OKC Central Chat transcript, Jan. 10, 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: January 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm •  Published: January 10, 2014
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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. You can start submitting your questions now.
BethanySooner 10:04 a.m. Good morning Steve. Stage Center Tower progression: A. 35-40 stories tall. B. More than 20 stories tall. C. Could be as short as 14 stories. I am no longer on board for tearing down the Stage Center facility even though I don't personally care for it. The property is too valuable for what will amount to another Century Center/Sheraton Hotel shaped and sized complex. What are your thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. Well, let's start off with the 35-40 stories tall. That is something never promised or suggested by this developer, Rainey Williams Jr. That is a height I and others were hearing was being looked at by another developer competing to buy the Stage Center property. So it's not fair to say that this ever began as a 35 to 40 story high tower.
Now, more than 20 stories? Yes, that is something Williams indicated last summer.
I'm far more interested in finding out the design of this building, and that's something we've just not seen.
Gary T 10:07 a.m. What are your thoughts on the RW being denied a demolition permit?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. It's not a complete shock. I think we've got a good and lively debate ahead on the value of Stage Center and whether the OGE Energy Corp. headquarters is a higher and better use for the property.
Gary T 10:08 a.m. What's next for Midtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. More housing, more shopping and entertainment venues.
Gary T 10:08 a.m. When will Aloft be open?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. As recently as November the developer, Jim Thompson, indicated an opening would occur this month. But when I drive by the property, I just don't see how that is possible. I'll be surprised if it opens in March.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. Have you heard anything else on the music venue on 23rd next to the Tower Theatre?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Heritage Hills is gearing up to oppose it.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. What do you think about the Powerhouse Restaurant being built next to the Farmer's Market? Do you think this is a good start to the revitalization of the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. That's a project I still need to write about. But yeah, if they can get through all the code issues, I think it will be good boost for the area getting started toward its true potential.
Gary T 10:10 a.m. When will the UCO boathouse break ground?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. UCO was originally set to have a groundbreaking several weeks ago, but it was cancelled due to bad weather. I was given the impression a formal ceremony might be delayed until spring.
CG 10:11 a.m. Hi Steve. What impact do you think the new Sam's at NW 39th and May will have on development in the area? Will this, along with a renovated Taft Stadium encourage any other property owners on this stretch of May?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. You've also got a Lowe's there, so this, I imagine, might really restore the area as a retail cluster and help stem any decline it has experienced over the past 20 years. Consider this: back in the 1970s, the Fretwell family ran a Jaguar/Volvo dealership at NW 28 and May. So that area really thrived not that long ago (or at least it was in my lifetime)
Gary T 10:13 a.m. In regards to being more business-friendly in OKC, who do you think would be a better Mayor? Cornett or Shadid?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. The business community folks I talk to are more comfortable with Mick Cornett.
BethanySooner 10:14 a.m. I know you said that you might have erred by assuming that the 3O something story tall SC tower was all one building instead of two, but I would think that Rainey Williams and/or OGE would have corrected you once they saw your report in the paper. I could be wrong, but it would appear that they were either misleading you in the first place, or were content to allow the public that they were actually planning to build a high-rise tower on that property. How on earth could it not be clearly communicated that the 30 stories were actually not in a single building?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. The information I had was not given to me by the developer or his representatives. It was from an outside source I trusted - and that person did not intentionally mislead me. This is the part of these chats I don't like - readers want me to go as far out on the limb as possible. I do my best to answer honestly, but with the caveat that deals are not done, or that it depends on current trends staying on track. Then, if the information changes, and I'm not meaning to pin this on you, Bethany, or anyone else, but those who are disappointed by the changes begin to think a conspiracy has taken place. Real estate is, by nature, a very dynamic, changing creature. A century ago, W.B. Skirvin set out to build a six-story hotel. It grew in size, twice, to eight stories and then 10 stories, during a series of nights of heavy drinking with the architect, Solomon Andrew Layton.
AJ 10:19 a.m. Steve thanks for doing this chat it is a great source of info. What are the odds that the Stage Center demo gets approved?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. I can't call it. I myself can argue persuasively to save and to demolish this structure.
Guest 10:20 a.m. Steve, can you shed some light on the plans for the big block at 10th St that MidtownR has assembled?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Nope. Wish I could.
