why are you so awesome, Steve?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. It's simple: I had two great friends in college who had a crush on each other, and I provided the boy with my car (an impressive 1985 Hyundai Excel) to use for their first date. The two were then disgustingly in love, constantly calling each "slush puppie." They remain a wonderful couple a quarter century later, and I suspect they still call each other slush puppie. And being good friends with such folks makes me awesome.
Terry 10:39 a.m. What's the latest on current or future plans at the Farmer's Market?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. The owners of the Farmer's Public Market are looking at opening a bar in one of the ancillary buildings and if successful, that could be a big help to drawing more people to the area.
Terry 10:40 a.m. I really enjoy these chats and your articles about OKC so I hope OPUBCO's move downtown is a sign of strength in this time of shrinking markets for newspapers and magazines. Being downtown again will be good not only for downtown, but for OPUBCO and yourself. You'll now be right in the thick of the action.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. Thanks Terry. I'm thrilled that the leadership of The Oklahoman have chosen to make this move, and their vision for using this change as a way to move forward is inspiring.
Brett 10:42 a.m. Thanks for doing these, Steve! What do you think are the 3 biggest roadblocks to their being a functioning, regular passenger rail service between OKC and Tulsa? Could the Santa Fe station figure into that?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation can help make or break this effort by who they choose to sell the line. Yes, the Santa Fe can play into this route.
Pat 10:43 a.m. Is the Velodrome the venue that Dallas would be jealous of ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. No.
Pat 10:43 a.m. Good Morning Steve, Any positive tracking of the mystery towers other than OG&E ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. From what I'm seeing and hearing, there are several pieces that need to fall in place before we see further movement on another tower.
John 10:44 a.m. Steve, Do you think if a quality proposal went into the uptown live venue, it would have passed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Planning Commissioners were clearly upset that Jerod Miller did not show for the hearing of his application. It would be helpful to hear Miller's side of the story.
Pat 10:45 a.m. Hi Steve, Preftakes block, will something be anounced sooner or later ? Something should be near on One North Hudson ? Thank You
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Later?
Larry 10:45 a.m. Is Devon studying building on the site of the present IRS building? Where will the IRS relocate?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. I don't think so. But I also don't believe the IRS will be downtown a decade from now either.
Guest 10:46 a.m. Close call for Marty Dillon and the Tower Theatre don't you think? Will this finally get Dillon to move some ground on the Tower renovations or is he destined to sit on this property while everything around him builds up?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I don't know. Who is to say a music venue next to the Tower Theater might not have helped create the momentum for a second live music venue at the Tower?
Gary T 10:47 a.m. In reagrd to your comment about the area on the 10th and Hudson, "I suspect we will see an interim use of the property announced first." Maybe a permanent place for Popup shops? Food truck court?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Maybe.
jim 10:47 a.m. what is being built at NW 164th & Western?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. A Firestone car care center is the only thing I've heard that is certain, though I have heard rumors of an organic grocery set for the corner too. But rumors... well .... rumors are a dime a dozen.
Guest 10:48 a.m. Do you expect there to be a runoff in the OKC Mayor's race?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. I'd be surprised.
Zack 10:49 a.m. Why doesn't the city have any city parks north of NW 118 & Stratford Dr besides Martin nature park. Homes are still being built and the city isn't providing that service for north OKC resident. Edmond parks are miles east and OKC parks are miles south
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. A lot of the neighborhoods have their own parks. I can count at least a dozen neighborhood parks just between Memorial Road and NW 178, Santa Fe Avenue and May Avenue.
Anthony 10:50 a.m. I was driving down 23rd the other day and saw that there was a for lease sign 3 doors to the west of the tower theater sign. Are they trying to attract tenants to build that space out? It's a pretty run down unit.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Hard to say.
okc hobo 10:50 a.m. Heard the Barons are gone and they will be bringing back the blazers in the chl, and play at the state fair arena?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Bob Funk Jr. seems to disagree with you on this possibility.
Anthony 10:51 a.m. I remember asking you about a rumored apartment complex going up near 23rd a few weeks ago. You said that it had been killed. Do you know why? Was it that they couldn't acquire the land, parking issues, etc?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. I don't recall saying any such thing. I did say there's nothing to report yet.
