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OKC Central Chat transcript, Jan. 17, 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 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm •  Published: January 17, 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 10:06 a.m. Good morning everybody!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. I'm working with a new Cover it Live control panel this morning, so please be patient with me. I have some learning to do today.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. Frequent OKC Central Live Chat contributor Gary T. is traveling this morning. But have no fear, he emailed me some great questions to start off with. And I'm posting it to get things started.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. 1. Last week you said you see more entertainment venues being added to the mix and there is one development that could change the game that would make Dallas & KC jealous. Any more information on this you can give us? Area? Bricktown? Deep Deuce? Midtown? Would we finally start to see concerts like the ones going to the Brady in Tulsa or Granada in Dallas coming here?
ANSWER: You’re mixing two different comments together. I think there is going to be increased momentum for live music throughout downtown based on projects I’m tracking in Bricktown, Midtown and Film Row.
2. What do you think would be the best use for FNC? Housing? Hotel? Office? What do you think it will end up being?
ANSWER: Housing and a hotel.
3. When will we hear what MidtownR is going to develop on the NE/C of 10th and Hudson? This year? This month?
ANSWER: I suspect we’ll hear something in the next couple of years.
4. Hypothetical question: let's say after the new convention center is built, the Cox Convention Center is leveled and the city comes to you for your expertise on what to put there either as a superblock or broken up with the street grid put back, it's up to you. What do you tell them?
ANSWER: I’d seek a mixed use development that would promote the connection and transition from Bricktown to the Central Business District. It’s a big block. Why not go for an office tower, retail and housing?
5. Besides Bill Crum, who are some people you are talking to trying to get on the chat? Keith Paul perhaps? Steve Mason? Hal Smith? Brian Fitzsimmons?
ANSWER: I’d love to have Hal Smith on as a guest, but he’s pretty private guy. Mason, Paul and Fitzsimmons are all possibilities. Bill Crum will be my guest (I think) next week.
6. It seems like there were several good concerts one after another at the DT Airpark last year (Motley Crue/STP/Hinder, Sublime/Pennywise/Kottonmouth Kings, The Lumineers and Rhythm on the River with Nelly/Kelly Rowland/Brian Mcknight which was cancelled due to weather). There hasn't been anything since. Any idea what is going on with that?
ANSWER: The airpark concert venue is seasonal.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. How's that for a kick-off? Thanks Gary T.
shawnw 10:09 a.m. Is the parking garage still being built as part of the Journal Record building renovation?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Yes it is. From all appearances, this is going to be a very promising development with potential to be even more than what we've seen to date.
JamesC 10:09 a.m. Good morning! I'm curious about residential development projects in the downtown/midtown area. How many apartments will be built, and how affordable will they be?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. I am tracking several upcoming housing projects, some for sale, some rental. I can't provide you with numbers. I can tell you we're likely to see more affordable for sale housing in price ranges that people have long sought out downtown.
SlushPuppie 10:12 a.m. What prompted you to become friends with Satan? Does your mom know? And does your editor care?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. Friends? Friendship would indicate we hang out at the coffee shop, browse through old photos during Retro Metro OKC meetings and marvel at downtown development among other things. I've done no such thing with @BaphometOKC. I hit him up with the same hardball questions I'm expected to ask anyone - I asked about affiliations with lawmakers and the whole golden fiddle controversy with Johnny. But have I also offered him some advice on Twitter about mending family relations, dating and branding? Well, yeah. But that's just part of the kind of challenging I do with everyone on Twitter. My Mom doesn't know about this and no one needs to tell her. She goes to church 10 days a week and wouldn't understand. What my editor doesn't know needs to stay that way.
Sooner Than Later 10:17 a.m. Last week you mentioned your sources telling you that Aubrey cleared out the wrong spot at NHP in relation to a future store (Trader Joes). Are you able to clarify where in NHP a better spot is for a store than what is currently available.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. Don't be surprised if Trader Joe's opens up in another section of Nichols HIlls Plaza.
Sooner Than Later 10:18 a.m. It is my understanding that OG&E is spread out in a few buildings downtown? Do they own at least one of those properties? If so, what will become of that vacant building if and when they move to a new tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. OGE Energy Corp. owns their headquarters at 321 N Harvey, a pretty cool old building. They also own a pretty unsightly complex southeast of the Chesapeake Arena that could be a great redevelopment target considering its proximity to the new boulevard. I suspect the current headquarters might make a good prospect for housing. They lease the remainder of their space.
