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OKC Central Chat transcript, June 14, 2013

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 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm •  Published: June 14, 2013

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.

Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. Good morning. We've had a pretty busy week!
Gary T 10:02 a.m. Good morning Steve and as always, Happy Friday to you. Sorry for the lengthy first question: The Maywood Apartments (139 units) probably will be fully leased before they open, The Hill is currently sold out and are building more (34 by your estimates in the 5/24/13 chat), the next phase of the Maywood Apartments (160 units) just received TIF money, so it will break ground before too long and the East BT apartments (250), Mosaic apartments (97) and Mercantile apartments (30) look very promising. That will be 710 home units in the next couple of years, not to mention the Level Apartments (228 units), Maywood Lofts (55), Brownstones (19), DD apartments (297), Block 42 (42) and Central Avenue Villas (30). As great as Native Roots is, what will it take for a larger grocery store to open down there? No, I do not have anything against NR, I am just curious if they can handle the demand of almost 1,400 units living within a four block distance, not to mention people who work DT and pick up groceries on their way home.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. I think Native Roots is doing a good job at adapting to the growing population and the differences between the customer base they have now and what they had in Norman. Here's a question: who's to say that as the population grows, Native Roots can't grow with it by moving into a larger location?
Im not Tyler 10:04 a.m. Good morning Steve. I'd like to have seen Fleetwood Mac back then too. This isn't meant to be critical or combative and I know you might not want to answer it. My question is taking into consideration the function of a reporter should be to gather information and relay that to his readers, how is it that you seem to know things that are in the making sometimes but don't report them? This mystery tower business is one example that comes to mind. This makes it seem like you're a little overly concerned with the interest of the businesses involved. Isn't it more important to pass on information than to cater to their desires or worry about upsetting them? My opinion is if you know something is happening, report it.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. OK, let's take these questions one at a time. First, I've literally shared everything I feel certain of when it comes to the Mystery Tower. And the mystery tower project, behind the scenes, has been in constant flux. The meal is still being cooked, and what you're asking me to do is ask what it tastes like. I can't tell you yet - the food is still in the oven. As for worrying about upsetting folks or powerful interests ... check with my editors on that. They routinely get calls from powerful interests who are not always thrilled with what they see as a too aggressive effort to get news to the readers. As for the mystery tower, purchase negotiations are nearing completion, some final details are being attended to, and it shouldn't be much longer until something is announced.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. Any word on what Steve Mason is going to do with his 8th Street properties?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Not yet.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. Word is the Rock Island Plow building will be sold to local developer to renovate it for apartments and retail. What have you heard?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. I've reported previously that Richard McKown was working with owners Avis and Phil Scaramucci to redevelop the Rock Island Plow Building. They've applied for historic tax credits. As of my last conversation, the building is not being eyed for apartments (unless this has changed in the past few weeks).
Gary T 10:11 a.m. It looks like the Downtown Airpark concert venue is starting to ramp up with the Lumineers, Motley Crue and Hinder, Sublime, Pennywise and Kottonmouth Kings lining up concerts there, all before October. In an interview with the gazette, Howard Pollack said there were two major country shoes and a latin music festival in the works as well as a 15,000 seat permanent amphitheatre planned for 2015/2016. What else have you heard about all of this?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. Pollack works hard, he's an ambitious guy. The permanent amphitheater will not be at the old Downtown Airpark, so I'm curious as to where he will be setting it up. As of a month or so ago, he didn't have a site yet.
Gary T 10:12 a.m. Which one do you think will have more of an impact on the surrounding areas if built out as promised: The Edge @ Midtown or the East BT Apartments?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. They are both game changes for each district. Once the two complexes open, they will permanently change the nature of each district.
Ray 10:12 a.m. What are your thoughts on PRISM and the NSA monitoring social network activity?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. I can't say because NSA is listening.
Matt 10:13 a.m. Best BBQ in Oklahoma City?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:13 a.m. I like Earl's, but I'm not an expert on BBQ.
Dr. Jo Harding 10:16 a.m. Steve, what do you think of PinLeague coming to OKC? This is a great start-up that will show others that OKC is turning into the next Silicon Valley/Austin.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. I hadn't heard about PinLeague until I read the column on The Oklahoman's business technology page about Danny Maloney, the founder of PinLeague, his accomplishments, and predictions about Oklahoma City becoming the next tech mecca. It sounds promising. We certainly have some great talent in this city, retained, no doubt, as a result of our city's investment in the urban core and efforts to be more accommodating to the young creative class.
Gary T is my homeboy 10:18 a.m. "Moore police spokesman Jeremy Lewis and Mayor Glenn Lewis said 17 arrests have been made on misdemeanor charges of looting in Moore since the May 20 EF5 tornado hit."
