OKC Central Chat transcript, Jan. 3, 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 3, 2014 at 12:48 pm •  Published: January 3, 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 9:12 a.m. Good morning. Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
NewsOK Sports 10:00 a.m. Good morning everybody.
Guest 10:00 a.m. Good morning, Steve. Is there still a chance OKC is going to see some new jobs come to the city from outside the state? Any big relocations on the horizon?
NewsOK Sports 10:00 a.m. Yes.
NewsOK Sports 10:01 a.m. Oops. Looks like I was transferred to sports.... let me fix this.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Testing...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. OK. Now I finally feel like myself again!
Gary T 10:02 a.m. I love the design and the layout of the new tower on the site of the old Stage Center. Were you surprised that it was not taller?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. Yes and no. I had sources telling me we were going to see about 18 stories of office space for OG&E and about a dozen stories for either a hotel or housing. I didn't realize that this was going to be broken out among two buildings instead of one, so I was assuming we talking about a building of about 25 to 35 stories high. But when the conceptual building site plan was released, it all made sense.
Gary T 10:04 a.m. Do you think we are going to see a renovation on the Walcourt Building at 13th and 235 any time soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. If the owner were willing to sell, the Walcourt would have been renovated long ago. But the owner isn't willing to sell from every report I've gotten back from those who have attempted such deals. Will the city's new blighted building ordinance help? Maybe.
Gary T 10:05 a.m. Do you think we will see a Will Rogers Airport expansion any time soon? Do you think it will need it within the next five years?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. No. Whether we like it or not, the nation's airline system is cutting back on hubs, not expanding them. Memphis lost its hub status with Delta last summer. Other cities that have lost out include Pittsburgh and St. Louis. It's the outcome such tier two cities feared when airlines began merging a decade ago. So while Oklahoma City's airport is doing brisk business, it's not enough, I suspect, to warrant an expansion.
Gary T 10:10 a.m. With progress picking up on the Uptown 23rd Street area with the additions of the Rise, the possibility of the Tower Theatre finally being renovated and other projects along the area, do you think we will see a renovation of the old Penguin Music building on the NW corner of 23rd and Classen soon? I would think that would make for a great graphic design firm or maybe a smaller accounting or law firm.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. Architects, graphic design firms - are you listening?
Gary T 10:10 a.m. When will we see work on the old Joker's Comedy Club in BT by Chris Johnson?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. I spoke to Johnson a few weeks ago and he indicated the wait shouldn't be too much longer.
Gary T 10:11 a.m. Several years ago, there was a proposal to build a larger structure in the parking lot north of Bt Brewery, Abuelo's, Brix, etc that would include a parking garage and housing above it. I know that died, but do you think we will see anything like that resurrect itself any time soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. Probably not. Ownership of that block has since splintered among several different parties, making such a development much more complicated.
Pistol Pete 10:12 a.m. Will "Big Game" Bob be opening a restaurant? It appears that the choking hazard is now gone...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. Louie's isn't good enough for you?
soonerred 10:13 a.m. New Rainey tower looks great.....for Edmond. What a let down.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. Actually, we have no idea what the new tower will look like, other than how the building will be laid out and what the site plan might be. The actual architectural finish has not been completed or released.
Anthony 10:14 a.m. Steve, any news on the tower theater building?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. I'm hopeful. That's all I can say right now.
Anthony 10:14 a.m. Were all of the downtown 'Christmas presents delivered'? Are there going to be any late deliveries? Are we ever going to find out which project not yet revealed is your favorite development?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. No, some presents were delayed. Others unexpectedly blew up.
I was hoping to report to you that a very respected and accomplished developer was set to close on buying the old Transmissions'R'Us building at 320 NW 10. Until a couple of months ago, this was the 1920s vintage gas station that was littered with junked cars out front with trees growing out of doorways and the roof.