Brett 10:26 a.m. Steve, what effect do you think that the proposed OGE Headquarters site will have on the Arts Festival?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. In the short-run, it's obvious that the food court and some festivities may have to move more into the gardens during construction. In the long run, I also suspect the south half of that block is going to see its own development.
David 10:27 a.m. On a related question, do you have any information about the group that purchased Nichols Hills Plaza from CHK? You hinted a while back that Aubrey may have been involved, but I have since heard it was an Ohio group that specializes in high-end retail centers. Do you know anything about the new owners and their plans?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. I'm not aware of a sale closing yet, so I think there remains some confusion as to what is really going on.
Pat 10:28 a.m. Good Morning Steve ! Nice win by the Thunder last night. You stay up and watch ? Do you think the SC demo is final or will something postpone the process ?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Yes, I was watching that game, and I'm still tired from doing so. What a bizarre turn-around. And yes, I don't see anything stopped Stage Center demolition at this point.
David 10:29 a.m. Do you have any sense of the timeline for Preftakes to sell/develop his block? Now that the OG&E headquarters looks to be moving forward, isn't there some pressure for him do something with his mostly vacant properties? What can we expect there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Nick is going to do what Nick is going to do. That said, I'm following some things that give me hope something is set to happen soon.
Frank 10:30 a.m. Do you think enough funds have been made available to make Santa Fe Depot the transit hub OKC wants it to be? Or will more funds be needed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. The $13.5 million federal grant goes a long way in helping this project become a reality. I don't think people will be disappointed.
Anthony 10:30 a.m. Steve I liked your article on how awesome Tulsa's new park is and how Oklahoma City is totally missing the point on this. Is there any way that we can mimic Tulsa's design? Has there really been no interest from corporate sponsors?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. I wrote about this in my blog on Wednesday night: If enough people contact the mayor and council, who is to say the project can't still be changed? The designers are not in charge - they work for the mayor and council, and the mayor and council work for the taxpayers. I'm not saying one is better than the other. I'm just wanting folks to get some broader context on what is possible and asking if this park design is the best we can expect.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. You can contact Mayor Mick Cornett at, the councilwoman for the area is Meg Salyer at
David 10:34 a.m. I've heard that the asbestos remediation alone in First National would require investment in the millions of dollars. Is this true? If so, what is a conservative ballpark estimate for the complete renovation of this landmark? Has anyone explored a public/private partnership to make this happen like what we saw with the Skirvin? With Class A space in demand, a renovated First National would seem to be a very attractive location for office, housing and retail.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. I'm not sure asbestos is the big challenge with First National - a lot of it was already removed. But the building does have bathrooms between floors and many other challenges. We're looking at anywhere up from $80 million to bring First National up to snuff. I'm not convinced Class A office space is a viable solution, however, because the floor plates are too small for today's standards.
David 10:36 a.m. if you had to put a percentage likelihood on the Convention Center and hotel being built, what would the percentage be for each and both together?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. Tell me how the mayor's race ends up and then I tell you how your question might proceed.
Anthony 10:38 a.m. Steve, it appears that uptown and midtown have some really good momentum going right now. I have heard rumors that there is an apartment complex being proposed within 1 mile of 23rd st. Have you heard anything regarding this? Details?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. One was being looked at, but it's no longer likely.
Pat 10:38 a.m. Steve, Any rumblings about a soccer facility for the new FC Energy team ? A facility somewhere near the CBD ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Yes. But that's all I can say right now.
geg 10:39 a.m. any news on the villa Teresa land?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Nope.
Guest 10:40 a.m. Good Morning Gentlemen, The Uptown District really seems to be picking up some momentum. We have the Gold Dome Restoration under way with what appears to be a long term tenant, The Rise construction seems to be well underway with some cool new concepts coming, hopefully some movement with the Tower Theatre this year, possible plans for a restaurant in vacant lot next to Tuckers and Gelato Shop next to Big Truck Tacos… Will we finally hear about new apartments/lofts in the area this year?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Housing is a possibility.
