OKC Central Chat transcript, March 22, 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.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: March 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm •  Published: March 22, 2013
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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.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Good morning everybody!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. I can't go two hours today. So please be mindful of the following....
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Questions and comments can be posted starting at 9:30 a.m. at the NewsOK Business page, with the chat starting at 10 a.m. Those who log in at 9:30 a.m. are the ones who see their questions and comments appear first. Others who log in at 10 a.m. or later will see their questions and comments post with any where from a 10-minute to a half-hour delay.
Sorry. That’s the way this thing works.
I don’t typically censor questions unless they involve personal attacks or are otherwise inappropriate. When the chats go into overtime, I skip questions that were already posted.
And that leads me to a request – please don’t re-post questions unless you are absolutely uncertain that your first attempt was logged in. Again, the later you post, the longer the wait.
Also, while I appreciate the interest in the so called “mystery tower,” please understand, I won’t be breaking this story within a live chat. It’s just not going to happen!
I’m not saying don’t ask questions, but please understand, at this point I have nothing to new to share that I haven’t already provided to readers.

Tyler 10:02 a.m. Steve, this is Tyler from last week. Do you remember me?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. Nope. Last week is a blur.
Tyler 10:02 a.m. Steve, what do you think of OSU's PITIFUL performance yesterday in the NCAA tournament?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. I wasn’t able to watch. I was cranking out stories from 9 a.m. to midnight yesterday.
Kyle 10:02 a.m. Have there been any renderings submitted of the updates to the police station and courthouse design?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. Yes! I had a story with new renderings in today's Oklahoman.
OKCNick 10:03 a.m. Anyone decide to start an effort to save the Gold Dome yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. I believe so. I'll try to do an update on this next week.
Chad 10:03 a.m. Hi Steve. Has David Box submitted the demolition request for the Gold Dome to the Urban Design Committee?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. Not to my knowledge.
Dennis Wells 10:04 a.m. Many city newspapers have regular features about local architecture and design… The Oklahoman only covers it sporadically, or as an aside to a business story. What would be needed for the Oklahoman to publish a regular, local design critique?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. Dennis, I briefly attempted to find a way to have a rotating list of architects perform such a critique. But anyone familiar with architectural reviewers know that’s not the same thing. The truth is the newspaper architectural critic is a vanishing species, with fewer and fewer ongoing features as the industry continues to deal with cutbacks and the demand to evolve. I agree – it would be great if we had an architecture critic in Oklahoma City. For now, you’ll have to endure my efforts to at least keep architecture in the spotlight as part of my coverage. Now, that having been said, The Oklahoman is seeking reader feedback (you can read about it on my blog, www.okccentral.com). If enough readers indicated they want to see this sort of feature, who's to say it can't be done?
Dennis Wells 10:05 a.m. What are some of the changes the Oklahoman will be making to maintain vitality during the transition to digital media?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. I think that Digital Managing Editor Alan Herzberger and his crew are among the best in the country. NewsOK is recognized nationwide for its innovation and constant effort to adapt and respond to the rapidly changing medium. Look at the site today - it features some great new "widgets" you weren't seeing last week. As a reporter, I'm doing many things I didn't do 20 years ago; social media, blogging, photos, video, and yes, this live chat.
OKCNick 10:08 a.m. Do you think that with new restaurant development in the CBD (namely Kitchen 324) that we could potentially see some bars pop up in that area of town? Maybe something a little higher class than Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Good, good question.... and I don't know the answer. But the development community follows these chats. I'm sure this question will catch their attention.
Chad 10:09 a.m. With the plans for a new police station moving forward, has there been any more discussion of what to do with the current facility?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:15 a.m. The current police headquarters and court will be razed once the new buildings are completed. The big question is what will happen with the original 1937 police headquarters and jail, which has been mothballed for several years. The building was originally slated for demolition back in the late 1990s when the jail was shut down and operations were merged with the county jail. But a funding shortfall put that plan on hold. An internal debate is underway at City Hall. I don't sense the Oklahoma City Police Department is eager to keep the structure standing, and it's my understanding police administration wants to see it come down. It is in pretty bad shape, with fencing surrounding the structure due to falling debris.
But others question how the city can encourage private property owners to save historic buildings if it proceeds with doing so itself (the police building is part of the original WPA Civic Center project). Developer Marva Ellard submitted a proposal to redevelop the property, but it seems to be caught up in the debate and confusion over how to proceed.
As an aside, during a recent online webinar, Planning Director Russell Claus showed how a parking garage on the site, if done in conjunction with the owners of the many surface parking lots in the area, could trigger a huge redevelopment of the entire west fringe of downtown.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. You can read more about this in my story in today's Oklahoman.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. Good morning Steve! With Brianna Bailey coming over from the Journal Record, have you thought about taking a week off and having her take a stab at the chat?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. I can see if she'll go for that ....
Nick 10:17 a.m. Good morning Steve! Hope you're more rested for this week's chat.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:17 a.m. Not really!