10:16 a.m.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. After numerous citations by the city, the property's owner finally removed the abandoned vehicles and cleaned out the trees and brush. Unfortunately, there are issues with this property that killed the sale from going through. I don't see how anything happens with this property now without city involvement.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. Other big deals are coming, however. We had a lot of momentum the past three months. The next three months will be equally exciting.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Major retail long desired by downtown residents and workers, new major development deals and an expanding corporate presence downtown are among the items I'm tracking.
Gary T 10:20 a.m. Can the city start construction on certain areas of the park prior to the Boulevard being built and the Salvation Army headquarters being relocated?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. That's what is being discussed by the MAPS 3 planners.
Gary T 10:20 a.m. Are the hotels that were being proposed for the corner of NE 1st and Russell M Perry and Lincoln and Sheridan still a go or are they dead?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. I suspect the one at NE 1 is dead following opposition to the design of the Springhill Suites. The man who was developing that property did not return my calls. I'm uncertain about the status of the hotel proposed along Lincoln.
Gary T 10:21 a.m. What will the $560k of TIF money for Bricktown improvements be used for? Do we have details yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Bricktown has long been a net contributor to the Tax Increment Financing District, and the city is looking at using the money to build sidewalks where they never got built, upgrade street lighting and replace dead street trees. We've already seen some work done as dead and dying Bradford Pear trees (never a good choice for Oklahoma City landscaping) were replaced with Crape Myrtles.
Joe 10:24 a.m. Outstanding coverage, Steve. Of everything. My question is a little broad. I love this city and want desperately for others to see its growth, inside and outside of the city. When do you think the time will come, when Oklahoma City reaches the point of positive, expanded response.. **When will others see this as a recognizable, impact-making city - within the city itself, within the state, within the country, and by those overseas?** I am tired of this great place being shunned by those who don't know how great it really is.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. The transformation goes in stages. The first change is complete. That involved the local population taking pride in their community and no longer being ashamed to say they are from Oklahoma City. This was actually a big problem 20 years ago. And now, from all I see and hear, the pride is back. There are no apologies made for being from Oklahoma City. The second phase is well underway - and that involves the ability of the city to make a good impression on those from out of town via visiting the city and seeing it for themselves. I constantly run into people who had no good impression of Oklahoma City, but then moved here and are investing in the community after being recruited by area employers, etc. The third phase, which I will call "buzz," is also underway. That involves the city's transformation being discussed among planners, economic development experts and academics across the country. We saw this in previous years as Austin, Seattle, Portland, Charlotte and Indianapolis all rose to national prominence and the sort of status you speak of. These cities were then presented as examples of progress by national publications and on network television and in college class rooms. This too is happening with Oklahoma City. But is the journey complete? No. But if the Oklahoma City Thunder, an important tool in this work, makes another trip to the NBA Finals, I suspect Oklahoma City will be that much closer to the goals you outlined.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Ask a broad question, you'll get a broad answer.
Guest 10:31 a.m. good morning mr.lackmeyer.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Good morning.
Sooner than later 10:31 a.m. With what you know and see on the horizon for 2014, could you give us a one-sentence description or write-up?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Downtown's workforce and population will expand and will help support new retail, attractions and amenities.
d.r dude 10:33 a.m. good morning mr lackmeyer. if you go to google and type in Austin, Texas skyline. hit enter. Then go to wikipedia and scroll down you will see there have been eight or nine highrises built in the last several years. That's a city that's on the move. Any comment?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. I agree.
Sooner than later 10:34 a.m. Steve--may I suggest you have a Friday guest contributor for both Ed Shadid and Mick Cornett? They each can have their own Friday and conversation would be limited to downtown/MAPS/Transit only? Does that scare you?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. It doesn't scare me. But I'm not interested in it either - especially during this mayor's race. That might be a better proposition for The Oklahoman's City Hall reporter, William Crum. I suspect the questions and answers would devolve too much into politics, and that's not my focus with OKC Central (though it sometimes comes into play).