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. Sickening, isn't it?
Dr. Jo Harding 10:18 a.m. Steve, in a follow-up to last week, Taco Bell is not seriously your favorite Mexican food in town, is it? What is your favorite mexican restaurant?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. No. Really, I don't know. I don't think I have one.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. I saw the boulevard east end and I-40/235 connections are going out for bid next month. Any idea of the timeline for the bid and the start of construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. Soon.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. Saw an article in the Tulsa World that QT is planning to build 45-50 stores during its current fiscal year. Any chance any of those will be in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. No. I've talked to individuals directly connected to QT's real estate transactions and they confirm there is a longstanding promise between the owners of QT and Oklahoma 7-Eleven not to compete in each others' markets.
Anyone familiar with QT will attest to this being a bad deal for Oklahoma City, because QT's store are far bigger, far nicer and far more diverse than any operated by 7-Eleven. On Cue is attempting to create their own versions of QTs, but they're not quite the same.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. Do you think Crest has too much of a strangle hold on the local grocery market for someone like Reasor's to move in?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. No. Reasor's has been trying to establish a store in Edmond. Wal Mart had a stranglehold on Oklahoma City groceries, but no longer.
Dr. Jo Harding 10:22 a.m. Steve, when will Kevin Durant's restaurant be completed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. By fall.
Angad 10:23 a.m. What's the talk around the water cooler today?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Water. Oklahoma won big yesterday against Texas in the U.S. Supreme Court.
John 10:23 a.m. Any updates on if Enogex will be staying in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. Nothing official. But my sources tell me we have nothing to worry about.
Guest 10:24 a.m. Have you heard anything as to the plans for the Old Luster Home, the space that used to house Sage and the other original building on 2nd street across the lawn from the Deep Deuce apartment office?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. The Luster family still owns the old home - a gorgeous but worn out mansion in Deep Deuce. The space that was once Sage is set to open as the WSKY cigar lounge next month. Not sure what other space you're talking about.
Gary T 10:28 a.m. I asked this question over a month ago and I will ask it again: Any word on if Braum's at 17th and Classen will tear down and rebuild?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Such rumors live and die and live again on local chat boards. This one has endured for a long time. At this point, I'm not seeing any such development taking place yet.
Gary T 10:29 a.m. Refresh my memory: what are the owners of the Osler building going to do about parking since they are turning it into a hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. They will have parking east of the hotel, and I suspect there will a valet remote lot as well.
Gary T 10:30 a.m. Have you heard of an opening date on Back Door BBQ?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. They're working pretty hard on this latest addition to NW 23 - it shouldn't be much longer.
Gary T 10:33 a.m. Where is the Plaza District on resolving the parking issue?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. On a normal day, parking is tight, but not impossible, along the 16th Street Plaza District (I visited there twice this past week). Part of the challenge is getting folks to park in the lot west of the Lyric Children's Theater. We're looking at creative solutions, instead of more asphalt, as the task ahead for this vibrant pocket of town.
CWJ 10:35 a.m. Good morning Steve! On what sort of timeline do you predict an announcement on the location of the GE global research center? I know multiple sites are under consideration in both OKC and Norman, do you have any idea where those sites are and if the sites in OKC are close in proximity to downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. The last I heard, the competition behind the scenes between Norman and Oklahoma City is pretty fierce. Beyond that, I can't imagine this going on into 2014.
Ray 10:36 a.m. Has the city decided who will design/build the residential units on top of the parking garage on Main? I know construction has started, but I haven't heard if they have made a decision.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. I did an update a few weeks ago - the effort to attract a developer to do housing atop the garage was unsuccessful.
Ray 10:36 a.m. Any word on the next meeting for the Central Park?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. No.
CWJ 10:37 a.m. Favorite dance craze: Disco, Salsa or Macarena?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Seriously? Really? Go ask this during Darnell Mayberry's next chat.
Angad 10:38 a.m. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Chocolate.
Larry 10:38 a.m. So, I'm confused. Is there a waffle house coming into town or isn't there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. It's just a joke.
George 10:39 a.m. Steve, did you ever decide if you agreed or disagreed with connecting the proposed bricktown garage with the downtown underground?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. I neither agree or disagree with it - I do think the project should be discussed and people should be informed about whether or not this will really interfere with future rail development and the likelihood for the different rail options actually becoming a reality.
Dr. Jo Harding 10:41 a.m. Your suspicion was wrong, Steve. Waffle House today, Waffle House tomorrow, Waffle House FOREVER!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. Good to hear. So Tyler, when you did you get your doctorate and change your name?