RowerBrandon 10:51 a.m. Too anybody that was wondering about the Oklahoma River, the water will be going back up this weekend and through next week. They are making great progress on the river improvements that will help make that area world-class. But for my question: I saw that the building permit was submitted for the white-water rapids, how much longer do you estimate until real work begins for that whole project?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. I think it starts this summer. It will be a big deal for the river, and a game changer for the river. People do not grasp how the river is being transformed into a regional recreational destination.
MB 10:52 a.m. It hardly seems unreasonable that the residents around NW 23, and the zoning commission, would object to plans for a bar with loud music and virtually no parking. Not every neighborhood is the right location for noisy, traffic producing, alcohol dispensing businesses.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. I don't see any "bad guys" in this scenario on either side, just folks with different visions and different ideas.
Jon C 10:53 a.m. Can you tell me how money flows in a TIF and from what government agency? It looks like sometimes money is granted and also low interest loans can be made with the expectation that the blighted property will increase in value and provide higher property taxes in the future to offset the initial subsidies. Since the schools get the lion's share of property taxes, do they fund the majority of the initial subsidies?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. OK, let's use Deep Deuce as an example of how this works. In 2000, about the time the downtown TIF started, the area was blighted and produced little in terms of property taxes. Over the past 14 years, we've seen more than $100 million in redevelopment of the area, including a full restoration of the Calvary Baptist Church that will likely win some serious preservation awards. I've followed this development since it started, and I sincerely believe it would not have been possible without public funding from the downtown Tax Increment Finance District. So let's say you have a $20 million apartment complex built on an empty property in Deep Deuce. The value of that property when it was vacant and undeveloped is still fully assessed with taxes going to schools, libraries, the city and county. But 50 percent of that $20 million increase in value from the apartment complex being built goes into the TIF district. That money in turn goes toward helping cover financing gaps, usually relating to structured parking but also for sidewalks and other related public infrastructure (sewer improvements, land remediation, etc). Some projects use no TIF, and that money is then available for improvements like sidewalks and other public amenities inside the TIF district boundaries.
Also, remember some of the TIF money goes to the usual recipients for special projects. We've seen that with repairs to the county jail and funding for the new downtown elementary. When the TIF district's 20-year term ends, the full 100 percent of that increment increase will flow to the taxing entities again. And that's where the TIF can be a great deal for them - especially when it's for an area like Deep Deuce. The flow of money from the district to the schools, libraries, city and county will be a huge difference from what it otherwise would have been.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. How's that for a long answer?
Gary T 11:02 a.m. Let's say Mick wins another term come Tuesday. How far behind is an announcement for "another really big thing"?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Hard to say.
Terry 11:03 a.m. I believe it was for his Steelyard apartments. Someone suggested he add retail in the middle break between apartment buildings instead of groundfloor apartments.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Yep. That's right Terry. I believe that was a change made that was inspired by comments he read on one of these chats.
Guest 11:03 a.m. Any word on getting the rest of the questions posed to Jim Couch last week answered?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. I'll check in later today.
John 11:03 a.m. Steve I am all for the redevelopment of 23rd and thought millers idea was a cool one. However after reading your article it sounds like miller was not and is not prepared at all to really get this project off the ground to see it reach it's full potential. Would you agree with this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. I don't know because he has yet to share his side of the story with me.
RowerBrandon 11:04 a.m. What do you predict to happen to the land south of the Deep Deuce and Wedge Pizza and north of Skinny Slims with the abandoned railroad tracks?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Nothing. It will remain reserved for a rail line.
Aaron 11:05 a.m. I recall the Brooks' suggestion. I believe it was mine. It was to change the location of the retail portion of in the Steel Yard design plans to coincide with open pedestrian space. Or at least I think so.
Bob 11:05 a.m. They have been doing some external upgrades to the facades of the buildings in the 400 block of W. Main. Are they just trying to hold off the abandoned building penalties or is there something in the works?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Who knows what lurks in the heart and mind of Nick Preftakes?? (to quote from "The Shadow")
Miles Mixon 11:06 a.m. Steve, have you heard anything regarding Aubrey McClendon plans to purchase Nichols Hills Plaza? I'm also hearing rumblings that Trader Joes has plans to open in the former Crescent Market. What are your thoughts???