ABD 10:20 a.m. This will probably be asked by the time you get to it Steve, but what from what I understand the planning department's decision is a suggestion, not any sort of binding decision. What is the chance the city ends up approving this anyway, and what if any bearing does the fact that no second tower is promised and the far off construction date have on their decision?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Technically, as I understand it, the Downtown Design Review Committee is not really given any guidance from the ordinance in terms of what might replace a building when demolition is being considered. But the committee members are human beings, they have discretion. I have some private suspicions as to which members will be friendlier to demolition and which ones will seek to save the theater. All of the questions you bring up are not technically provided for by the ordinance, and yet might easily pop up in the debate and deliberation.
AJ 10:23 a.m. What are you hearing about the timing of the MidtownR 10th/11th and Harvey/Hudson block project announcement? over/under a year?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. Not sure. Midtown Renaissance has a lot of work underway - the Hotel Marion, 1100 and 1101 N Broadway, the Mayfair building, and the new Fassler Hall/Dustbowl Lanes. They also are preparing to build apartments near NW 10 and Shartel. That's a lot of work to be going on at once for any local development group.
BethanySooner 10:25 a.m. The latest proposal to go before the Design Review Committee has a footnote that the hotel/residential low-rise on the SC site is dependent upon an outside developer. What do you think the odds are that this will even get built?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. Extremely high if the circumstances detailed by Williams are correct. The developer would not have to worry about site acquisition or arranging for parking.
Chris 10:26 a.m. With the denial of permission to demolish stage center, is the OG and E project dead or did they have a plan B?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. Please understand, there is no denial that has taken place. A city staff report recommends denial. The debate and vote has yet to take place.
Gary T 10:27 a.m. When will we get renderings for the 21c Museum Hotel? All the cleanup to the building and then the build out will take a while and they are hoping to open in 2016? That seems a little aggressive.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. It sounds doable to me.
Guest 10:27 a.m. Hi Steve. Any word yet on what will become of the old Union Bus station?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. Nope.
BethanySooner 10:28 a.m. In your article about the Sycamore Square complex you said that the NW corner - 4th and Shartel - is set to be developed this year. So is there already a developer chosen for this parcel? If so, when might we be getting the announcement?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. Development proposals will be unsealed soon by the Urban Renewal Authority.
BethanySooner 10:28 a.m. Have the grand plans for the Wormy Dog Saloon owners been derailed? It's been quite a while since any news has come out on this.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. Yep. I'm hearing there is uncertainty about this project.
Nick Emenhiser 10:29 a.m. My one question for today is whether there has been any discussion to relocate non-concrete portions of Stage Center (ie., tunnels, bridges, metal pods, etc) and reincorporate into the new Central Park? I am interested in any ways that we can get the best finished product and improve multiple projects at once in a way that can make everyone happy. The Central Park NEEDS some place-making element that Hargreaves must have forgot to include.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Richard Mize wrote about this last year: http://newsok.com/a-big-idea-for-stage-center-before-its-too-late/article/3866318
BethanySooner 10:30 a.m. In your yearly review you mentioned that you would be surprised if at least two new major residential projects were not announced. Which district(s) would these be located in?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. Midtown.
Greg 10:30 a.m. Good morning Steve, Do you know anything about a Indian Motorcycle Dealership coming to midtown in the near future?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. Nope.
Angad 10:30 a.m. Did you purchase an OKC Energy scarf yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Nope.
Angad 10:31 a.m. Did you hear that the NASL Oklahoma City soccer team has been delayed/probably discontinued? What do you make of that?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. It might allow for the other soccer proposal to be a success.
Xavier 10:31 a.m. Should OKC allow the Rainey Stage Center project to move forward? In my opinion, I would say no. I don't think we should demolish something that is so unique to build something that isn't going to dramatically change the downtown environment. I think we should wait until someone is willing to fund a renovation or until someone comes with a plan that will dramatically change the downtown environment.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. I really am about as torn and in the middle on this one as one can get.
Lumber Larry 10:33 a.m. Howdy Steve! Hope all is well. What do you expect for Oklahoma City in 2014?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. Pain. Debate. Triumph, Mistakes. Sober reconsideration.
Lumber Larry 10:34 a.m. Steve, what political party do you affiliate with?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. I am a political agnostic. I acknowledge politicians exist. I just don't believe in them.