Frank 10:40 a.m. Will the streetcar and renovated Santa Fe Depot make a regional transit authority and commuter rail more likely?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. It doesn't hurt.
David 10:40 a.m. Why does Oklahoma City now have more full service health centers or tennis clubs. I'm thinking something like the Woodside Club in Kansas City. I think a Woodside-like club near down town would do very well. There are probably other locations that would also be very successful (on Memorial or 63rd near Nichols Hills/Belle Isle). Have you heard of any developers considering such a project?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. That's a good idea. Developers read this chat. Are you folks paying attention?
Guest 10:41 a.m. Steve and Ferris, what new restaurant/bar/retail are you most looking forward to in the Uptown District and why?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. Ferris isn't with me this morning - I'll be his guest tonight on KOSU radio. I'm most excited about The Rise shopping center at NW 23 and Walker. It's a game changer with the mix of retail, eateries and bars. It's what the area needs.
Pat 10:42 a.m. Steve, Any more great deelopment news coming our way in the next few months ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. How about tomorrow?
David 10:42 a.m. here is the link to Woodside BTW- Any developers reading this, please make it happen and you'll have at least one member.
Brett 10:42 a.m. Steve, what effect do you think that the new OGE HQ will have on the Arts festival?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Long run? You know, I haven't really thought about this other than I really think the south half of that block where the food court and entertainment is located is almost certainly to be developed as well. I need to think this through and visit with some folks.
AJ 10:44 a.m. what are the chances that the second tower on the stage center site is taller than the OGE tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. I think it's highly unlikely it will be taller, but I wouldn't rule it out. My gut tells me it will be a hotel.
Anthony 10:45 a.m. Areas west of classen: 10 penn and south to Reno ave, appear to be lagging behind in terms of 'revitalization'. People who live in those areas commonly express that crossing classen to get to midtown etc. is difficult and dangerous. Do you know if this issue will ever be addressed? Elevated walkways/bikeways like they have in bigger cities would solve the problem without causing a disruption in traffic, I think. Or has the redevelopment just not spread to those areas, and they are next one midtown and uptown are 'finished'?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Development is hitting Classen. A new home was even just built immediately across the street from the old Classen Inn Motel at NW 8 and Classen. But you have a very good point. I am not sure that anyone has really focused on this question, but you're right, it needs attention.
David 10:50 a.m. Do you think Shadid's effort to hold a re-vote on the CC, will undermine the MAPs process and make future MAPs initiatives more difficult to pass?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. It's no secret that Ed Shadid wants to see a serious investment made in the city's public transit system. And I've talked to folks who believe MAPS 4 could be the chance needed to get into BRT (bus rapid transit) and beefing up the system. But what happens if through this initiative petition to reverse part of MAPS 3 that the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and others involved with MAPS decide to no longer support it? What happens if the whole MAPS approach is killed through this initiative petition effort?
The history of MAPS is that bundles together projects that individually might not attract enough support to become a reality but causes voters to look at the bigger package and vote yes. This effort is unprecedented and I don't know how this will end up.
Frank 10:55 a.m. What changes are in store when OKC gets a new planning director?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. I don't know. I just learned the city only gave a month for word to get out about the job. I'm not entirely certain the city is endeavoring to hire the best talent out there.
David 10:56 a.m. If you could select three projects for MAPs 4, assuming the same funding parameters as MAPs 3, what would those three projects be in order of priority?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. A lot of people seem to want public transit. The council seems to agree the city's bus shelters are terrible. The route schedules are dismal for a city our size. So that's one challenge. There may be an opportunity to do neighborhood amenities as well.
Susan 10:57 a.m. Steve, great article on the Central Park the other day. After looking at what Tulsa has planned, I feel like our design for the Central Park was created by one of those overnight Roofing companies that comes into town after a hail storm promising to fix your roof in 2 days at half the cost then taking off with your money and leaving you with a subpar product. What can we as citizens really do to make sure we get the park we want and deserve?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. I'll say it again; the designers are not in charge. They work for the mayor and council. The mayor and council work for the taxpayers. You can email the mayor at The councilwoman for the area is Meg Salyer at
Nick 10:59 a.m. Hey Steve, any idea when we might hear something about Villa Theresa's property? Are there plans for it?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. It may still be a while.
