OKC Central Chat transcript, June 13, 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: June 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm •  Published: June 13, 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 9:55 a.m. Good morning! Steve will be logging in at 10:30 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
NewsOK Sports 10:32 a.m. Good morning everybody. I am wrapping up a phone interview and will be starting this chat within the next three minutes.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Try that again... I am not a sports guy...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. I'm back. Let's get started.
Gary T 10:35 a.m. Good morning Steve and happy Friday to you! I loved your article this morning about areas of BT being redeveloped. How long do you think it will take Bricktown (not including Lower Bricktown or Deep Deuce) to reach critical mass? Seems like there are only a few ares left to fill in before it gets close.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. The pending purchase will trigger more developments not yet announced. The key to this story today is the phrase "fill in the gaps." Empty space is about to get filled and brought back to life.
Gary T 10:36 a.m. I have heard rumblings that the area in front of the Chevy BT Events Center could turn in to the thing that would make KC and Dallas jealous. Can you give us a hint as to what aspect would make those cities jealous?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. No. That's not it.
Gary T 10:37 a.m. How long is the Chevy BT Events Center construction supposed to take and when do you think we will see the first live music acts play there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. As I recall, construction wraps up by fall.
Martin 10:37 a.m. When will we hear what the plan is for the Boulevard?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Today is the final day for the public to submit comments to ODOT about the four options. After that, I wouldn't be surprised if its just a few weeks before an option is chosen.
Alternative ABCD 10:38 a.m. There is mixed communication happening on the Boulevard alternatives and what is eligible for funding. The FHWA is telling people that Alternative D is eligible for funding as presented, but ODOT and the City is saying it's not. Who's right? What does that mean for the public process?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. I had a lot of difficulty getting clarification on this as well. But here's the final word as given by ODOT: portions of any plan that do not fall in the alignment of the old Interstate 40 will not be eligible for federal funding. That's at least what ODOT is telling me. It remains to be seen as to whether the feds will publicly contradict ODOT on this detail. As for the public process, I will leave it to others when ODOT has conducted itself throughout this project in a transparent, receptive and cooperative manner.
Gary T 10:41 a.m. From your chat dated at the first of the year, I asked, "What the latest on Trader Joe's. Your response was, "I'll be shocked if a deal isn't done in the next few months." Well, it's been a few months, will you be shocked if it isn't done in a few more months or has progress stalled?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. I underestimated the ambitions and changes possible with new ownership. I don't think Trader Joe's is dead. This area of development is now being covered by Brianna Bailey, so I'll leave any further questions to her.
Gary T 10:42 a.m. What is going to happen with the buildings south of the proposed 21c Museum hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. The metal buildings will come down, the brick buildings will be redeveloped.
Gary T 10:42 a.m. How fast do you think infill will happen in midtown once the Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl is open?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. As I recall, it's scheduled to be completed late this year. Infill is going to speed up, though some areas will be used for temporary uses until more permanent retail can be drawn to those sites.
Gary T 10:43 a.m. How are the project 180 projects coming along?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Better than before in terms of getting done on schedule.
Gary T 10:44 a.m. Are there any plans to develop the western part of the canal at canal level? I am sick of looking at dirt under Zio's and half-@$$ Chelinos patio.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. I don't see anything changing short-term.
Martin 10:46 a.m. Do you think we will hear any news on the First National Center by the end of the summer? That project will be a huge deal for downtown when we hear the details.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I'd be surprised. This is just such a huge, complicated deal for anyone who attempts it, and financing the asking price, which most locals say is inflated by at least $15 million, is a tough hill to climb.
Gary T 10:47 a.m. What chance do you think there is of a velodrome being built down by the river? The idea is very interesting but I am not sure the people would go for it since it would probably be a MAPS type of vote.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. The boathouse foundation has already indicated they want to build a bike track as part of their long term plan. So I'd say the changes are very good.
Martin 10:48 a.m. Have you heard any news on the Sandridge parking lots along Broadway and the triangle on 4th and EKG?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. Nothing serious yet.
Martin 10:48 a.m. Are there any new companies that are looking at moving downtown that you have heard? Out of state or out of OKC? Any non-oil and gas?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. All I will tell you is that downtown's corporate presence is set to diversify a bit if a deal I'm tracking comes to fruition.