Pajda 10:34 a.m. Why did Durant post that picture? Stupid.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. Brains aren't done cooking until one is in their late 20s.
BethanySooner 10:35 a.m. You also mentioned that there are developers waiting to see the outcome of the Mayoral race before moving forward with their projects. It is obvious that there concern is not aimed at Mick Cornett since things have been moving along nicely with him in office. So the target of their concern is the challenger Ed Shadid. His position on several recent issues would obviously destroy the momentum that OKC has enjoyed in recent years, but I'm curious as to how that might affect private investors.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. I think each person has to reach their own conclusions.
Doomed to repeat? 10:36 a.m. How has downtown played out as an issue (if at all) in mayoral elections over the last 25 years (i.e., pre-MAPS through to the present day)?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. This is the first election where I'm observing political operatives attempting to create a divide between urban and suburban Oklahoma City.
Guest 10:37 a.m. Is the 35-40 story tower that was originally going to the Stage Center site still in play at another location?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. Hard to say.
Guest 10:37 a.m. Why hasn't Aloft gotten more attention from the city for being so behind schedule? In addition, why haven't they gotten fined for not having usable sidewalks the past 2 years? In other cities, even during construction, its a requirement to keep pedestrian walkways clear and they take it pretty seriously.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Why give Jim Thompson, the Aloft developer, so much grief? Look at the solid, poured in place concrete construction he attempted with this hotel, and compare it to the "stick" construction taking place with the nearby Holiday Inn Express. Thompson got delayed due to contractors that went belly up on him. He kept moving along as best as he could. I haven't heard a single person complain about that sidewalk being shut down with one being open across the street. What attention would you have the city apply to all this?
TBTBA 10:40 a.m. What's your favorite movie made in the Oklahoma City area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Good question. And I don't have an immediate answer!
Jon S. 10:40 a.m. Any signs pointing to a grocer close to the downtown area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Yes - Native Roots.
Waffleton 10:41 a.m. I've read that RW may sell the north west corner of the SC lot for someone else to develop. Do you think this is a good chance for someone else to build big here? Would they even issue a demolition permit if only 3/4 of the lot were to be developed and 1/4 sold off? I know lots of people are not thrilled with the current renderings but there is still potential for something great. SIDENOTE: is there a petition to oppose the save SC petition? I bet it would garner more then 800 or so signatures lol
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. Yes, there is a petition, and I attached it to my story today: http://newsok.com/okc-planners-recommend-denying-application-for-razing-of-stage-center/article/3922477

I can't say how the committee will rule or what will play into their deliberation.
Terry 10:42 a.m. I have accumulated my own Christmas wish list, as you did before the holidays. First, following the construction of the new convention center, extend the Bricktown canal to the Myriad Gardens. They could connect by extending the canal south of the Devon fountain to Reno and then by widening the underpass beneath the RR viaduct on the north side of Reno allowing the canal to extend west to the Myriad Gardens. Second, extend Broadway south from Sheridan to Reno and make Broadway the premier shopping corridor up to N 13th. Third, replace the Cox Convention Center with mixed-use development (retail @ street and canal levels with high-rise office and residential towers above). Fourth, build a new boulevard on the southside of the Oklahoma River with new residential development built immediately south of the street for views to the river, riverpark and downtown. Fifth, finish the Indian Cultural Center and add a buffalo herd to graze the pasture and circular hill facing I-35. Since this is getting a bit too long, I'll stop there for now. Any thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Put on the Santa suit and make it happen!
shawnw 10:43 a.m. Do you know if anything is slated to replace the now closed Dwelling Spaces in the Womb?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Nope. It takes a special merchant to open up next to The Womb.
shawnw 10:43 a.m. Do you think the fates of Stage Center and the Film Exchange building are tied together? How to we argue to save the one without saving the other?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Now you're asking for intellectual honesty by the city.... yeah, the city is sending a message with its actions on the Film Exchange building, isn't it?
Terry 10:44 a.m. Have you tried the new restaurant at the Myriad Gardens (next to the ice rink)? I'm curious as to how good the food is and how busy the restaurant has been since it opened?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Not yet, but I'd love a chance to visit the Park House restaurant.
JAY 10:45 a.m. Good morning Steve have there been any talk of a new building a downtown arena to replace the one in the COX center?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Too early. Way too early. This is a great discussion for 2018.