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. It's not Aubrey McClendon (though a broker in the deal has done a lot of work with McClendon in the past). Read the story by Brianna Baiiley: http://newsok.com/chesapeake-to-sell-three-shopping-centers-land-for-51.8-million/article/3936868
John 11:08 a.m. Steve, a lot of short sighted and disheartening news came out of the Capitol this week. I am a millennial who recently moved back to okc because of all the GOOD things happening here in the city. My question for you is why do the state reps who continually preach about the evils off government insist on further involving themselves in our lives and can are you worried about 23rd and Lincoln derailing the okc resaissance movement?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I believe Oklahoma City can thrive despite the best efforts by lawmakers to act like fools. My question for you, John, is how many of you are actively voting and supporting candidates for state office who represent your interests? You have the numbers here in the metro. But if you don't find folks to run for office who represent your interests, other folks will.
Ed 11:10 a.m. Environmental drilling was just completed on the empty lot at the SW corner of Paseo and Walker. Many times this precedes a change in ownership. What's the chances this coincides with a local brewery's desire to build a beer garden?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I'm hopeful.
John 11:10 a.m. I early voted yesterday and was quite surprised how many people were at the county election board. Steve have you cast your vote already and do you think is the most contentious okc mayoral election ever?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Define contentious. It's certainly different in tone compared to any mayoral election I've observed in 30 years.
okc hobo 11:12 a.m. are they going to sell beer at the okc energy games? beer sales seem to make or break franchises
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. I don't know, but I can ask!
John 11:12 a.m. Any final thoughts on the election you want to get out onto the chat before March 4th? Speak now or forever hold your peace!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Vote! Polls are meaningless.
John 11:12 a.m. Steve do you know of any surprises that will come along with the closing of the Nichols hills plaza sale?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. The developer sounds like a real pro, and we've got a great shot at seeing some exciting changes and improvements under their ownership.
John 11:13 a.m. Next week is a huge week for the future of okc! Mayor election and stage center appeal hearing. Steve I know you can't and don't want to tell us your thoughts on the election but what about the stage center appeal? Are you still 50/50 on wanting to see it stay vs. seeing it go?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. I'm not being evasive when I say I truly respect both sides on the Stage Center debate and can persuasively argue for either outcome. Ask any of my friends - I'm truly, sincerely unbiased on this one. This is about as difficult as it gets for those who volunteer their time to serve on the Downtown Design Review Committee and the Board of Adjustment. It saddens me when I observe friendships sour over differences on this topic.
Terry 11:16 a.m. If the Jesus House and City Rescue Mission were to move closer to the Homeless Alliance do you think this would provide better service to the homeless? At the least it would help clear up the western edge of downtown, especially with the 21c Hotel going up at the old Fred Jones Ford building and the possibility of expanding the Farmer's Market eastward.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Yes. But I also want to be sensitive to the homeless, who are not to be treated as subhuman and needing to be placed in a semi-ghetto either. A lot of these folks could be any of us, if our luck were to go bad or if the pressures of life were to break our spirit and minds. I have great respect for those who dedicate their lives toward helping the less fortunate and those who are struggling with mental illness or addiction. There is a danger in looking at these questions as simply a real estate consideration.
drinner 11:20 a.m. Just a suggestion, but the area around the Compass would make a great spot for food trucks on weekends and lunch when it's warmer. There's parking, and walking trails close by.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. The folks at the boathouse foundation have set up an area for food trucks that I suspect will be more visible and promoted this next year.
Gary T 11:20 a.m. Have you been to either of the new restaurants at the myriad gardens?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Yes and they're both great.
Gary T 11:20 a.m. Has UCO broken ground on their boathouse yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Officially? No. They were going to do one in November but delayed it until March due to inclement weather.
Gary T 11:21 a.m. Timeframe for Oklahoma Contemporary?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. A funding campaign is about to start up shortly.
Dan 11:21 a.m. It seems the time and money being spent on Project 180 would yield great looking streets, but every intersection I come across has terrible looking road paint flaking away. Is anyone doing anything about this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Yep. Those crosswalk jobs are terrible. I believe the city is preparing to have them repainted.
Ed J 11:23 a.m. Steve would you rather ride in a car from San Diego to Maine with Steve Mason or Mary Fallin?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Ask me a more challenging question. Seriously? Do you really have to ask me this? A road trip with Steve Mason would be awesome.
Anthony 11:24 a.m. Steve, you don't have to post this on the chat but on the jan 17th chat transcript u said that on the 'within 1 mile of 23rd st' apartment complex "one was being looked at, but it's no longer likely".