Guest 10:36 a.m. Happy New Year Steve. In your blog you mentioned that there is one more tower firmly in development beyond the renderings that were released for the Stage Center site. Is that in addition to the proposed hotel/residential building? And if so, will it also be north of California or on the south site?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. Another tower is in play beyond the Stage Center block. It's not definite, but it is being looked at.
W. Main Commuter 10:37 a.m. I've noticed some interior renovation to the Crane Co building at the corner of W. Main and Lee, just west of the Main St Arcade Building. What's going in the Crane Co building and why has the Arcade not continued renovating?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. The Crane Building is being renovated by the city as a police check-in for sex offenders.
Guest 10:38 a.m. It would seem to make more sense that the hotel/residential building would front the Myriad Gardens and the OGE building would face Sheridan. In your opinion, is this to give greater visibility to OGE in downtown snapshots which often show the gardens and the Devon Tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. I'm sure visibility is a factor.
Guest 10:38 a.m. Hello Steve and happy new year !
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. You too!
Amaury 10:39 a.m. Any rumors about the Barons leaving town with such a poor attendance ?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. That's a question better asked of the sports guys.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. How many of you are interested in Mike Sherman, the Oklahoman's sports editor, joining me for a future live chat to answer questions relating to sports development downtown? it could address the Barons, the Thunder, the RedHawks and the possibility of a new soccer stadium.
Guest 10:41 a.m. Do you think that there is any substance to the proposed hotel/residential building on the Stage Center site, or is that just to make the project more palatable on the front end. Pete at OKCTalk noted that without the second building this would almost be identical to the Sheraton/Century Center complex.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. Interest is high.
Guest 10:42 a.m. Do you remember what the three proposed housing projects in the Arts District are that you mentioned a few weeks back?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Housing atop the new garage south of City Hall, housing at Couch and Drive, and housing at NW 4 and Shartel. All three involve developers pitching projects to the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority over the next couple months.
Kim 10:44 a.m. Have you heard a timeline for The Rise, Pump Bar and Gusto's Pizza? What has been the hold up on this project?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. All good questions. I'll be doing an update soon.
Sooner than later 10:45 a.m. Now that we know what's happening with the Stage Center Site, which piece of property is the most likely to be developed first IF a tower comes to town...the BofA site behind OKCMOA or the Chase Bank drive-thru?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. I feel more comfortable trying to predict a return date for Russell Westbrook to the Thunder.
Anthony 10:46 a.m. With the GE center being placed near 10th and broadway do you see benefits of redevelopment in the Culbertson and JFK neighborhoods, or do you think that those benefits will just apply to Deep Deuce to the south? I'm very interested in what happens to those neighborhoods. I see a lot of potential.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I think both neighborhoods will benefit, as will Automobile Alley, Lincoln Terrace and the neighborhood at NW 18 and Walnut.
Guest 10:47 a.m. When you say an expanding corporate presence downtown are among the items you are tracking, will any of these need to construct their own facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. Magic 8-Ball says "ask again later"
Amaury 10:49 a.m. To Joe, OKC development is exciting but it is the Thunder who put the city on the world map !
Candace 10:49 a.m. Steve, I drove by the Aloft and it looks far from ready to open this month. You had mentioned the developer said it would open in January, but this project has been under construction for 3 years now it seems like. Do you think this property will survive under the current ownership?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. Yeah. I don't see it opening this month either. But a lot can get done in the final couple of weeks. Jim Thompson is a very accomplished hotelier who aspired to build a solid, quality concrete hotel instead of the "stick construction" of a hotel being built nearby. He was bitten by a couple of failing contractors screwing up the job, which led to the delays we've seen. But once open, yes, I think the hotel will do just fine.
Guest 10:51 a.m. Please tell me you are tracking construction of Rand Elliott's Turbinomics building.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. No.