Michael D. 10:59 a.m. Just curious, what do you think would have happened if the planning department hadn't approved the demolition of Stage Center? Kestrel had already purchased the property, so would they have been holding the $4.2 million bag?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. Kestral would have appealed to the Board of Adjustment. If not successful there, Kestral would have taken the appeal to district court.
Matthew 11:00 a.m. Steve you need to set in on the CNU-A sessions that we are having.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I agree. I would have loved to have attended these urban planning sessions. Time simply didn't allow for it this week.
Michael D. 11:00 a.m. While it is sad Stage Center will soon be a memory, it's important to remember this is NOT the same as Urban Renewal in the 1960s and 1970s. Eminent Domain wasn't used, it was cleared by the land owner. People have been likening it to UR, and that's a little annoying.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. Folks, I need to break away for about two minutes.
Nick 11:06 a.m. When does the Journal Record renovation begin? Any idea? I'm really excited for this project.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I can't recall the starting date, but I think it's this next year.
Chase 11:06 a.m. Looking to buy a home close to downtown and recently discovered the Miller Boulevard area. What do you think of the area for a young professional (no kids)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Refresh my memory .. what streets go through that neighborhood?
Nick 11:07 a.m. Do you think we'll see someone try to develop the roughly triangular lot at the SE corner of NE 4th and EK Gaylord?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Yep.
Nick 11:07 a.m. On a related note, why did the chamber give up on building a new facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. The economy changed. Directions changed. I think other folks got involved and realized this wasn't the best use for the site.
Susan 11:09 a.m. Do you expect the final rendering of the OGE Tower to change significantly compared to what we have seen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I don't know.
Rock Doctor Zero 11:10 a.m. I loved your blog post about the Central Park. Is there anything else going on in town that you are amazed people aren't talking about?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. That's the big one.
David 11:11 a.m. I'm not sure I caught the answer to Gary's question about the one development that could make K.C. and Dallas jealous. Either it got lost in the mix or there was some artful dodging. Can you pretty please give us more information about this jealousy inducing development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. I could. But I can't.
Will 11:11 a.m. Steve, what are the chances that the final plans for the Stage Center site will be more than what was shown in the renderings released? He keeps using the term "World Class", but I just don't see it.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Remember, we don't have the actual architectural designs. We've seen conceptual site plans. Big difference. But yes, by saying "world class," Rainey Williams has a high standard to meet.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Whether or not people like it, Stage Center was and is considered a world class building.
Jet 11:13 a.m. I moved here in 1992 through a job transfer and couldn’t believe the state of Oklahoma City…it was a ghost town on weekends and many of the buildings were abandoned. I now understand why that happened. It is truly amazing how far OKC has come in 20 years with the public/private investment. Besides civic leadership and the economy, what do you see as factors which will either continue the renaissance or cause it to cease?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. The younger creative class, the Millennials, are key to what's next. Will older civic leaders recognize they are not building a city for themselves (Boomers) but instead for the younger generations? I realize it's difficult to grasp a culture where people don't want to own cars, where they don't want to live in a suburban neighborhood. And I'm not suggesting those things will totally be out of favor in the future. But they will no longer dominate future urban trends based on patterns emerging so far. Thinking must change. This younger generation will not accept "no" for an answer. They will not be satisfied with "better than crappy makes us happy."
jrr2ok 11:17 a.m. Steve, LT reader but 1st time "chatter". Do you have any sense of whether Russell Claus' departure will provide any positive discussion and/or action toward greater Planning involvement in City development efforts? Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. I answered this earlier in the chat.
VictorH 11:17 a.m. How loudly were the members of the Design Committee cackling with glee when they condemned Stage Center to death and helped continue Downtown OKC's march toward architectural blandness/a skyline of steel and glass penii?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. No one was cackling with glee. They hated being forced into this position. They are volunteers and they all seem to understand this was a special building with extraordinary challenges.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. I realize there's a lot of anger out there over Stage Center. John Johansen created this crisis. There. I said it. Get mad at me if you want. But I met Johansen. I talked to him at length. He was quite proud that he (with backing of the Ford Foundation) forced his design on a community that didn't want it. That attitude carried over into functionality. There are so many examples where it seems as if form was the only consideration, and Johansen didn't take the time to ensure the building was cost effective and functional for its non-profit, budget challenged performing arts tenants. He designed a building to fail, no matter how stunning it is to look at. My question to architects is how much does function matter in awarding praise to an architect's work?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. I still admire Johansen for his brilliance and accomplishment. But he was flawed.