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. OK. Now I know what you're talking about. Yeah, the development was in the area of NW 23 and Classen. It's dead. But that doesn't mean another one might not pop up with a different developer.
Mark 11:25 a.m. Steve have you talked with anyone in the real estate world why they wanted to get rid of the vacant property registry? I thought that was a great idea and a first step in the right direction!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Yep. I have a good friend in real estate who has talked to me at length about his fears it could hurt well intentioned real estate deals that involve empty homes.
John 11:26 a.m. For all you state reps and senators reading this, stop messing with okc! You are gonna screw up the best thing going for this state right now.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. YEAH!
Mark 11:27 a.m. Steve since it is quite obvious that the royalty tax change will hurt school district revenue do you think if will still become law?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. I don't know. State capitol politics gives me a headache. This is a question for our capitol reporters.
david Ball 11:27 a.m. tell the IT department to put a direct link to the chat on the blogsite. and please bring back the old format! signed, "one old fogey."
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. Will do. May I add, I really appreciate your ongoing contributions to these conversations. You are a valued reader!
Mark 11:28 a.m. Steve, how long do I have to have a residence in a rural area before I can run for state rep of that district?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I don't know. But I'm sure a call to the county or state election board can provide you with the answer.
Ed not Shadid 11:29 a.m. Any chance the Oklahoma National Guard Engineers or Army Reserves Engineers could do some of the earth moving etc. at the new park? This would be counted as training exercise for them and save the city a lot of money.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. This may be more difficult than one might realize due to soil contamination, etc.
Mark 11:29 a.m. Steve, if the arts are defunded at the state level do you think there is enough money right now in okc for the community to make up for this loss? I know smaller rural projects are toast but what about here?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. I think those who care about this topic should focus their efforts on contacting lawmakers ASAP instead of asking me what happens if it passes.
Miles Mixon 11:30 a.m. I've heard from a few reliable sources within the OKC commercial market that Trader Joes is definitely coming? What have you heard regarding Trader Joes?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. I'll be surprised if they don't make an announcement soon.
Mark 11:31 a.m. I think we should group fund a sign that says 'OKC CENTRAL HEADQUARTERS' and put it over the door at the new beatnix!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Nah. Sandra's redecoration of Beatnix at NW 13 and Robinson is perfect as is. FYI, she is celebrating a "Beatnix remix" tomorrow night (Saturday) 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with live guitar music by Jason Swanson, treats, new recipe samples, and the opening of a new wifi bar.
Randall 11:34 a.m. MAPS-3 is ending soon. What's next?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. MAPS 3 has barely begun!
Randall 11:34 a.m. Stage Center is the most unique building in Oklahoma City. Too bad they'll tear it down and build a boring office building at that location
John 11:34 a.m. If the film exchange building could be turned into a cool bar/out door area that served beer it would pay for the maintenance of the new park!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. It's a goner. The out-of-state park designers at Hargreaves Associates want a clean slate with only the Union Station left standing and city staff and the city council have let the designers set the agenda for this project.
John 11:35 a.m. Who is behind the midtown beer garden?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Elliott Nelson, who owns McNellies in Midtown and operates the same beer garden (Fassler Hall) and vintage bowling alley (Dust Bowl) in downtown Tulsa.
John 11:36 a.m. Steve I think the bakery building across from Kaisers is a incredible lot begging for a much better and cooler building to go there. Do you think they would sell to the right developer? Is anyone already sniffing around?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. The Brown family suffered a big loss last year with the passing of Michael Brown. They're grieving, they're at a loss without him, and I think they need to be given some time to figure out what's next.
BethanySooner 11:37 a.m. I appreciated you having the city manager on last week. He seemed to indicate that the new boulevard would look similar to the Reno streetscaping project. I really like the project 180 work, but thought that this might be done on a grander scale. Don't they have somewhere around $80M to work with?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. The $80 million is ODOT's budget for the basic road. The city improvements are separate and must be done by the city.
david Ball 11:37 a.m. did rand elliott blow it on the civic center park? he seemed golden until now.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. That's for others to determine. I see a park that is beautiful to look at but rarely has anyone enjoying it as a park.
King George 11:38 a.m. Any word on how fixing the light poles next to St. Anthony's? How do we keep that from happening again? Any word on fixing the sidewalks and light poles on NW 23rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Jim Couch said he'd look into the light pole by St. Anthony. If your highness emails me photos of the other locations along NW 23, I will bring it to Mr. Couch's attention (and post them at my OKC Central blog).