Martin 10:49 a.m. What have you heard about the Skyline Ministries church on 8th and Lee? I heard it was being bought by St Anthony's and could be torn down? Are there plans for this area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. I've heard that rumor too but haven't had time to look into it.
Terry 10:49 a.m. Steve, from your comments, it sounds like you want to eliminate all the Bricktown nightclubs. But Bricktown was created as an entertainment district after all and a few quality nightclub's if operated or located properly should still be a part of the mix in my opinion. What Bricktown suffers from is too many cheesy nightclubs located too close together. One big problem is nightclubs create dead zones in their off hours which have increased from my club hopping days. Bricktown's clubs are only open from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and only on weekend nights creating extremely long periods without activity. By locating most of the clubs on or near Sheridan Ave. this has compounded the problem. However, there are ways to mitigate this. First, nightclubs such as Club Dax, back in my day, could be a model for today's Bricktown clubs. Club Dax operated as a restaurant during the day then switched to full-on nightclub mode in the late evening. That was an incredible club even though I couldn't tell you how successful such an operation would be today in Bricktown. Another option is to relocate clubs to basement or upper level floors instead of at street level. Anyone familiar with Bricktown knows there's plenty of empty upper level floor space being underutilized in the old warehouses and maybe even a few unused basements. This would allow normal businesses to occupy the ground level street frontage to bring life back to the street. By the way, I've been to many successful nightclubs in other cities and towns which were located in either basements or upper floors where no one even noticed they existed until the crowds showed up. Nightclubs operate mostly by word of mouth anyway and don't necessarily need good street visibility to be successful. The other problem of violence is not so easy to solve. Maybe the problem is who these clubs attract. If a club is catering to the low end of the gene pool by serving penny beer and porno stars there will always be problems and I agree this type of club should be kicked out of Bricktown. It would also help to disperse the nightclubs and not allow them to concentrate so tightly since many times trouble makers when kicked out of one club just take their troubles next door. You can also try to upscale the types of clubs by enforcing strict dress codes, building fancy interiors and hiring good security, but things can still happen that are out of their control. For one thing, the dangerous types may not even be going into the clubs. They could be cruising for trouble on the sidewalks outside unwilling or unable to pay the cover charge plus $6 beer and $10 drinks. For trouble makers that do go into the clubs, the nightclubs must provide enough quality security to handle them. I'm sure you're aware there's a discussion taking place in OKCTalk (Bricktown Shakeup) regarding this very subject of Bricktown nightclubs and one comment in particular I found revealing. This commenter considers Bricktown more successful and interesting than Tulsa's Brady District because it is all inclusive by comparison. He thought the Brady District catered too much to white liberal Gen-Xers with masters degrees. Bricktown's all inclusiveness is one of it's great features, until you realize that also includes the thugs who have been responsible for two Bricktown murders. Bricktown's character is changing, especially once the Mideke building, Holiday Inn Express and the Steelyard are finished. I guess Bricktown's just showing signs of growing pains while it matures and develops into a true mixed use district. Whatever the end result, I hope a safe way can be found to still provide a wide range of uses, including a few quality nightclubs without having to resort to exclusivity. Anyway, that will be my only comment today since I already wrote too much for one comment and don't want to wear you out like I did last week.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. I'm not anti-nightclub. I am pro-telling-it-like-it-is and providing readers a glimpse of what is being talked about and done behind the scenes. The truth is, even CityWalk, while seen as more reputable than ROKBar/Club Social, had shootings and assaults. I've asked about a couple of the Bricktown bars, and in comparison, they rarely if ever see such violence. And the bars are often open all week or for most of the week. Their owners tend to be more invested in the district's well being. I said last week don't be surprised if Club 115 goes away after its lease is over. I wasn't suggesting it's being targeted by Tom Ward as he moves his company to Bricktown, nor was I suggesting the club is a detriment to Bricktown. I was simply stating what's well known among many - the building is one of the ugliest structures in Bricktown, consisting of concrete blocks and not fitting in with the rest of the street. The changes underway in real estate in Bricktown dictate that in all likelihood the market will determine a higher and better use for that property. Now, as for whether the demise of nightclubs for Bricktown will rob it of appeal to young adults, whether nightclubs are critical to Bricktown remaining an exciting night spot, I present as my rebuttal the 16th Street Plaza District. This is where I drop my microphone and walk off, right?