Nick 11:22 a.m. Are we on the verge of more announcements for downtown? Perhaps some of the ones that were delayed from Christmas?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Yes. Coming soon!
Edward 11:23 a.m. What do you think is the next thing that will happen in Film Row - anything other than professional services are you seeing happen? (outside 21c that is)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Housing?
Guest 11:24 a.m. Is Williams and OGE aware that a majority of the people are disappointed in the height of the OGE Tower? Could it be something they revisit to make up for the tearing down of Stage Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Never know.
Nick 11:24 a.m. Is the Metropolitan starting construction this month?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. I don't think I've seen a building permit go through yet.
Eric 11:24 a.m. Steve, Do you think that the Stage Center building got a fair shot in the DDRC? I only ask because the committee was lacking a true architectural voice. Stan Carrol has vacated his place on the committee and Betsy excused herself. It has been known for a while that Stan is vacating his place, yet the mayor has not appointed a new member. Could there be a conspiracy in the works? It seems like it would not benefit Mayor Cornett to appoint a new architect to the committee that might vote against demolishing the Stage Center, and thus make the mayor look like he is anti development. Overall it seems like the architectural community was strategically silenced on the committee.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. No, I don't there was a conspiracy. Gigi Faulkner is someone who is inclined to challenge demolitions, and she clearly went back and forth struggling to decide her vote. If she had voted "no," we would have had a completely different vote. Mayor Cornett's two most recent appointments were the ones to vote "no" on demolition. So where's the conspiracy there? It was also Cornett who appointed Stan Carroll, who nobody would confuse as a developer's pawn. Again, I know there are people angry and upset out there. But watch the debate on the meeting replay (it's available on Compelling arguments were delivered by both sides, especially by Peter Dolese and Leslie Batchelor.
Bob 11:29 a.m. Do you anticipate that the OG&E data center will move to the new tower making the building they are currently in available for redevelopment? Seems like you posted a picture once of the building without that terrible façade.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I don't know.
shawnw 11:29 a.m. Do you predict that once OG&E is able to sell their current headquarters after moving into the new building that they will turn around and buy that new property from Rainey?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I know that's one of the theories out there.
Dan 11:29 a.m. I noticed re-paving happening on Broadway just north of 13th. Could angled parking be a reality soon south of there? Also, what's the status of the quiet zone?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. It's just repaving. Who wants to take bets that it takes the Oklahoma City Public Works department under City Engineer Eric Wenger longer to paint new angled parking stripes on Broadway than it takes to design, build and open a new downtown elementary school?
Nick 11:31 a.m. Is there no design review for downtown? How did the Park Harvey paint job get approved and how is Dowell's cheap garage allowed?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. You disapprove....
Chris 11:31 a.m. Heard that there will be firefighters and equipment moved from downtown station to elsewhere in the city... Any worries about PD and FD available with more residential moving downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Nope. The police staffing hasn't changed. The fire department will still have fire stations downtown.
shawnw 11:33 a.m. Please interview all of the DDRC members and write an article giving us your "feel" for how they might vote at a future Film Exchange demolition hearing.
Keith 11:33 a.m. If we have to help you with how the mayor's race will end up, then i'm pretty worried about ya.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. OK.
Guest 11:33 a.m. Is OGE using a local OKC architect?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. I don't know.
Nick 11:33 a.m. Have you heard of anything new accompanying the 21c Hotel coming to the west side of downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. It's moving forward.
OkieNate 11:33 a.m. Will OG&E be moving ALL of their employees into their new building or just consolidating their employees that are scattered around the metro?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. They say most of them will be moving to the new building.
Brett 11:34 a.m. One of the most interesting developments downtown is The Oklahoman returning to it's roots and moving into the big middle of downtown. I think that it will change the relationship that most of your reporters have with the city. Do you?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Absolutely. Gary Pierson, CEO of OPUBCO, was telling employees how important it is that we reconnect with our community, that being in tower at Britton and Broadway has hampered us from interacting with our readers. He's absolutely right. This new home for The Oklahoma will be a wonderful thing for everyone.