Terry 10:46 a.m. When is construction supposed to begin on the white water facility at the Boathouse District?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I think this next year.
shawnw 10:47 a.m. What is your current Century Center move-in date?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. The stated move-in date is September - so with all respect to my wonderful, wise and talented bosses, I will say "by winter."
Terry 10:48 a.m. I was intrigued by your answer to one of my past questions about downtown shopping corridors. You mentioned you'd like to see Reno developed into such a corridor (from MLK to Bricktown). What kind of retail would you like to see there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. It has some incredible highway access and visibility. I think just about anything could be possible with the realization that contaminated dirt along there will require federal brownfields funding to get cleaned up.
city guy 10:49 a.m. Those Midtown guys really do have lots going on. What do you think about the projects they have planned?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. I think they've been very smart. Just look at their current slate - housing, retail, entertainment, and it includes the renovation of some long neglected historic landmarks.
Pajda 10:50 a.m. Steve, you're a treasure. Don't let anybody tell you differently.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Well thank you. But from time to time, I'll still have to accept that my pre-teen son will disagree with you on this ...
BethanySooner 10:50 a.m. The Central Park plan was recently approved by the City Council. George Hargreaves stated that if the Film Exchange Bldg were saved it would lead to increased costs for the park. It seems to me that redrawing that area and incorporating that building would be rather straightforward. Certainly at far less cost than it would take to demolish that significant structure. I was disappointed that someone on the council didn't ask for a comparison of the costs. Is there still a viable developer in the mix or have they backed off?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Increased costs. Yeah. OK. He didn't explain how or why. I'm not seeing the sort of critical examination taking place with the park that I have witnessed with the convention center, sidewalks, wellness centers and the streetcar.
The developers I saw interested are no longer pursuing it after private talks with city officials. I'm shocked. As I've reported before, city officials have acknowledged the park designers always wanted a clean slate and were never interested in saving these structures or incorporating them into the plan.
Hargreaves is an out-of-state guy who will be long gone when the city comes to facing whatever realities lie ahead with this park.
Guest 10:54 a.m. Steve, what can you actually say?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. I posted your question because I was going to respond with something in a similar tone. I've used my delete key to kill my first response, and I'm just letting your question remain.
Oy.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. (MUST DRINK MORE COFFEE. GRUMPINESS MUST NOT COME OUT DURING LIVE CHAT)
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. ;)
okcARCH 10:56 a.m. First I have heard about the NASL team being put on hold or discontinued...will this have any affect on the renovation of old Taft stadium? It looks like they are WELL underway. I used to work for the ARCH firm that was doing the design work for the renovations, and from what I remember, the current extent of work going on is well beyond what was planned prior to the introduction of the NASL team playing there...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. I've not heard this either. Let's make no assumptions yet.
Guest 10:56 a.m. Do you think the residential projects can still be announced for Midtown this month?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. This month? No.
MH 10:57 a.m. A little farther north, do you have any updates on the Chisholm Creek Development. Anchor stores, progress, time-line, etc.?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. You must be far more north than my mind is. I'm at a loss to recall which development you are referring to.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Oh wait. I remember now. Memorial and Western. Nothing has been announced or suggested publicly by anyone at City Hall or in the development community regarding this being anything more than the Saint Anthony Healthplex and a Main Event entertainment venue across the street.
MH 11:00 a.m. Any new information about Trader Joe's, since the talks cooled with the Chesapeake leadership change?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. My sources tell me Aubrey McClendon cleared out the wrong spot at Nichols Hills Plaza...
Guest 11:01 a.m. Will the native american culture center be fully funded this year? Will additional funding come from tax revenue? Should it come from tax revenue?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. I long ago abandoned the idea that one can predict what action might be taken by state legislators. One will have better luck maintaining order among a group of kindergarten kids after feeding them a cookie and ice cream buffet and allowing them to drink double shot espressos.
Guest 11:03 a.m. Any hints as to what's going on at the BoA lot? Mystery disappointment #2?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Tough crowd today.
Charlie Conway 11:03 a.m. What's your perfect sundae?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. One I can't eat.
John 11:04 a.m. Steve, what changes do you think can made to the OGE/Rainey plans that will help them get a recommendation for demolition from Oklahoma City planners? Was there anything left off the conceptual rendering that you would like to see in the final design? Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Moving Stage Center in a manner that keeps it substantially intact.