BethanySooner 10:41 a.m. Steve, you mentioned the area around Robert S Kerr and Hudson as a potential tower location. Is this site still in play regarding a probable future tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Is it in play? I won't go that far. But consider this: let's say that the Enogex midstream deal does result in a new tower being built in downtown Oklahoma City. What are the possibilities that they would want to build immediately west of the garage currently used by their sister company OG&E and the county and be just a block away from OG&E? The block could easily be redeveloped...
Nick 10:45 a.m. Good morning, Steve! What a week for downtown news!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Yes indeed. So why are some folks asking about Mexican food, dance preferences, ice cream and BBQ? Weird, odd people.
George 10:45 a.m. You referenced on twitter earlier this week how crazy things have been behind the scenes in downtown okc, and I don't want to sound greedy, but is there more development in "the pipeline" for downtown okc than what you reported on this week? If so, any hits as to what or where these projects may be?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. Well, on my blog yesterday I reported that Jeannette Smith is stepping down as director of the Bricktown Association. I've also reported the House of Bedlam project in Bricktown is going to be bigger than first planned. I've shown how extensive the east Bricktown project will be. We've seen a major potential split begin on whether to build a large conference hotel. We now know a Hyatt Place may be in the works for the east Bricktown project. Is there more coming? You bet. I might have a surprise in tomorrow's Oklahoman.
Sean 10:48 a.m. East bricktown development looks awesome, any chance you could put some more renderings up on okccentral?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. You bet. I'll do it after this chat is over.
BethanySooner 10:49 a.m. After mentioning Maywood apartments phase II, and Level West and East, you said that there were still 2 other housing projects for Deep Deuce. Is one of those two the Brownstone flats or is there something even in addition to that? Also, I'm not quite sure what the northern boundary exactly is for DD. Could you enlighten me?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. Yes on the Brownstone flats. There is a lot of confusion over the place name for this area... is it Maywood or Deep Deuce? It's certainly not Triangle - an early attempt by developers at rechristening the area before they split up. And it's not really the Flat Iron district...
BethanySooner 10:52 a.m. Several months ago you mentioned two 'rides' coming to Bricktown. Are these still in the works?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. The Dave & Buster's entertainment center being developed by Chris Johnson is one of those rides. There's still one or two more potentially in the works...
Cathy 10:54 a.m. Steve, what type of retail or restaurant do you think would work best at the base of the midtown edge development?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. I'll be writing a blog on this next week - but yeah, I do have some thoughts.
Mick 10:54 a.m. Any update on the boulevard?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. A public hearing on the matter was postponed last month due to the tornadoes. I'm not aware of whether it has been rescheduled.
BethanySooner 10:55 a.m. Are you confident that Don Karchmer and the transit folks will find a way to make this parking garage project happen?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. Karchmer is indicating he's pretty willing to do what he can to address the transit concerns. The folks who are actual decision makers on transit say they're willing to talk as well. There are few other voices on the transit side that are pretty loud and were immediately opposed to this happening, but their actual influence is questionable according to those I've talked to.
Chris H 10:57 a.m. Myself and a friend are moving to OKC in late August. I like the fact that OKC is an expanding and growing city. Keep up the development!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. Very cool!
Guest 10:58 a.m. Now that sandridge seems to be in a bit of an awkward situation, have you heard of any possible plans for them selling their lots on broadway and/or the grassy area by the train tracks?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. No not yet.
James 10:58 a.m. If you were a betting man, would you put money on GE ending up in okc or norman?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. That's a difficult bet to make. Which wins out - millions of incentive dollars in the control of Oklahoma City, or David Boren? Really, genuinely, I can't call this one. Boren's influence, brilliance and power is worth millions.
BethanySooner 10:59 a.m. Last week you mentioned that you were surprised that no one was asking more questions about the future development of East Bricktown. Well I'm asking. We know about the apartments and some hotels. What don't we know? By the way, I really appreciated all your stories on development this week. Very exciting!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. East Bricktown, 2025. I'm taking the new streetcar from the new GE Energy Research Laboratory in the Health Sciences Center to enjoy an afternoon in Bricktown. As the streetcar makes its way to Lincoln and Sheridan, I see several hundred apartments, a vibrant retail corridor and a Hyatt Place hotel on the north side of Sheridan stretching all the way back to Russell Perry Avenue. Immediately to the south of Sheridan at Lincoln, I see two hotels, and further west I see a huge entertainment complex anchored by a Wormy Dog Saloon that is far bigger than its original Bricktown home. to the west of the entertainment complex I see four more hotels, ending with the Hampton Inn. One block south, the old RedHawks parking lot has been replaced by a garage and a mixed-use development. And to the north I see Deep Deuce, a fully developed mixed-use urban neighborhood that has a seamless connection to Bricktown.