What does the hen say? 10:51 a.m. Steve, why so much opposition to urban hens? They're harmless and all of our peer cities allow them. Do you think there is someone or a group of people that influenced Council to oppose the ordinance? There seemed to only be support for it.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. The urban chicken advocates haven't made the case yet with various neighborhood groups. I don't believe at all that this issue is dead. I suspect we will see some attempts at incremental introduction of urban chickens either by district, limited licensing or some other mechanism that will then be expanded as various fears are addressed. I'm bewildered by those who argue this a make or break issue for the city. But in this day and age where so many issues are getting more and more polarized, well, I guess it's just part of the culture we live with today.
Perry 10:54 a.m. I have seen reports in the past that several restaurants (Chuy's, Corner Bakery, La Madeleine, Ruth's Chris) were scouting OKC locations, but I haven't seen or heard anything since. Any word on new restaurants that might be coming to OKC, downtown or otherwise?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Yep.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. Chuy's and Corner Bakery are hunting for spots. Ruth's Chris appears to be in the mix. I've not heard anything about La Madeleine.
Paul 10:56 a.m. Shorter Steve @ 10:31: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. Nice.
OkieNate 10:56 a.m. Good morning Steve! Regardless of the height of the new Rainey Williams tower. What will it have to accomplish for you to consider it a success? And do you have any idea when we will see a non-conceptual rendering?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Urbanists will say for it to be a success, it needs to engage the street with ample retail and other uses that will draw pedestrian traffic. They will point out it should minimize the presence of any parking. Architectural design - one that contributes to the skyline - is important. The height, ideally, should compliment and not conflict with nearby buildings, which in this case range from the three-story John W. Rex Elementary to the 50-story Devon Energy Center.
Guest 11:00 a.m. Steve, has work stopped on the Rise?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Not to my knowledge.
Guest 11:00 a.m. Your most exciting project got delayed and you said you feared it wouldn't happen. Do you still worry it's not going to happen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Yep.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. I sometimes wonder if Oklahoma City would be better off if it could put a moratorium on Californians "investing" in our downtown.
okcpulse 11:02 a.m. Hello Steve. I was in town last week and had a chance to drive around downtown a couple of times to do some sight-seeing on everything that's happening. I love seeing OKC grow. My kids loved the giant ornaments. My wife is falling in love with Mesta Park. Do you know if Mesta Park kids will attend the new elementary school?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Mesta Park is not guaranteed attendance. In June the Oklahoma City school board voted to set the John W. Rex Elementary Charter School's boundaries were between Western and Lottie avenues and between NW 13 and the Oklahoma River.
Brian 11:05 a.m. Not a question, but more of a observation. Oklahoma City leaders often talk of the city being a "big league city," but our public transportation is a mess and we can't be that until it improves. For example, the public bus system closes on holidays. Seriously?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. The City Council appears to be in agreement with you. They are looking at making changes that will address some of these concerns, but advocates argue a real fix will require voters approving a dedicated funding source.
guest 11:07 a.m. Did Devon buy the IRS Building
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:07 a.m. How are efforts to save the film exchange building on Robinson going. The proposals at the MAPS 3 Parks meeting sounded like they were writing checks on banks where they don't have accounts yet. Has either raised any money?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Nope. The out-of-state park designers hired by the city (Hargreaves Associates) are pushing hard to tear the building down. I suspect they'll win.
Guest 11:09 a.m. Any new developments with the First National Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:09 a.m. I'm interested ! (one vote for Mike Sherman)
Guest 11:10 a.m. What are the chances of OKC seeing another tower that alters the skyline. Both at the beginning of 2012 and 2013 you expected towers to be announced yet they were not. It turns out the Stage Center site is more of a mid-rise that really won't have an impact on the skyline. Do you think there is still more, bigger announcements to come or is this it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. i think people have different definitions of what can change a skyline.