John 11:04 a.m. Steve have you heard anything about the possible location of the trader joes that is most likely coming to okc?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. I see a future where sales tax revenues rebound for Nichols Hills.
John 11:05 a.m. Steve, is OPUBCO still on schedule to move into century center in september? Maybe the work that needs to be done is less intensive than I'm imagining, but after driving by a couple days ago I will be impressed if you guys are in there in 9 months
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Keep in mind, this isn't that tough of a job. You're tearing down concrete tilt-up panels and putting up a glass facade, and then doing interior finish-out where much of the space is an open floor. That's not to say it's a cheap job or not an impressive renovation - it's just that not every job takes two years to get done.
John 11:06 a.m. Steve, for the new downtown elementary school will a child need to 'apply' to get in? Has enrollment for the fall already started? what are the criteria for getting in? thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. I don't have the info for you on this question. I'll try to post something at OKC Central this next week.
John 11:07 a.m. Steve, have you filled out your planokc survey yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. No. And I should. I want to. I will do that this weekend.
butting in 11:07 a.m. RE: Taft Stadium. I am not a soccer fan and kno wnothing about that, but I am an educator in OKC and know that Taft Stadium renovations are being done by the school district, not a soccer team. They will be completed whether or not kick-ball comes to OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Yes, you are correct.
shawnw 11:08 a.m. The Taft renovation was happening regardless I believe, as it's used by many of the north side high schools, similar to how the south side high schools use Grant.
BethanySooner 11:08 a.m. Steve, I just wanted to thank you for holding this each week. I know you are often caught in the middle of issues since you are trying to provide your readers with information and at the same time not wanting to violate your confidences. Tough position to be in sometimes, but that's the price you pay for Rock Star status right? :}
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Thanks BethanySooner, and thanks for being a regular and reliable contributor to this chat each week. There are a handful of you who make this chat far more interesting than it otherwise would be. I don't say that enough.
JAY 11:09 a.m. in your opinion if there is a change in mayors is there a good chance that the MAPS way of thinking would be dead?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I will soon have City Hall reporter Bill Crum as a guest on OKC Central Live Chat. Direct this question to him.
Mark 11:10 a.m. Steve, I personally liked the initial renderings of the building that was to replace stage center. I also believe street interaction is significantly more important than height. Do you think additional retail/restaurant space could help them get a demo permit?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I don't know. With city staff, it's about Stage Center, not about the proposed replacement. The committee is an unknown....
Dan 11:10 a.m. There hasn't been much movement going on at The Rise. What gives?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. It's proceeding veeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy slooooooooooooooowly.
Gary T 11:11 a.m. You said "Moving Stage Center in a manner that keeps it substantially intact" would be the best way to get a recommendation from the OKC planners. As in pull it apart and move it somewhere else? i.e. Omnidome area? Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. I have thoughts. I actually see a viable option for this. That's all I can say at this time.
Gary T 11:12 a.m. What is the one story at the top of your list to write about but you can't just get enough information that you can share with us?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. First National?
shawnw 11:12 a.m. RE: Century Center, can the other tenants move in and open before OPUBCO? Or do they have to wait on you guys?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. I don't know - this question is above my pay grade.
John 11:13 a.m. Steve, in your video interview with John Johansen he mentions that the "proof of a building is its use and its occupants". With Stage Center needing a multimillion dollar renovation, and most likely only able to host unprofitable tenants after the renovations are completed. Do you think he has indirectly given supportive evidence for the removal of the building? If not, how do you think this language can be interpreted as a message to save the building? Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. I love it when you guys figure these things out! Yes, that video is a must-watch now. There's a lot of things said in that interview that take on a far different meaning five years later.
mary 11:14 a.m. What's the status of the Paige Woodson school? Any buyers? Renovations?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. It was acquired by Ron Bradshaw, who has also developed parts of Deep Deuce. I think he's looking at doing housing.
Guest 11:15 a.m. Everything you want to know about what is happening at John Rex Elementry
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Thanks Bob!
OkieNate 11:15 a.m. Devon for Preftakes and Continental at BoA site. What does the magic 8 ball think?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. Magic 8-Ball wants more coffee.
Gary T 11:16 a.m. Any chance we see the U-haul building in BT change hands in the next five years?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. I'm doubtful.