Martin 10:58 a.m. Who owns the parking lot on the south side of Main and Dewey? That is a prime spot!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I believe the surface parking lot you are referring to the area west of the old Holiday Inn, now the Character First building. This parking lot is owned by attorney David Box, who has done some small infill development on the north side of Main Street.
Martin 11:02 a.m. What is the status of the Convention Center site being purchased? They have done so much work desiging the building, but still do not own the land.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Expect "friendly" condemnation hearings to start soon as both sides try to determine the sale price.
Martin 11:03 a.m. Who owns the huge lot west of Broadway between 13th and 14th? Are there any plans for it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Mark Moore. No plans yet that I know of.
Chase 11:03 a.m. Good Morning Steve! Chiming in again from Tacoma, WA- What is the current route for the upcoming streetcar? Also, have you been able to attend an FC Energy game? It would be great for OKC to be chosen for an MLS expansion team; was curious how the Energy have been doing in attendance. Thanks again and love your chat.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. The streetcar route can be viewed at www.okc.gov. As for the FC Energy, yes, I saw my first game (and their first win) a couple of weeks. I'm still not quite clear about what soccer is, but I had very good time.
Martin 11:05 a.m. Are the Fidelity companies still in the three buildings on Classen or have they moved out? Have you heard if those buildings have been sold or leased to a new company?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. The properties are for sale as Fidelity continues to move its operations to 9000 N Broadway, which it bought from OPUBCO.
Emma 11:06 a.m. What is the story on the old First Christian Science building on 1200 N. Robinson? Any development plans for the future that you know of? Looks like a great headquarters for a local company?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. The story is it was bought by out-of-state investors who seem to be quite content just letting the building sit empty. The entire area around it is in play.
Guest 11:08 a.m. I saw someone cleaning up the old convenience store at NW 15th and McKinley by the Plaza yesterday. Please tell me that my prayers being answered and someone's going to use that space! It's a great location if they can get that run down building fixed up!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. I didn't see that. I'll have to check into it.
Guest 11:09 a.m. Any word on the possible tower at hudson and main?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I'd say at this point it's more likely than not to happen.
Jim 11:09 a.m. Which is bigger for Bricktown, the actual development you wrote about in today's paper, OR... the fact that Martin & Burnett are becoming "THE" players in today's BT by actually taking ACTION & showing Vision, instead of just sitting on properties?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. The biggest story are the ones to follow - the implications of today's story. What does it mean to "fill in the gaps"? We may soon find out.
Britt 11:10 a.m. Steve what do you think will change in bricktown in the future with pioneers like the Brewer boys/ family are gradually selling off property? Will te fun experionce start to go away with it?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Well, first of all, it's not the Brewers who are selling right now - it's Don Karchmer and Jim Tolbert. And Karchmer isn't going away - he is staying and set to do some pretty big redevelopments involving his remaining properties.
Hurley 11:11 a.m. what if any does your article today connect with the thing that will make Dallas and KC jealous?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. No connection.
Coy 11:12 a.m. Do you think that the recent purchase of the "core" Bricktown buildings will prove to be a big game changer for Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Potentially.
Britt 11:12 a.m. are my questions showing up ?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Yep. Remember, the questions come out in the order received, as I am ready to answer them.
Martin 11:12 a.m. What are St Anthony's plans for the land across the street from Kaisers on 10th and Dewey/Classen? It is a triangle piece of land that they currently use for ambulance parking.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Are you talking about the EMSA operations center?
Guest 11:13 a.m. Is there any talk of adding more restaurants along the river walk in downtown? Seems the river is not being fully taken advantage of?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Riverwalk? I assume you mean the canal. I don't know of any pending new restaurant deals along the canal at this moment.
Martin 11:14 a.m. Any new news on the pending towers? OGE, Main & Hudson, others? Do you think we will hear announcements or see final designs from OGE soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. We will be hearing an update soon. But as for designs on the OGE Energy Corp. tower, the next thing we will hear is about the architect hired for the job, not the final designs.