Guest 11:11 a.m. What light can you shed on new construction on the east side of Broadway between Britton & Hefner? LifeChurch is on the west, but several big sites are underway...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. My understanding is that those sites are being developed by various medical entities, but that's not an area I really track or report on.
Chad 11:12 a.m. any word on the parking garage in N E bricktown, just south of Deep Deuce?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Planning and design is ongoing.
King George 11:12 a.m. Steve, has anyone completed any recent traffic counts on "Oklahoma City Blvd/ Crosstown" to see if it is being used? It runs so close to I-40 at such an elevated state it seems difficult to justify. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. King George? Is this "the King George"?
I think it's common knowledge that the current open segment of the boulevard is a virtual ghost town. But I remember a similar situation when the first segment of the Kilpartrick Turnpike opened (the turnpike was just widened to three lanes to accommodate the rapidly growing traffic counts).
Anthony 11:14 a.m. With expanding corporate presence downtown, do you mean companies completely new to okc, which would bring in high end technical jobs?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Magic 8-Ball says "ask again later"
Jim Bob 11:16 a.m. Have you seen any updated information on the new rental car facility north of Will Rogers? I've only found a couple small drawings/renderings on the internet but was curious if you've heard any more details. Also any rumblings on what will happen with all the existing rental car facilities along Guy Fuller Rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Oops. Got that question and answer posted in reverse. I'm definitely rusty coming back to live chat after two weeks vacation!
Guest 11:17 a.m. Not trying to be an alarmist here, but it seems an odd choice for the city to put a sex-offender check-in less than 1000 ft from the new elementary school. Was there any public discussion about this?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Nope. Not that I'm aware of.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. For what it's worth, this is a part of the operation at Oklahoma City Police HQ.
Robert S Kerr 11:19 a.m. I'm not sure an NBA team puts us on the world map. I'm not sure anything in OKC makes us a "World Class City".
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. On the first comment, I know first hand you are absolutely wrong.
Deep Deuce 11:20 a.m. Steve, help me settle a family debate. Is it "ey-loft" or "uh-loft"?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Good question!
Candace 11:20 a.m. I also have a friend that works in hotel industry downtown that said the Aloft owner was looking for an investor so he could finish building the hotel because he was running out of money. The property looks nice, but with all the hotels being built downtown and in Bricktown it seems a little on the outskirts of all the action.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. I don't believe this is correct.
Jennifer 11:21 a.m. Will the city's new ordinance help with the vacant restaurant space that has sat empty forever at 16th and Classen? Seems like prime location right between Midtown and Plaza District.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. It might.
No DUIs 11:21 a.m. What's the future of Uber? Wonder how much drunk driving was cut down during the holidays thanks to having a reliable ride via Uber, unlike our existing taxi services.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. I don't know.
Gary T 11:21 a.m. What's the latest on Trader Joe's?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. I'll be shocked if a deal isn't done in the next few months.
Bob 11:22 a.m. The new signs on I-40 say you are exiting onto the Crosstown Blvd. I guess the Oklahoma City Boulevard was just a concept?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Um....
Jet 11:22 a.m. In the Ackerman-McQueen video about MAPs, Mayor Norrick mentioned one of the major benefits of revitalization was how people’s perceptions changed and they became proud of their city. It has done wonders… Do you think there will be a MAPS 4? If so, what would it include?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. A number of people I respect worry that current events at City Hall may kill MAPS. Let's just leave it at that.
South OKC Guest 11:23 a.m. How soon will the City of OKC mobilize their abandoned/neglected property team to get out there for code enforcement of the new ordinance? I know they've got some preliminary estimates but is there a timeline? Thanks and have a great 2014, Steve!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Here's the last report by William Crum:
http://newsok.com/okc-council-approves-vacant-buildings-registry/article/3910788
Guest 11:24 a.m. Of the various MAPS initiatives, which specific aspects do you feel had had or will have the greatest impact on this city, ultimately, in the years to come.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Past MAPS:
Bricktown Canal, Oklahoma River, Chesapeake Arena, Civic Center Music Hall, and pretty much every improved school.