John 11:39 a.m. Steve, any word on potential new tenants for braniff? Also parkside is going to be a lot cooler than I think most people realize
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Not yet. I agree.
John 11:39 a.m. Why haven't you posted your story on the Santa Fe Bridge over I-44?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. Because I've yet to report it yet. It's on my list.
John 11:40 a.m. Steve how old do you have to be to run for state rep? When are the next elections?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Call the election board, but I do know at least two twenty-somethings voted yesterday for the bill that would put the historical society and arts agency under tourism.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. One of those legislators, by the way, is Elise Hall, who is co-owner of the Halls Pizza Kitchen food truck that is very popular with fellow Millennials in Oklahoma City.
John 11:43 a.m. What do you know about the new restaurant at the top of founder's tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. It hasn't opened as originally scheduled.
John 11:44 a.m. What is holding up the house of bedlam site from moving forward?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. It's moving forward, but there were a couple of items dating back to the Jim Brewer/Paul Brum era involving permits that I'm told need to be cleaned up.
John 11:44 a.m. Can we have a chat contributor get together? I think you should start an okc central club!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I think that would be an excellent idea. Let me visit with the multi-media gods at NewsOK and see what's possible.
John 11:45 a.m. How many questions do you choose not to post each week?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Very, very few. Jim Couch last week answered every question asked before he had to leave for another appointment. This week there are two questions left off the site because they involve stories I'm set to break in the near future. Personal attacks are guaranteed to be spiked.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. I also will often decide not to post questions that repeat questions already asked and answered in the chat.
Anthony 11:47 a.m. Any chance that our antiquated liquor laws get changed within the next 2-3 years? Do you know if this has turned some potential restaurants/bars/venues away from okc?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. It's been blamed for Costco having yet to enter the market. It's certainly a turn-off to folks who move here from other states.
John 11:48 a.m. Steve any word on what's planned for the building at the NW corner of 10th and broadway?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. A restaurant is planned for one of the buildings.
BethanySooner 11:48 a.m. We have had outside developers/financiers involved with a couple of recently announced apartment developments. I thought this might just be the beginning of outside investment. It seems like our local guys have pretty much reached capacity with their current and proposed projects.Have you heard of any other projects in the works with new investors or developers?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. Yes.
John 11:49 a.m. If you had the choice would you put the downtown TIF funding into the convention center hotel or renovating FNC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. First National Center. But why is it an either-or proposition?
John 11:50 a.m. WHY does Tulsa get all the stores before we do? Just heard they are getting a west elm. No joke, I heard that Tulsa reps openly talk bad about about okc when trying to attract new retailers and this is why we've been screwed in the past. What is your best explanation for this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Tulsa has its wealthy population more concentrated in one or two pockets while Oklahoma City's population is more diverse and spread out.
Ed 11:50 a.m. For the new flat, boring park. Have the National Guard Engineers and Army Reserve Engineers build a large mound in the park. They move earth every year for training. Build and artificial rock mountain on top which could be filled inside and out with all kinds of recreation activities, waters falls on the out side would create mini gathering locations around it.
Non-smoking Conservative 11:51 a.m. I wish someone would donate so much money certain people would legalize "it". Isn't that how it works? One MILLION dollars (insert Dr. Evil laugh) for Colorado's first day of sales. I bet the state got theirs. Oklahoma, you can use the money for all of this, and set non-violent citizens free.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. And what is "it"?
Nick 11:51 a.m. Is the Metropolitan no longer happening? Are you worried about the deal at all?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. I'm not worried.
BethanySooner 11:51 a.m. Could you clarify if this project you speak of that would be something that neither Kansas City or Dallas currently has would be primarily entertainment or retail? I could have sworn you have been asked about it both ways and you didn't make a correction.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. It's going to be a big deal.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. (if it happens)
Terry 11:52 a.m. Do you know if the aquifer that feeds the Myriad lake extends under the Core-to-Shore park, especially the area they plan to put the new park lake? That park would be more interesting if they were to dig down to create the new lake then reuse that dirt to create some hillocks and berms to break up the flatness of the current design. They could even create a north-facing slope to sled on in the winter snow.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. I don't know.