Alla Nazimova 11:35 a.m. Anything new on the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center's move downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. They're still in the fundraising stage.
Michael D. 11:36 a.m. Is the FOP still officially supporting Ed Shadid for mayor, despite the findings in his divorce records? There was a lot more going on than he originally admitted. A lot more than just some pot.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Ask this of Bill Crum, our city hall reporter, next week.
Keith 11:36 a.m. WHat do you think about the idea of adding more wards to the city council? Better governance or more arguments??/
Boom 11:36 a.m. Where can we sign-up to swing a sledgehammer to bring Stage Center down? About time!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. So you would have voted "yes"
Nick 11:37 a.m. have you heard of any movement by developers/owners in Bricktown converting upper floors of buildings? It was a hot topic for awhile, but seems to have faded recently.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. There's still work going on behind the scenes.
Nick 11:38 a.m. What is taking the place of the now cancelled POPS that was planned for Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. I hear the Chickasaws are moving ahead with their retail operation of some sort.
Aims 11:38 a.m. What are your thoughts about OPUB co moving back downtown? Excited to have a location back in the mix?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. More than you can imagine!
Nick 11:38 a.m. Do you think the downtown elementary school was actually put in the best location? Seems like that site was picked without a lot of forethought.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Nick, you're getting awfully cranky up there in Cleveland! There was a lot of discussion that went into site selection. It seems fine to me.
DH 11:39 a.m. Have you heard of any other devlopment adjacent to the new GE site on 10h street?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Not yet. But I think it will happen.
Jet 11:39 a.m. Steve, Do you think Stage Center will be dismantled and stored or demolished? When do you think it will happen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. It's going to be demolished. Destroyed. Gone. Forever. It will happen soon.
JamesC 11:40 a.m. Do you have any idea what development will take place along the core to shore park?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. I think we're going to see a lot of housing.
Anthony 11:40 a.m. Steve, how would one go about making that suggestion, for classen? Contact the councilman? Looks like I'll be sending a bunch of emails this weekend.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Yep. Meg isn't going to be happy with me. Contact Meg Salyer at
Realistic 11:41 a.m. No one is going to vote for a tax increase for a larger public transit system. Maybe 25%?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. We'll see.
Nick 11:41 a.m. Regarding the Sunshine Cleaners building at the NW corner of Classen and Main St, is there any chance we see that redeveloped? It's got beautiful bones. I really loved the idea of it becoming a brewery, but seems like that ship has sailed.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. I agree.
Nick 11:41 a.m. the City Council lately seems hellbent on ignoring the people and doing a half-hearted job on projects. What's wrong with them?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Nick, Nick, Nick.... switch to decaf. I promise you, it's quite good these days.
Ray J 11:42 a.m. There's a lot going on with the RiverSports developement but at the moment is geared to water activities only, obviously. Are there plans to make it a more univeral draw with hotels, clubs & restaurants? Housing as well? Anything on the south bank?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Water activities? They're putting in a bike track. They've got the SandRidge Sky Trail. They have a children's park. What else do you want?
Yes, there will be restaurants. And they're going to try to develop a Great Wolf Lodge style resort.
Ryan Bent 11:44 a.m. Steve why doesn't Ed Shadid just back off of MAPS it was never his idea in the first place. I think that the city of Oklahoma City should move forward with anything maps related. Do you believe the same thing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I think everyone is going to have their thoughts on this.
shawnw 11:45 a.m. Will the Journal Record parking garage still have ground level retail?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I think so.
Rondaldo 11:46 a.m. The Boulevard/Crosstown Expressway..... What are the chances the new rest of the BCE will look like what they already built. It feels like a highway going from Watonga to Vici. Not one that is in the middle of a city. That is what Engineers are doing to our city. We need planners involved to end the uglifying of our city.
Ed 11:46 a.m. As alway, I really appreciate the excellent job you do reporting on an incredibly complex and ever changing subject. Just curious, do you have a formal system, or do you operate on a giant collection of mental post-it notes in your head?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. My head is overflowing with post-it notes. It's quite painful.