Future MAPS:
White water venue and grandstands on the river, streetcar system and the convention center.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Do you see high speed rail coming into play in the coming years/decades? Or is that too lofty a goal?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I don't know. I don't see it happening in the near future due to the political climate in Washington, D.C. But I could see it taking place if the national mood changes.
South OKC Guest 11:28 a.m. What are the chances of legitimate speed rail service from OKC to Tulsa? How can we make this happen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. Yes.
DeepDeuce 11:28 a.m. Have you driven down 4th St recently? The facade from Maywood Apartments along 4th St sidewalk is worse than people predicted when Downtown Design Review Committee approved it. No one will walk there.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I can't argue at all with you on this...
Guest 11:29 a.m. Any word on the retail anchor(s) for the renovated Century Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Not yet.
Mark 11:29 a.m. Steve, when do you think the vote for MAPS4 would take place? I'm sure an expansion to the light rail system would be included, but if the people of the city wanted an NFL type stadium built downtown, would it be placed on the ballot? Such a stadium could compete for concerts, MLS soccer team, possible NCAA Bowl Game (Continental Oil Bowl) and many events.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I'm not sure there will be one.
Kurt 11:29 a.m. Are you aware of a possible hotel going up at Remington Park Casino?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. No deal is done, but yes, it's being talked about.
Guest 11:30 a.m. I've heard it pronounced "uh-loft" on a commercial, so that's probably the correct pronunciation.
shawnw 11:30 a.m. Update on the Journal Record building please...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. A deal has been struck, financing is being lined up.
Jose 11:31 a.m. Even if our downtown isn't growing UP it's certainly growing OUT and it's fun to see. Not a lot of gaps of empty land available for development compared to 5-10 years ago. I spent time at the Myriad Gardens this last weekend and just looked around at the Colcord Hotel and Devon Tower to the North, then imagined the OGE Building to the West, the Convention Center and new 'High Rise" Hotel to the South and potential for another tower or corporate HQ of some kind where the Cox Center currently sits... It made the gardens feel like the unofficial center of downtown... excited for what's to come for OKC.
shawnw 11:31 a.m. Your thoughts on the new initiative by a city councilor to kill the convention center? How will disunity on the council impact the city's future?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I think it's more important to hear what others think on this matter. I'm not aware of another time in our city's history when a sitting city council member attempted to overturn a previous vote by taxpayers.
Gary T 11:32 a.m. In regards to Trader Joe's, are you hearing they will take over existing space or build new?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Existing.
Jet 11:33 a.m. Hi Steve, I’m a wheelchair user (37 years) and have noticed that occasionally one or two of the 3 wheelchair lifts on Oklahoma Ave. isn’t working. I wish I could have put in my 2 cents about using open mechanical devices outdoors during the design… but that’s water under the canal bridge now. Another concern is when the brick pavers settle, shift and become uneven-they can become hazardous to everyone. Who pays for upkeep in Bricktown? Who determines when things need to be fixed?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. That is the city's responsibility. Cal the city's Action Line at 297-2535.
South OKC Guest 11:34 a.m. FYI -- The William Crum article link on the vacant buildings registry does not include a timeline. I was more or less trying to find out if they are rolling quickly or if it's on the usual lengthy time pattern.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. I'll forward your question on to Crum to get an answer.
South OKC Guest 11:34 a.m. I'm out...not getting answers.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. OK.
shawnw 11:34 a.m. Are you tracking progress on a stadium site for the OKC Energy FC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Yep.
Impressed 11:35 a.m. You're doing a great job keeping up with all that is happening. Cheers to 2014!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Thanks!
Guest 11:35 a.m. The new bus station on MLK and Reno seems busy but there is no link to Downtown. The strecht of Reno av between the Bus station and BT is impossible to walk !
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I hear ya.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 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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