Sara 11:16 a.m. There is a public meeting about the Rex Elementary school on January 21st at 7PM at the downtown library.
Mark 11:16 a.m. Steve, I am very concerned about the convention center removal ballot Shadid is talking about. I think his campaign is struggling and he is using this to spite the rest of the council and force people in okc into 2 different camps in order to keep the campaign relevant. The removal of a project from a maps ballot after it has been voted on sets a horrible, horrible precedence and may kill MAPS all together. Do you agree with this? Do you support the building of the convention center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. I really need to keep my thoughts to myself.
Gary T 11:17 a.m. You said you want to have Bill Crum on the chat soon. Is there anyone else you really want to get on the chat but their schedules haven't permitted it? Someone like Larry Nichols, Aubrey McClendon or Harold Hamm I would think would be hard to work in.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Wow. Those are some pretty big names. I'd love to do a live chat with Larry Nichols. But I wouldn't presume that this would be the best use of his time. McClendon isn't really eager to do any media from I'm hearing - I can't imagine why (sarcasm). I'm not sure a live chat with Harold Hamm would be interesting to those of you excited about downtown development - his passion is truly in talking about oil exploration. He's a very nice guy - but it's oil that he seems to be most interested in talking about. And that's OK. Oklahoma City is fortunate to have such smart guys in the community, and they've all been very generous with their contributions.
Richard 11:20 a.m. do you think the negative reactions to the state center "concept" has a positive or negative effect on developments that haven't been announced yet? IE: lets not propose anything crappy or we will be hammered
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. You'd think that would be a consideration. But not every developer or corporate executive thinks this way.
John 11:21 a.m. I think the new convention center could be similar to the Chesapeake Arena in that it may be very expensive but the long term benefits outweigh the short term costs. Imagine if anyone had predicted we would have a NBA team in okc by 2008 when they first built the ford center, people would have said you were nuts! My point is, its best we don't miss out on any future opportunities and not build the building.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. One clarification - Oklahoma City got an incredible deal with just paying $86 million for the original arena project. That was hardly expensive compared to arena deals being done during the same era (late 1990s).
Tim 11:22 a.m. With the recent otlgger article in the paper, is that a indication that the Oklahoman wants to change our archaic liquor laws. IT IS TIME OUR LEGISLATORS LET THE PEOPLE VOTE
Guest 11:22 a.m. Steve, are you aware of who was Rainey Williams' competition for the Stage Center site? Are they still looking at OKC for their development? There are so many available lots, surely they'd not lose ALL interest...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Yes. Not sure. I agree.
John 11:22 a.m. Steve, do you really not enjoy these chats so much? Because I love them! You might as well go ahead and pencil these in every friday at 10:00 for the rest of your career. Woohoo!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. There are 297 people logged in right now. The transcripts are read by thousands Tiffany Gibson, who is a roller-girl in her off time and is my guide with this digital conversation, might hurt me if I were to dare stop doing these chats.
Motley 11:24 a.m. I recently visited OKC after living there about 25yr ago. It has improved immensely; however if downtown had another destination venue to draw people during the day, it would really help increase its visitation. Do you foresee any additional development along those lines, maybe a museum or entertainment facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. 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?
Guest 11:26 a.m. If the Stage Center is a.) ugly b.) not used by the public c.) too expensive to fix then why save it. It seems like architets are a little too in love with their own artform.
John 11:26 a.m. How many square feet will the Hunsucker Building be? Of that, how much will be available for lease? Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. I don't know the square footage off hand. But the only space they plan to lease is the retail storefront.
John 11:27 a.m. Steve, I know how much you love OKC and want to see us grow. Because of that, how could you possibly vote for Ed Shadid? He is purposefully creating rifts in the community and driving people apart instead of bringing them together. He does have some good ideas, but the manner in which he presents them is so polarizing I don't think it could ever lead to a productive discussion. Can you please finally come out in support of Mick? This is mayoral election that will have a direct impact on your job as the downtown beat writer!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I am not going to take sides in the mayor's race. They are both good hearted men who are passionate about their city, but they have a very, very different vision for how to move forward. Voters have a clear choice. Vote.
shawnw 11:28 a.m. Next downtown destination: Watching Steve work away during the day through the Century Center glass...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. So you're assuming I'll start going to the office?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. ;)
John 11:28 a.m. steve... that dallas/KC hint was too much! my head is about explode! ahhhhhhh
John 11:28 a.m. Any progress to report with the Rock Island Building in Bricktown? Thank you.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Developer Richard McKown is negotiating some final details with the National Park Service as part of obtaining historic tax credits. Construction is set to start soon.