Sadly for Tyler/Dr. Jo, there is not a single Waffle House in sight.
I am also not Tyler 11:05 a.m. What kind of a person asks questions about Waffle Houses?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Tyler.
Guest 11:05 a.m. You reported that Phase II of the Maywood Lofts would start construction this summer in your recent write-up. But they haven't even applied for review yet. Do you think this project actually starts this summer?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. Yep.
Guest 11:06 a.m. After seeing the success of the chef relief restaurant at the Myriad Gardens restaurant I realized how awesome that space really is. Not just any concept is going to work in their, it needs to be something special. What would you like to see go in their and do you think Danny Bowein could be convinced to set up something a little more permanent in there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I think a Bowein restaurant would rock in that space. It needs a superstar venue. He could pull it off.
Guest 11:06 a.m. Have you tried Hillbillies? Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. It's not Tex Mex or burgers!
It's a welcome change to downtown's culinary scene. I visited Hillbillies during opening week and loved it.
Cathy 11:07 a.m. I saw on twitter you went to the Mule with your sons, did they like and what do they think of the plaza district as a whole?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Yeah, they loved it. I loved it. The Mule is a great anchor for the Plaza District. The neighborhood is addressing a vital need in our community - a home for our young creative class.
Nick 11:08 a.m. Steve, were you disappointed with what Chris Johnson brought to Tuesday's meeting? What deal fell through for the west lot that he owns?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Most would say what Johnson is hoping to do on the east parcel is better than what he originally had clearance to do. As of for the curve, be patient - I suspect we will see either a hotel or housing built on that spot instead of a parking lot.
Im not Tyler 11:10 a.m. Fair enough on most of your points, but you do know enough to report some high points without a lot of details if you wanted. Such as who the company is. Correct?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. Yes and no. My answer in March would be different than what it is today. The soup isn't done cooking yet. If you want speculation and gossip, there are other sources for that.
Nick 11:12 a.m. CHK owns a fair bit of land just east of the downtown airpark site. Do you know if GE is considering this site for their research center?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. Nope. I've heard no such thing.
Guest 11:12 a.m. Have you heard anything about a hotel being built on the canal in the empty lot across from Mickey Mantels. Has that land been sold or is it the same developer going back to the same idea as before?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. That is the property that I was just mentioning in my post about Chris Johnson.
Chris 11:13 a.m. Steve I know you always have your ear to the ground, are people who have sway downtown saying all of these smaller hotel projects weakening the need for a large convention center hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. It's a concern?
Gary T 11:13 a.m. Any chance Market C will reopen when the new Good Egg Dining Group offices open?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Probably not. I'm not sure the site worked well enough with it's scarce parking.
anonymous 11:13 a.m. Steve, I too recently heard that the Rock Island building will have an announcement soon. Possible Restaurant on bottom floor and apartments in top floor, mix-use in middle floors. I think some things have changed in the last couple of weeks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. It's possible.
Waffleton 11:14 a.m. Whats the latest on the street car and DT park? There has not been much talk lately on MAPS3 projects other than the CC.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. They're both still in design phase.
anonymous 11:15 a.m. Steve, have you heard anything about the Olser Building/ Hotel being renamed to the Ambassador Hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Yep. I reported that two months ago.
ChrisH 11:15 a.m. I'm moving to OKC in the last week of August and I LOVE seeing all the developments and improvements in the city
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Great!
Robert 11:17 a.m. Steve, do you see the Mystery Tower as significant in size or something on a smaller scale (say ten to fifteen stories)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Ten stories would be much to get excited, eh?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Yep. I saw that.
Nick 11:17 a.m. Steve, whatever happened to the new exit off I-235 to 10th St. Is this ever going to happen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. It's one of the many updates I have on my list yet to do.
LarryS 11:17 a.m. Steve, any idea for potential development of the Villa Teresa School site in Midtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Talks are going on behind the scenes. That's all I can tell you right now.
Gary T 11:18 a.m. When asked what your favorite BBQ is, tell everyone Iron Starr, for Mexican, say Iguana. I don't think many people will argue with either of those and they will leave you alone...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. OK.
Chris G 11:18 a.m. Steve, I understand and appreciate your journalistic approach to the dissemination of accurate information. I also understand the concepts of off the record discussions, trust with your sources, and credibility with your readers. I regret that many of my fellow citizens do not. Thank you for what you do and how you do it!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Thanks Chris! I understand why the questions are out there.