TC 11:52 a.m. Good morning, Steve. I know you probably get tired of being asked about Trader Joes, however I'm confused and need clarification. How will Trader Joes circumvent Oklahoma Liquor laws to sell their trademark wines in the store? Seems unlikely for Trader Joes to open up without alcohol in the store. (I moved from Oklahoma 5 years ago, so liquor laws may have changed?)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Maybe they won't sell liquor?
Guest 11:52 a.m. Hi Steve. Loved your article the other day about the resurfaced 100-year-old pictures of Main Street. How much does it kill you that those historic buildings were torn down?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. The loss of the Baum Building, Criterion and Warner theaters is what causes me the most heartbreak.
Guest 11:53 a.m. Founder's Tower restaurant is suppose to be a steakhouse. Name is The George. I called to get reservations for Valentine's Day and was told opening wasn't until March...
david Ball 11:53 a.m. for better or worse, i am of the opinion that your column and blog are two of the best things the paper has going for it. i hope they listen to that.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. Thanks David!
Guest 11:53 a.m. What do you think is more important for the development of Automobile Alley - angled parking or the streetcar?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. This is a trick question. The angled parking is most important for retail along Automobile Alley. The streetcar is most important for overall development of Automobile Alley as a whole.
Pat 11:54 a.m. Breaking any good development stories this weekend ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I'll have a great story and video about Deep Deuce.
Guest 11:54 a.m. Karchmer garage in north bricktown? What exactly is the rate limiting step at the moment?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. I'm not sure I understand this question.
soonerthanlater 11:55 a.m. Driving past the current OKC Police Headquarters the other day, I noticed a historic building which was probably the original building facing west. Will that be torn down once the new headquarters opens? If so, why are you, and others, not up in arms about it being torn down? With a little TLC it could be beautiful and help tie in modern architecture with historic on the west part of town.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. At this time the old police headquarters/jail is not slated for demolition.
beer girl 11:55 a.m. We go to Arkansas and Missouri every three months or so to buy our beer We leave many dollars at those liquor stores. Really - hundreds an hundreds. Then we patronize as many breweries and brew pubs as we can handle. I know, we sound like alcoholics but my point is the laws liquor laws here aren't good business.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. It's very good business for the handful of distributors and wholesalers who benefit from the law's restrictions on free enterprise.
soonerthanlater 11:56 a.m. Has OKC ever considered redistricting, or rather creating an urban growth boundary, much like Portland? From my understanding this helps the inner city get redeveloped by making the property outside the lines more expensive due to one having to purchase a set amount of acres? This would help our infill and stop OKC from spreading out so much. Is there any type of consideration to do something to help curb us growing more and more in each direction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I would urge you to attend the next public hearings on Plan OKC. I urge all of you to learn more by visiting http://www.planokc.org/
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. If you asked me what is more important to read, my stories for a week or the Plan OKC info at http://www.planokc.org/, I'd have to tell you it's Plan OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Please also read Oklahoman City Hall Reporter Bill Crum's coverage of this effort.
Terry 11:58 a.m. Do you think the approved streetcar route accomodates use by commuters and locals or will it be more of an amusement ride used by tourists?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. I think it be both starting out, but as it expands and if a regional transit system is launched, it could be a big boost to public transit throughout the metro.
soonerthanlater 11:59 a.m. I concur, your weekly chat and columns are the best thing going for OPUBCO. I have to say with the lack of equal treatment your employer is giving to both mayoral candidates I have lost even more respect. There is baggage with both candidates but only one was called out. What happened to the news being middle of the line and presenting the facts without opinions? People think Oklahoma is conservative but I can tell you their media politics are anything but.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. I would encourage you to share any concerns you have with coverage with the newspaper's editors.
AJ 12:00 p.m. trader joes is only allowed to sell alcohol in 1 of their 3 locations in colorado ..
david Ball 12:00 p.m. KC has zona rosa and the country club center. i'm jealous of that.
Ed 12:00 p.m. What could you add to the new park to make it unique? It is flat and boring, empty open areas with most of the trees in unnatural straight lines to me. Build it to create a destination point no other park has.
Nick 12:00 p.m. Steve, what are the road blocks to the big deal getting done that will make KC and Dallas jealous?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Real estate is tricky.
Nick 12:01 p.m. What do you put the odds at for that project actually happening as currently envisioned?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Pretty good.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. Folks, it's noon. That's two hours. Participation in today's live chat hit 325 people. The transcript will be posted later today at NewsOK. 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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