Guest 11:15 a.m. Since City Council were not given an opportunity to vote for a grid option (Alternative D) will Jim Couch still let them do this? Especially in light of the recent public input?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. Jim Couch works for the city council. They hired him. They can fire him. So he's not in the position to tell them what they can and can not do.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. I need to pause this chat for three minutes.
Guest 11:22 a.m. Are there going to be any changes to the exteriors of the Bricktown buildings that Burnett and Martin are buying?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Some clean-up, but nothing extensive that I know of.
Guest 11:22 a.m. What do you think the future holds for Spaghetti Warehouse? Are the out of town owners opening it up to better uses for the upper floors?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. I am more encouraged about the future of his building than I have in a long time. I suspect a deal is close to redevelop the upper floors of the property.
Guest 11:23 a.m. I've heard the city plans to take out all of the healthy, mature trees along Park Avenue and Broadway in next phase of Project 180. Seems very wasteful...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Yep. It's been happening throughout the history of Project 180.
Don 11:23 a.m. When will the North section of the downtown Concourse be re-opened?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. I need more specifics on this question - which segment are you referring to? Downtown OKC Inc. - if you're following this - can you offer any help on this?
Guest 11:26 a.m. Are you more worried about the development to make KC/Dallas jealous? You indicated not long ago that you were starting to think it may not happen. What's the latest?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. Let's just say I'm less certain that it will happen, but by no means is it dead. Let's just say some complications have entered into the picture.
Guest 11:27 a.m. After Midtown R wraps up most of the currently ongoing projects, what's the next big thing for them?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I think they're far from finished. But I've learned that they won't show their cards until they're ready to be played.
Martin 11:28 a.m. Have you heard if there are any plans to redevelop Sunshine Cleaners? Do you think 21C Museum Hotel will start a the movement of development up Classen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. There are plenty of very legitimate, established developers eager to take on Sunshine Laundry. But you need an owner who is willing to do a deal. I've met with the owner. He's a nice guy. But for whatever reason, he just doesn't seem ready to go with any new direction.
Martin 11:29 a.m. Are they building a new OK County Jail and if so where?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. The county wants to build a new jail. But county officials don't have the money and they are continuously confronted with the reality that they are not trusted by taxpayers, which prevents them from getting a tax increase (a ballot for building a new jail was rejected several years ago).
Allen 11:31 a.m. Steve, you mentioned earlier in this chat that OKC's Downtown Corporate presence could diversify a bit. Without giving away the company's information, can you tell us the number of jobs it could bring to OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. No.
Mr. B. 11:31 a.m. Personally I am not much of a soccer fan, but the initial success of the FC Energy team is intriguing. Would building a $180M staidum conceivably be included as a MAPS scope, or would that type of project more likely have to be a private endeavor?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I think we could see a stadium that is more of a public/private venture, with potentially some money in the next bond issue. I don't know for sure. I do believe it will be located along the Oklahoma River.
sooner than later 11:32 a.m. Has there been any talk of installing blinking lights (similar to other cities) on Broadway to help slow down the traffic so people walking across the street don't get hit. Last week I was driving south through automobile alley and a group of maybe 10 girls were crossing the street and almost got hit. The lighting wasn't great and they weren't walking fast. They ended up screaming and standing still in the street scared. Serious updating of the crosswalks need to happen there
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I agree.
Martin 11:32 a.m. Have you heard any word on redeveloping the massive parking lot on the 12th and Francis? Housing is going in all around.....
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. It seems as if that would be a natural target for development. But I am not aware of any deals in play yet for that spot.
sooner than later 11:33 a.m. With the closing of the downtown independent Hallmark store, when is ENOUGH ENOUGH. Another local business closing due to the horrible way Project 180 has been run. I'm all for the updating of the city but we're hurting our local retailers and this latest one is certainly not the first to become negatively affected.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. It's a stretch to blame this one on Project 180. My understanding is the store was already feeling the squeeze from a changing marketplace for greeting cards.
sooner than later 11:34 a.m. Do you believe, or are you aware, of any big game-changers that could affect downtown but they are holding off till the rail-line is nearly finished? I can see that construction lasting too long and closing business' too. At this point I would think some business' want to wait till we're finished with Project 180 and the rail line before they open downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I'd say there are some deals that being held back more due to concerns about the parking situation. As the restructuring of where people park is settled with completion of new garages and garage expansions, we will see some announcements pop in short order.