Chris 11:19 a.m. Steve, I know you have been at the Oklahoman for a while now, and okc most of your life. Would you say the past 5 years have been the most exciting time to be in okc and especially work as a business reporter for the Oklahoman in your lifetime?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. I'm very fortunate to have this beat. Your question has me caught off guard. Not sure how to answer it. Yes, the beat is exciting. But also please remember, the past five years in the newspaper industry has been stressful, sad and scary. I've seen good, talented friends lose their jobs, I've seen people, including myself, working harder and longer hours than ever before taking on more and more responsibilities, and we're constantly in a state of change. Is it exciting? At times. But it's also an exhausting non-stop tap dance.
LarryS 11:22 a.m. What can we do to get QuickTrip in OKC? PLEASE PLEASE!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Figure out how to broker a corporate takeover of QT or Oklahoma 7-Eleven so the handshake agreement can disappear.
Brian 11:23 a.m. Okay, so I'm a single guy looking for a single guy sized house near downtown, midtown or the rise. I can't afford the neighborhoods that everyone knows about so I have to be ahead of the curve. Where am I looking?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. NE 18 and Walnut. But be prepared for all the challenges and risks that go with being an urban pioneer in a transitional neighborhood. The rewards, however, can be great - just ask Mesta Park, Paseo, Lincoln Heights and the MidTown SoSA/Cottage District.
James 11:25 a.m. What would you say are the chances Oklahoma reforms its liquor laws within the next 5 years?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Pretty good. The corporate buy-out of Premium Beers changed the dynamics a bit, but you still have the Naifeh family factor.
James 11:25 a.m. Which of the projects you reported on this week are you most excited about?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. The one I've yet to report.
Tom 11:26 a.m. What industries or parts of town aren't receiving the capital investment that they should, why is that, and why should investors consider them?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. I don't know how to answer that. It's a good question to ponder.
jimmy 11:26 a.m. what will happen with NH plaza?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Don't be surprised if Chesapeake sells it to another developer.
Brian 11:27 a.m. Best odds....Trader Joes, Costco IKEA?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Trader Joes, followed by Costco. Trader Joe's is looking in the market now, Costco isn't far behind.
George 11:27 a.m. Is Eric Wegner elected or appointed? If appointed who appoints him?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. Eric Wenger is an employee hired by City Manager Jim Couch, who is appointed by the city council.
jimmy 11:28 a.m. when will the LULU lemon in classen curve open? Or the drum room restaurant?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I don't know. I've not been following that story.
Dr. Jo Harding 11:28 a.m. Steve, do you think that the waffle house joke actually adds some sort of sick comradery to the people who enjoy this chat? It's kind of 'our thing.....'Like if you don't know about waffle house, what do you know? Who are you? You're pretty much a nobody!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. At the risk of getting a reprimand from the boss, I'm going to say for the first time in my career to a reader": "You're weird."
Barry from Guthrie 11:29 a.m. I'm glad Texas won't get our water. Get your own water, arrogant Texans.
Nick 11:29 a.m. So Enogex is not the Mystery Tower...?
George 11:29 a.m. If a mystery tower were to create a lot of new vacant space downtown, how quickly do you think it could reabsorbed?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I don't think it will.
Will 11:29 a.m. Thoughts on the newly created Windsor District off NW 23rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. I'm excited for the possibility. That's a neighborhood that has a good foundation, good residents, and good potential.
anonymous 11:30 a.m. In the case of The City of OKC vs. The Brewers for the Santa Fe Station, how long does it usually take for eminent domain to be completed? Do you foresee the city getting started on the Santa Fe Station quickly after it takes control of the property?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Don't be surprised if the city gets control of the property by fall.
Guest 11:31 a.m. Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but I cannot be the only one who is tired of seeing all these empty fields around midtown. How much longer before we hear something about this? something has to be brewing.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. Be patient.
jimmy 11:31 a.m. is there a restuarant in the building on 16th and classen?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. No. And what a great building that is - the original Herman's Seafood. It was a landmark for many, many years.
George 11:31 a.m. Do you think Mick will run for mayor again?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I'm hearing he might... but he's not talking yet.
Nick 11:32 a.m. Is a parking structure needed or coming to Midtown soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. One is about to be built at NW 10 and Broadway.
OKC Midtowner 11:32 a.m. I saw that a group called "Razzle Club" bought an abandoned property on 8th St near Broadway, across from AEI Corporation. What's going on here?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. I don't know.
George 11:32 a.m. What are the business communities feelings about Shadid as mayor?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Feelings? Oh, gosh. Feelings? How do I say this? Do you ever turn on KTOK in the morning and you end up hearing Glen Beck? Describe his feelings for President Obama.