Edward 11:46 a.m. Miller neighborhood is nestled over south of 16th, north of tenth and west of youngs to about villa, I believe. It's one of the areas nestled in that area that has been really well developed and restored. Preservation district as well. Only problem - the local elementary school is abysmal - Hawthorne.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. Yes. Now I know. Yeah. It's got good bones, good potential. I agree, the school is an issue - it needs people, regardless of whether they are parents, to get involved.
Chris 11:47 a.m. Steve, Do you feel like the Devon Tower is the CBD equalivent of OU winning the national champinship during Stoops second year where almost anything short of that sandard will be considered by some a poor use of space?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Didn't you watch the Sugar Bowl? OU is back!
Nick 11:48 a.m. What's the timeline for the jealousy inducing development you referenced? Will we hear about it this year? Next year? Two years?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. If it happens, by this summer.
jay 11:48 a.m. ok I know that non of these would ever happen in but just for fun which of these things would you think would happen first and rank them the brick town ballpark get an improvement and gets a MLB we get a NHL team or we build a stadium and get a NFL team
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. NHL would be most likely.
JamesC 11:48 a.m. How big of an issue would it have been to incorporate the Stage Center into the new building's design?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. It could have been done. Absolutely. They could have built the tower on the south half of the block. That would have really intriguing.
soonerred 11:49 a.m. Is there any possible way to have someone tell us what is the significance of the "stage center" building. It removed an entire block of historical buildings. What is the attraction? Showing this to people outside of OKC leaves them puzzled too.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I wouldn't say the buildings on that block before Stage Center were "historic." They weren't that impressive. As for Stage Center, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Guest 11:51 a.m. What part of town does tomorrows big announcement involved?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Now there you guys go again. It's not "big" as in a skyscraper. But it's another significant addition to downtown.
Nick 11:51 a.m. How do you think the Airpark development changes now that Blair (with a strong background in planning) is involved?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. I think it's going to be cutting edge in terms of planning and will rival the cutting edge work done by his brother Grant in Eufaula.
RowerBrandon 11:52 a.m. How is there so much strife over building the hotel with the CC? I understand that it wasn't clearly stated that we would need to build a hotel, but obviously we see how investing in ourselves pans out. With success. I truly believe that proper planning, design, and completion of the CC and it's hotel will only add and support OKC's economy.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. The concern is over public financing - which has yet to be formally proposed. It is a lie, by the way, when anyone says the need for a hotel as part of this project was never discussed before the MAPS 3 election in 2009. I wrote it up twice - in 2007 and in 2009. You can see those stories on my blog at
Who do they work for? 11:53 a.m. What exactly is driving Public Works' recalcitrance on angled parking on Broadway? What really will make the traffic engineers' hypothalmus twitch? Complaints about post-Thunder traffic? What are they really terrified of?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. I don't know.
soonerred 11:53 a.m. Have any of the Indians ever thought of investing in OKC's skyline? Seems they could put a tower easily.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. The Chickasaws are very invested in Bricktown.
Kevin 11:54 a.m. I noticed the River has been drained is that do to work being done on the new attraction the River Sports is adding this year. The larger Zip line.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Not sure.
Guest 11:54 a.m. Any chance that they would cut up parts of Stage Center and sell it as souvenirs to raise money for non-profits in okc?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Good question!
CBD 11:54 a.m. Any updates to the CC development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:54 a.m. Do you expect the 21c hotel to take as long as the aloft hotel took?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. No. Aloft was delayed due to contractors failing during the job.
JamesC 11:55 a.m. Just want to say thanks for great coverage of what's going on in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. Thanks.
Aims 11:55 a.m. Why do people think they need to save the stage center. It was a horrible design for the use & it had no HVAC, nor was it ADA compl. Let the building die.
Guest 11:55 a.m. I apologize Steve, I didn't mean "big" announcement, cause "big" would mean anything over 18 stories high. (jab at Williams). I meant new announcement. Thank you for answering the question.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. I'm sounding cranky again this morning, aren't I? And I promised myself not to! I'm sorry!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. OK folks. That's two hours! Time to go! Be sure to check out Premier on Film Row. I'll be in the KOSU radio studio with Ferris O'Brien at 7 p.m. (at the Hart building).
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Final comment: 601 people participated in today's live chat.
Kevin 11:58 a.m. Thanks!
Aims 11:58 a.m. Thanks Steve!!!
Danny T 11:58 a.m. Thanks Steve
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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