Gary T 10:17 a.m. With all the housing going in downtown, would the elementary school be able to add floors to make it a full K-12 school? If not, what is the plan to add a middle school/high school when it is needed? Would it happen in the C2S area? Would Emerson school fill that void?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:18 a.m. I keep hearing this question, and I'm not sure where the confusion is arising (not from you necessarily, but others seem to think this is the plan). A high school is a very different proposition from an elementary school. The downtown residential population will have to expand dramatically, I suspect, especially in terms of families, for this discussion to take place.
OKCNick 10:19 a.m. Are there plans to put in shopping storefronts in the new development where the Stewart Metal buildings currently are? It seems to me that Bricktown could really use more shopping and less bars/restaurants.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:19 a.m. Yes. Mixed use retail is part of the plan for the east Bricktown development.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. When the renderings for the whitewater rafting course were released, there was a larger building to the north of the boathouses that was supposed to be for meeting space, offices locker rooms and a restaurant and a parking garage. When do you see something like that breaking ground? 3 years? 5 years?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Sooner. I think that project is scheduled to take off in the next couple of years. I may do a column on this topic for Tuesday.
Nick 10:20 a.m. What should we make of Harold Hamm's divorce proceedings? Any potential effects on Continental that have you worried?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. The people I've talked to say the Reuters story missed some key details and all in all was an overreach. They certainly failed to mention that the Hamms have had a history of going through divorce filings.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. How many more homes are being built on The Hill? Are more expected to start once those are completed and sold?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. Another wave of construction was recently approved by the Urban Renewal Authority, so we'll be seeing, if I recall correctly, at least another dozen with more to come. The Hill is finally going on some good momentum.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. There are several empty green spaces in the Deep Deuce apartment areas. Specifically, I am talking about a large area on the north side of 1st between Central and Russell M Perry and north of that, just east of the pool. Are those for run off or are they owned by someone else entirely with no plans to build on them?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. Some of the lots are privately owned, others are owned by Urban Renewal, and then a string of them running north and south are owned by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The ODOT land will never be redeveloped - it's a drainage easement. The rest of the land is currently in play and I expect we will hear a couple of projects to be announced in the near future.
Gary T 10:24 a.m. Any updated on any of Steve Mason's projects? I know he bought a space in the Plaza district and a much larger property east of Broadway on 8th street.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. Yes, I'm overdue for a story on the Plaza District. I've done some interviews. It's coming.
BethanySooner 10:25 a.m. Good morning Steve. In your article about the new police headquarters building, Russell Claus spoke of the idea of erecting structured parking at the current site once the building has been demolished thereby eliminating/lessening the need for the vast amounts of surface parking in the area. What do you think the chances are of this happening since they are constructing a garage down the street with one possibly planned for Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. It can be done. If not through the remaining bonding capacity with the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, then certainly though an upcoming bond election that will likely take place in the next couple of years. It just needs someone at City Hall to champion the plan (a council representative).
Gary T 10:26 a.m. I remember hearing about some structural work going on at the Rock Island Plow building in Bricktown. Any idea when we will see any other work done on that building? I feel like that is the last real eyesore in bricktown with no plan for it.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. There is no real plan announced for the Rock Island Plow Building, but that doesn't mean there is no plan. Work is going on behind the scenes. It won't be easy or quick.
Punchy 10:27 a.m. Are there any movies shooting in the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. It seems like we have more and more film crews in town these days. But I'm not aware of any activity currently.
OKCNick 10:28 a.m. Any word on the Zoo Amphitheater? I was trying to find some info online about what concerts they are having this summer to no avail. Is the new management company totally dropping the ball?? Or is the old management holding up the show?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. I don't know.
Dan 10:28 a.m. Steve, with the passing of John Belt, who do you see taking the reigns on the Paseo district? I've heard that he was very particular when it came to the types of businesses that would open there. Do you see this changing?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Joy Reed Belt, John Belt's widow, shares his passion and enthusiasm, and they had many good friends who can help keep his dream alive. John wasn't one to not have a plan - especially when it came to Paseo. Give Joy a chance to grieve, and I'm sure we'll hear more at a later time.
Reginald Fairfield 10:30 a.m. How have the Thunder impacted local business?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Downtown hotels, in my observation, have been the biggest beneficiaries. Restaurants have done well too. The overall impact to the city, meanwhile, is beyond measurement. It's a game changer.
BethanySooner 10:31 a.m. What if the Marion building is too far gone for rehab to be economically feasible? Is there some sort of option for the developer since the new parking garage obligates them to restore the Marion?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. The Marion Hotel is in bad shape, but the owners have a plan to save and restore it. Just pray that no earthquakes hit in the interim.
shawnw 10:31 a.m. Is there a way to encourage new downtown businesses to have some kind of weekend hours? Whether via the downtown design review processes, or by offering some other sort of incentive (TIF access, some other mechanism, I'm not fluent in this language) where in order to get awarded the incentive they must keep weekend hours for at least a year, and are susceptible to having to reimburse the incentive if they don't keep weekend business hours at least 1 more year after they get the incentive? Or is there just no way to encourage this behavior (e.g. should we just let it happen organically and trust it will work out eventually)?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. Customers must patronize businesses already open weekends downtown. That's the simple truth. Kitchen No. 324 is a great example of this. I did learn this week that the new Old School Bagel Cafe opening up next month at Leadership Square will not be open weekends.