I think that pretty much will answer your question.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Any more news on the Peake gas station at nw 50th and western?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. Chesapeake lost in its effort to expand the development site.
Chris 11:34 a.m. What did David Box call to talk about this week?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Some business involving Box Entertainment.
Nick 11:35 a.m. Why did ASTEC decide on a parcel of land in one of the worst areas of OKC for their new school?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Because that's how worst areas change for the better.
Chris 11:36 a.m. What has been your favorite new restaurant to open up in okc within the last 2 years? What type of cuisine would you like to see come to town next?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. I love Foodies, Kitchen No 324 and Hillbillies. I'd love to see a real NY-style Jewish deli in Oklahoma City.
Nick 11:37 a.m. Regarding the new CC hotel funding situation, did the city just put off their study while the Alliance conducts one to see what's needed or are they truly not interested in funding such a hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. There's a split in the council on this....
Chris 11:37 a.m. I saw the article in the WSJ about Wall Street being a little unsure about investing in Aubrey's new company with his conditions. This seems like a very interesting topic, is the Oklahoman going to have a similar or follow up report on this soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. I know our energy guys are covering what's going on with his new company - I don't know specifically what their next story is.
Jane 11:38 a.m. Who has been sniffing around Nichols Hills plaza?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. A lot of folks.
anonymous 11:38 a.m. What will it take for the city to finally expand the Bricktown Canal? Even if its a small extension that wraps between the movie theater and Centennial Building, down to the railroad track and reconnects to the west end of the current section be Chelino's... I imagine it would make the parking lot south of the U-hual Building a lot more valuable, thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:39 a.m. I suspect it will require a different person as mayor for a canal expansion to take place. Mick Cornett quickly killed efforts to have it included with MAPS 3.
Rick 11:39 a.m. Good morning, Steve. I know that we typically like to discuss positive development in the Oklahoma City area - where new development is exciting and imminent. But I have a different question. Where, in the next 10 years, do you see the city experiencing decline? Or continuing to decline where decline is already happening?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. In 20 years I worry about all the cookie-cutter neighborhoods being built in far northwest Oklahoma City. The homes and neighborhoods all look so much alike, they're surrounded by soulless big box strip shopping centers, they're not walkable, and at some point the newness will wear off, the Edmond and Deer Creek school districts will experience the same reality that has hit Putnam City, and people will gravitate away - probably to the city's core.
Nick 11:41 a.m. What's the latest on Karchmer's proposal for BT parking? Or is this going to be a drawn out affair while the city continues to bicker about what they're going to do with trains?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Discussions are ongoing.
jimmy 11:41 a.m. how much do u blame I. M. Pei for the destruction of downtown okc?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:42 a.m. Very little. He had no power over the matter. It was the people who hired him who clear-cut downtown. And by the way, they deviated form his recommendations several times.
Dr. Jo Harding 11:43 a.m. Do you recognize my name, Steve?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. Yes. Early on I associated you with a lot of wind....
Jerry Seinfeld 11:44 a.m. What is the DEAL with traffic in Edmond?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Yeah!? What is the deal with Edmond traffic?
Dr Washburn 11:44 a.m. Did the OCCUPY OKC movement actually accomplish anything productive?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Not to my knowledge. I'm not sure they ever stated what their objective was.
Jane 11:45 a.m. There were reports a while back about an out of state, decently sized company thinking about relocating to the okc area. Is there still any chance to this or is this a no go?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. Yes.
Kyle 11:45 a.m. Is BancFirst looking for new space?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I don't know.
Guest 11:45 a.m. Lots of construction in and around the downtown area. We have the new parking garage, elementary school, 4 hotels, 3 apartment complexes and expansion of Oklahoma River under I-40 all underway. Soon they'll be starting on the Crosstown, Downtown Park, Boathouses, Police Headquarter and Convention Center. Are city leaders from around the country looking at OKC and asking "How are you doing all of this?"
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Yes. All the time.
Kyle 11:46 a.m. Think you will be in the newsroom more once the Oklahoman moves back downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. Probably.
Jerry Seinfeld 11:46 a.m. So what exactly did you say to the kid at Johnnie's?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. "Please don't subject me anymore to the trainee." It was wrong, and I apologized. I fessed up to make a point that we're probably all a bit frazzled and need to be extra vigilant to be nice to each other as we try to recover emotionally from these past few weeks.
Nick 11:48 a.m. Steve, can you share if the Mystery Tower on the Stage Center site is going to be solely for a company's headquarters or if it's going to have more mixed use (i.e. hotel/housing, retail, class A office space)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. There will be office space.
Kyle 11:48 a.m. Whats next for Richard McKown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Level West Apartments.