Nick B 11:35 a.m. Steve, I'm fairly new to the area (from KC). I'm trying to stay up to speed on everything. I see many references to a "transit hub," but I'm not quite certain what exactly that entails and the timeline. Amtrak, buses, all of the above? Could you give me a brief rundown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. The city recently acquired the Santa Fe Train Station at E.K. Gaylord and Sheridan Avenue to convert into a transit hub, for which the city as $28 million, including a $13 million federal TIGER grant. The hub will serve the new streetcar line and Amtrak, and is also seen as a hub in the master plan still being developed for a regional transit system that could include rail lines between Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman. Officials from all of these towns are engaged in an ongoing regional transit dialog, though this is far from being a done deal. We also are seeing ongoing efforts by Kansas to extend the Amtrak service north, and by Tulsa to create a rail link. Those too, if they became a reality, would connect to the transit hub.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. The transit hub conversion, by the way, is set to be designed by TAP Architecture.
Ben 11:39 a.m. Are there any concrete plans for development south of the river. I've seen a bunch of renderings, but I haven't seen any confirmations of what is to come.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. Yes. But it's still very much in the planning stages.
Guest 11:39 a.m. Anything new on Stage Center Tower and what it's going to look like?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. No.
deep thoughts 11:39 a.m. Who owns the land across the water from the Boathouse District? I don't recall hearing train whistles in that area, but with the growth of that district happening are we in talks to make sure it formally becomes a quiet zone similar to what's about to happen in Automobile Alley? I would hate for a hotel to go in there and have guests be woken up by the blaring whistles, or a race happening and the rowers not being able to hear the announcers.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. There are a whole mix of owners over there.
Guest 11:40 a.m. Are you still tracking any employer relocations to OKC from out of town? Seems like we've heard for awhile now that you're tracking things, but that's the extent of it. Anything new on that front?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. We've already seen Continental Resources and GE.
Guest 11:40 a.m. You were tweeting about SandRidge's parking lots the other day. Could we see some legitimate higher-rise housing on these lots? Any local developers that could get that done?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. It seems as if that would be an easy development to pull off. I can't understand why something hasn't happened already.
Guest 11:41 a.m. Does this mean Alternative C is out of consideration because it has changes to City streets outside the old I-40 right of way? We are told that this is the same as Alternative A that the City previously approved - yet that involved an awful lot of changes to City streets to make it work.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Option C is certainly not out of consideration. It's actually quite different from Option A.
Guest 11:41 a.m. St. Anthony should hold off on tearing down the church (if that rumor is true) until they fill in the gaps on their campus to the east of the church and some of the other lots they have that are underutilized.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. I really don't know if this rumor is true. I'd caution against getting worked up about it yet.
Guest 11:42 a.m. Steve, if the future of Bricktown is more family oriented, why not bring in some first-rate stuff? Why not a major museum of some sort, an aquarium, a dinner theater, and maybe some exclusive restaurant concepts that OKC residents would currently drive to Dallas to experience? While I am not opposed to having an upscale nightclub or two in the district, I realize many people don't agree with me on that and think Bricktown's identity as OKC's "club" district is fast coming to a close. On the other size of that, it will never be the 16th St Plaza so it shouldn't try. Instead, it should develop its own identity and maximize on its strengths, something the district has not done a good job with to date. It can be made more family-friendly while still remaining something special and offering far more than dinner and a movie.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. Getting rid of a couple of nightclubs that are hot spots for violence does not translate into Bricktown becoming Disney World I really am bewildered by this line of reasoning.
John 11:43 a.m. I'm a first time prticipant, so Im not sure this is a queson youcan answer. If and when the new convention center is built, and the Cox is closed, where will the OKC Barons play? From what I understand,they aren't welcome where the Thunder play.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. The new convention center will be built. Cox almost certainly will close and the site will be redeveloped. I recently heard an idea that would create a great home for the team, would have easy parking, be adjacent to exciting entertainment, recreational and dining opportunities. I really hope the Barons give it serious consideration.