Gary T 11:29 a.m. Megan Mullally (of Will and Grace fame) will be coming to Lyric Theatre on Thursday, February 20th. It will star Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt. It is rated R, but is supposed to be hysterical. Tickets go on sale Monday and are $25. Just trying to help promote a local non-profit. http://www.lyrictheatreokc.com/meganmullally
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Wow. That's something I'd like to see!
Guest 11:30 a.m. Steve, when is the hearing to approve or disapprove demolition for the Stage Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Next Thursday, 9:30 a.m., City Hall.
John 11:30 a.m. Steve, do you think the core to shore master plan with buildings lining the park could be completed by 2040?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I think the Core to Shore plan is garbage as it relates to suggested private development and irrelevant to what the market will dictate. I have seen and heard nothing that validates any of the suggested private development in that study by out-of-state consultants.
There will be no Nordstrums and definitely not a Borders Bookstore. We will likely see a lot of housing and just a few smaller retailers and service-oriented shops.
shawnw 11:32 a.m. Time for a Tapstone office space update!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I agree!
John 11:32 a.m. Has any sort of timeline been announced for OKSEA? I thought that was a great idea
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Expect some significant changes on this ....
Guest 11:33 a.m. What's the latest on Maywood Phase II apartments?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Site clearance has begun.
Lackmeyer Fan 11:33 a.m. Any new developments you care to leak to your loyal chat fans? Thanks in advance!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Haven't I given you enough?
Motley 11:33 a.m. The Stage Center is unfortunately unique in a bad way. The proposed office space would add more to downtown then that building. A better theater center somewhere downtown would be a better plan. Some old buildings are not worth saving
Gary T 11:33 a.m. The KC/Dallas jealous hint, was that aimed at the Tower Theatre? Maybe a Granada theatre tyoe of development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. No.
erich 11:34 a.m. What do you see for the area West of the Little Flower and East of the farmers market.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Lot's of potential. Let's just leave it at that.
John 11:34 a.m. Steve do you think we will hear about a corporate relocation or new major job creator to okc before 2015?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Absolutely.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Is Continental Energy still growing rapidly? Their office needs have got to be growing, right?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Yes.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Steve, what's the latest on the downtown airpark development? Is it going to live up to the initial idea?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. I think it might change as Blair Humphreys takes over as developer.
shawnw 11:35 a.m. What about the Metropolitan? Starting soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I think so.
John 11:35 a.m. Has construction stalled on the St. Anthony's expansion? I drive by daily and work seems to be progressing at a extremely low rate
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I think they want to get the new parking built and open before they tear up the existing lots for the expansion.
Roberto Olge 11:35 a.m. There were work trucks outside the old homeland store at 39th and Pennsylvania. Do you have any information about what they're planning?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Yeah. I heard something about that property.... just can't recall if Richard Mize wrote about it ....
shawnw 11:36 a.m. Liked your Bricktown music article this morning. Related to your hint? Would be awesome for Bricktown to become a live music mecca...
Guest 11:36 a.m. How do you think it will change with Blair on board?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. I don't know. Let's have him on as a guest soon.
John 11:36 a.m. Steve, were you tracking anything significant at first national that has fallen through? Are there talks around town of doing a Skirvin like renovation?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. I wish I knew....
Guest 11:37 a.m. Is this airpark a development we should be worried about proceeding if Shadid is elected?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. No.
RowerBrandon 11:37 a.m. Any updates on the Catholic Charities HQ on Classen? I really think it will help spruce up the area. If developed correctly, I believe Classen could become a fundamental part of linking all of OKC's districts together.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Not yet.
Guest 11:37 a.m. Any reason to be worried about the Metropolitan not happening?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. no.
John 11:37 a.m. Do you personally think the downtown elementary school will be a success, a flop, or somewhere in the middle? I think this project may be the biggest game changer for the long term future of urban okc
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. I suspect it will be a game changer and a great success.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Folks, that's it!
Have a great weekend.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
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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