Rick 11:49 a.m. What affect do you think the new Goodwill site will have on the area surrounding 10th and Penn? Say, the residential areas north of it? Is any development better than blight or empty lots? Or could this development bring undesirable elements to the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. You're talking about the new Salvation Army complex. I think it will be a positive over what was there (the flea market) before.
Nick 11:50 a.m. I thought I saw somewhere that AHHM (Wade Scaramucci's architecture firm) is opening an office in OKC. Is that true?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Yeah, it's true.
OCU alum 11:50 a.m. when does OCU plan to have the new law school building ready? classes for 2013 or start of 2014?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I think 2014
Dr. Jo Harding 11:50 a.m. Who did you vote for in the 2012 Presidential Election?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Pat Paulson.
Nick 11:51 a.m. The people that own Level also own the lot to the north of the Calvary Baptist Church. Is there a third residential project planned for that lot?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Yep. Possibly.
Guest 11:51 a.m. When do you think we'll see Mosaic start construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. By fall.
Jane 11:51 a.m. Does Larry Nichols think the new convention center needs to be complimented with a new full service hotel?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. I sense he's eager to see the results of the marketing study.
Nick 11:51 a.m. Is Jim Cowan even interested in heading the BT Association again? What are his thoughts on housing above the ground floor retail? If he's not strongly in favor of it, then I say we go with Paul R.'s idea from Twitter and offer the spot to Sid Burgess...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. You don't want it Nick?
Guest 11:52 a.m. What do you see happening to the old "Woodson" School? I read that maybe Langston University may purchase it. I can't imagine how much it would cost to refurbish the old place. Still, it's a cool looking building.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. I don't know. I love the idea of it becoming a Langston branch campus. But the challenges to overcome, including money, are pretty daunting.
Guest 11:52 a.m. Do you see additional Brownstones being built? I drove by that area yesterday and still see a lot of For Sale signs up. In addition, it looks like some of the sides of the buildings have paint peeling off which makes me wonder about the quality of these homes. For a $400,000 or more asking price, I would hope that the paint on the side of the building wouldn't be peeling off.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Yes. Kinda sorta.
Chris 11:52 a.m. I don't know how I feel about Dave and Buster's in bricktown. Thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. Well, it won't be Dave & Buster's, but similar. It should be an asset.
Nick 11:53 a.m. Is Chris Johnson actually proposing a Bricktown Dave and Buster's or just a similarly themed concept? His most recent 2 story proposal was extremely underwhelming.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. It's a similar theme.
Nick 11:53 a.m. What is P180 next streets to be revamped?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. It should be starting soon. I'll add this to my update list.
Jane 11:54 a.m. Steve, I love these chats. Please don't log off at 11:00!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Yeah, you said this an hour ago and it's taken me an hour to catch up!
Nick 11:54 a.m. Tom Ward might need to give Aubrey a call and see what they can work out because it doesn't look like he's going to be retained at SandRidge. What do you think happens to the company?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I don't know...
KB 11:54 a.m. Boulevard Public Meeting is 18 June:
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. Thanks KB!
Gary Ts friend 11:55 a.m. DON'T LET THIS CHAT END TODAY STEVE! KEEP IT GOING!!!!!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. It's about to end.
guest 11:55 a.m. On GE - it all depends if they want to be near the intellectual property of OU or the client base in OKC. I'm leaning Norman for what a guest comment is worth
Nick 11:55 a.m. I'm not sure I realized that Boren has such sway... How badly does he want the research center in Norman?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Badly
Guest 11:56 a.m. Steve, have you taking a tour of the Aloft Hotel yet? If so, what did you think? I saw that the folks at Downtown OKC toured the property and posted a ton of pictures and it looks like a cool concept.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Not yet... I saw the photos. It looks great.
James 11:56 a.m. Do you think the core to shore park will actually catalyze solid development south of the current business district?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Not on its own... but with some other investments? Yeah.
Nick 11:57 a.m. Will the hotel/housing on the curved canal lot, will it be built by Chris Johnson or someone else that will deliver the kind of project that corner deserves?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. It would be another developer if it happens.
Luke 11:57 a.m. American Indian cultural center... wtf is going on over there.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Your state legislators at work. Ask them.
Nick 11:57 a.m. So are you still not worried about mystery tower or what is going? Your last response to i'm not tyler was confusing...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I am not worried at all.
Jen 11:57 a.m. What did/do you find most frustrating about okctalk?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. The rush to take one comment some members don't like and turn it into a big "war." Let's reverse the comment I made that got everyone so upset so it would have read rushing to judgment without having any facts is the upside of online message boards.
Really? I'm supposed to think that?