Carol 11:46 a.m. Do you think anything will done with the triangle building @ 5th & Harrison?
Martin 11:48 a.m. Yes the EMSA operations? Aren't they being incorporated into the new addition to St. Anthony's? What will happen to their prime location?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Yes. It's already set to be developed as the new home of Pilco. Read the story here: http://newsok.com/insurance...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Martin, I'm not sure that's the plan at St. Anthony's. One of us may have that confused... (I'll check for clarification)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. FYI - to the person who asked about The Underground tunnels closure:Downtown OKC Inc. says it is currently closed because of SandRidge construction, will get a process update ASAP
Carol 11:49 a.m. Any truth to Saturn Grill closing the Midtown location?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Yep. It's gone.
Guest 11:50 a.m. Do you have any doubts/concerns about what Burnett and Martin have planned with their Bricktown purchase?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:50 a.m. Any future guests lined up?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Trying to nail down a date with the always busy Cathy O'Connor, president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and director of the Urban Renewal Authority.
Guest 11:51 a.m. Can you give a "ballpark" time frame on when final renderings for the Stage center/OGE tower will be released. I'm still optimistic about this project but the way it has been approached so far is making me nervous.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. We should know more once the architect is hired.
Landon Donavan 11:51 a.m. Steve - any update on Energy FC's new stadium location/timeline?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:51 a.m. How many comments and questions on these chats have directly led to a story you then wrote for the paper or your blog?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Several. It's now a valuable if not exhausting part of my beat.
Guest 11:52 a.m. I'm not much of a soccer fan, but the notion of the FC Energy becoming a successful soccer franchise is certainly intriguing. If, down the road, a $180M stadium were to be built - could those funds come via a MAPS scope item, or would those funds have to come from a private source? Was the Ball Park a MAPS project?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. If you go to their games, you will see the team IS already successful. I don't know where this $180 million figure is coming from, however. Yes, the ballpark was one of the original MAPS projects.
Guest 11:53 a.m. Is the Rise ever going to finish construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. Yes.
Hurley 11:54 a.m. Will the project that will make Dallas/KC jealous go into an existing structure in Bricktown or will it be something built?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. It will be built, if it happens.
Guest 11:54 a.m. Do you know if the city would add a roundabout at 9th and Hudson and send the street diagonally to connect with the roundabout at Plaza Court. It might open up some cool opportunities for that lot by gogo sushi.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I don't see it happening.
Guest 11:54 a.m. Any retail planned to the west of the new Metropolitan apartments?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Not yet.
Guest 11:55 a.m. Land Run got to tear down the Hale Photo building claiming they had a plan, and now it's a deteriorating parking lot. Anything planned for that lot by Land Run?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Blame the former owner, Hugh Hale, for that building coming down, not Land Run, if this upsets you. I saw that building for myself, inside and out. The city itself was ordering it be torn down it was in such bad condition. Roof repairs were needed years earlier and did not happen. The roof caved in, the walls started buckling, and there was really nothing left to save. Jonathan Russell has been quietly acquiring adjoining properties to to pursue a development that may be larger than what he first envisioned. Real estate is not a game for those who lack patience.
Chase 11:57 a.m. Any more words on the Wheeler District?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Go to the public planning sessions next month (I'll provide an update on schedules, locations soon).
Guest 11:58 a.m. Are your tweets working to get the microwave array equipment pulled from the Pioneer building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Probably not.
Guest 11:58 a.m. Do you have an exciting story planned for Sunday's Oklahoman?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:59 a.m. Looking at Google Maps, there are a LOT of empty lots throughout Midtown. How many years before we see Midtown reach consistently dense massing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. Probably five to 10 years.
Guest 11:59 a.m. Deals are complicated, you've said that countless times. But what's the deal with OKC not seeing any highrise speculative Class A office space development? Deals like many other of our peer cities see?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. High rise speculative development isn't that common anymore in any city except for the big ones.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. All right. That's 90 minutes folks. I can't go two and a half hours again. Have a great weekend!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Today's chat involved 350 readers, with 87 comments and questions posted.
by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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