Sigh. Pete is a great guy. He operates a good site. But there are folks on there with agendas and hidden identities who don't appreciate the questions I ask, the stories I cover, and they're quite happy to attack, attack, attack knowing I can't fully respond and that I'm not anonymous. So I've withdrawn from participating in the forum.
Alex 12:01 p.m. If you were in your mid 20's and moving to okc in mid September, which development would you most want to live in?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Guardian Garage.
Nick 12:01 p.m. When you say it shouldn't be much longer on the mystery tower announcement, at what date would you be surprised if we still haven't heard anything about it?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. I'd be extremely surprised if goes beyond September 1.
LarryS 12:01 p.m. Steve, when can we expect the Native American Cultural Center to re-start/finish construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. I don't know.
Nick 12:02 p.m. What are you hearing about a Ruth Chris's to Classen Curve? And does another OKC developer share the vision for NH Plaza that Aubrey did?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. It's a rumor.
Craig 12:02 p.m. So did Ben Allen's voice convince you to spill some mystery tower details?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. It came close.
Craig 12:02 p.m. If the downtown elementary is a success, is there plan for a middle school? maybe even a new high school?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. No, not at this time.
Lackmeyer Fan 12:02 p.m. I think Lackmeyer should run for mayor!!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gary T 12:03 p.m. How work is going on the Mediterranean restaurant on 23rd and Harvey?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. They're working on it.
Craig 12:03 p.m. For a note on next week's chat, what do you want to talk about?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. I don't know. Just trying to finish this one.
Jane 12:03 p.m. Where are you chatting from today?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. Haven't gotten to leave the house yet!
JET 12:03 p.m. Steve, Do you think an REI would fit into the OKC scene. Perhaps near the river?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. I haven't really thought about that.
Guest 12:04 p.m. How's The Rise coming along? Will the city lower the speed limit on 23rd street, uptown district soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. They've started work. I'm not aware of the speed limit being dropped, but that might not be a bad idea.
Jane 12:04 p.m. Are you going to have a big story in Sunday's Oklahoman?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. No.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. Yes.
Craig 12:05 p.m. I know schools are a huge factor when it comes to deciding where families are going to live. Do you see millennials sticking around the downtown area once their children reach school age?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:05 p.m. Yes.
Brian 12:05 p.m. Isn't the point of a business to make money? If so, then why the agreement between QT and 7-Eleven. Let them compete against each other. Both can coexist.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:05 p.m. It's old school
Eric 12:05 p.m. Steve what would it take to get you to move from Edmond to a street south of 23rd?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:06 p.m. I don't live in Edmond. I live in northwest Oklahoma City. Honestly? I chose where I live because there was no prospect of a downtown charter elementary at the time, and I didn't like what I saw on the OKC school board, and didn't trust them to be in charge of my children's education.
Guest 12:06 p.m. In reference to your IM Pei comment. Do you think this control issue is being repeated with the engineer(s)takeover at the City.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:06 p.m. Do you?
Nick 12:06 p.m. Speaking of, Century Center work hasn't exactly kicked into high gear lately...
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. There have been some delays. But I'm not aware of any changes in the plan.
Kokopelli 12:07 p.m. According to the renderings that have been posted the DOK is going to have an electronic display on their new downtown headquarters. What would it take to get a counter display that showed the number of CNG vehicles in American. Wouldn't think DOK would have any trouble finding a sponsor for such a sign.
Lackmeyer Fan 12:07 p.m. What is this mystery tower everyone is referencing?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. It's a cell phone tower.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. Maybe.
Eric 12:08 p.m. Steve, who do I need to write a letter to or call about those dinky trees by the ball park? OKCBeautiful if you are reading this, it would be a great new project to take on!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. RedHawks, Tom Anderson at the city manager's office, and councilman John Pettis.
Eric 12:08 p.m. Restaurants are great, but we need some bars to give okc night life a much needed jolt. If you were to open up such an establishment where would you put it? Also can't say bricktown
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. Farmers Market district.
Guest 12:09 p.m. Good luck trying to keep Sid in OKC
Brian 12:09 p.m. What is it going to take for some decent liquor laws? It's ridiculous I can't go buy a cold six pack of Newcastle.
Guest 12:09 p.m. Why is the Aloft Hotel taking so damn long and when will it be 100% finished?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:09 p.m. I explained this at OKC Central blog. Search aloft.
Lackmeyer Fan 12:09 p.m. What is the most frustrating thing about this chat?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:09 p.m. The length...
Lackmeyer Fan 12:09 p.m. Nice sarcasm, steve. Have you ever thought about going into stand-up??
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. Nope. I'd make even less money.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:10 p.m. Folks, I'm outta here! Be sure to catch next week's show!
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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