Nick 10:33 a.m. If there are any new ones, will you please post renderings of the new court complex and police headquarters to OKCCentral? The renderings we originally saw floated on OKCTalk (don't know if they were actual renderings) didn't look like they blended in at all with the historic art deco buildings that currently make up the civic center. Do the designs unveiled Thursday do a better job matching the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. I'll try to get some renderings out this weekend on the blog. I'll leave judgment of the designs to others.
OKCNick 10:34 a.m. Is Wayne Coynes art gallery The Womb ever going to open? Last I heard they were having to do some pretty extensive renovation work to get the space up to code...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. Yeah. Can anyone really predict what Wayne Coyne will do on any given day?
Pat 10:34 a.m. Good Friday morning Steve, On the new Police and Court buildings, it is of your opinion that a new parking garage will built between them ? Also, what is your opinion on the exterior look of the new buildings, will they blend in with the Civic Center ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. A garage is not in the current plan, but clearly there is a discussion to be had. As for design critique... I'll leave that to you guys.
OKCNick 10:35 a.m. Is the drought that Oklahoma is going through going to affect the boating districts water supply at all this season?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. I'm told the answer is no.
Ray 10:35 a.m. Do you know the date of the Packard Restaurant opening?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. It's coming up very, very soon.
Leve S. 10:36 a.m. Hey Steve! Anything interesting on twitter lately?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:36 a.m. Everyday.
Cuatro 10:36 a.m. I realize this is towards the edge of your beat, but what do you think the chances are the Gold Dome is demolished?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. The odds of the Gold Dome being demolished are too high for those who treasure it.
Ray 10:37 a.m. Do you know the date of the Stage Center sale.... before or after Arts Festival? Will it impact this years Arts Festival?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. No and no.
DPP 10:37 a.m. Steve, in your opinion, are there enough cats in the downtown area?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. What???
BethanySooner 10:38 a.m. If you had to guess, what new retailers might we see in the Midtown/Downtown area within the next 3-5 years?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. We've seen Urban Outfitters sniff around from time to time. I suspect they'll ultimately jump in.
Reginald Fairfield 10:38 a.m. What's your favorite pizza topping?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Onion.
Guest 10:38 a.m. Steve, all OKC residents owe you their gratitude for the amazing work you do, day in and day out, to keep us informed of the issues of the day around here.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Thanks!
OKCNick 10:39 a.m. With the current upswing OKC is experiencing does the Civic Center Music Hall expect to start attracting some of the larger Broadway shows?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Good question. Did you notice the owner and founder of Celebrity Attractions (I think that's the operator), that brings such shows to town, recently died?
Guest 10:40 a.m. Steve, thank you for your work, this chat is awesome! Do you think OKC could benefit from a better start up culture, similar to the scene in Austin? I know alot of young people in the area who are entrepreneurial minded, any thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. Yes. Look at Better Block OKC. That's a 20-something creation. I'm amazed at the brilliance, creativity and determination of downtown's young professionals. They are making an impact, they are getting things done, they are changing our city. And I applaud them for that.
Andrew 10:41 a.m. When will there be a definite timeline for the C2S park?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. People were quoting the mayor as recently as January as insisting the park can still open in 2014. But the adjoining boulevard won't be done until 2016, major utilities have yet to be removed, and the Salvation Army, which sits in the middle of the new park, has yet to build its new campus at NW 10 and Pennsylvania. So good luck with that.
Ray 10:43 a.m. Is the land around the new Central Park in the TIF district? If so will that money go into the pot to fix the roads around there if new buildings are built and land values increase?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Yes, it's in the TIF district. So yeah, I guess that's possible.
BethanySooner 10:43 a.m. City officials keep mentioning that several companies would like to relocate to Oklahoma City. How many companies are you personally aware of, and is there anything that is hindering there movement?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. Availability of Class A office space and parking are a problem that the city is trying to address.
Linda 10:44 a.m. Steve, when will the Project 180 work start on Park Ave in front of the library?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. It's coming up, but I don't have the revised schedule in front of me.
OKCNick 10:44 a.m. I've heard rumors from several ACM students that the school is trying to plan a fairly large music festival for Bricktown this summer. Have you heard anything about this? Could Oklahoma City potentially support a large festival like Austin City Limits?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Yep. Wouldn't that be great?
Nick 10:45 a.m. What do you make of Aubrey McClendon's new venture Arcadia Capital? I don't know if it's something you really cover, but I wondered what you thought about his latest moves.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Don't bet against Aubrey McClendon. Almost everyone I know agrees he won't wait long before he starts up something new, something big.
Kyle 10:45 a.m. Thank you for this opportunity to ask questions! What are the current next steps for the crosstown boulevard? When will they begin presenting options for the more developed areas near downtown/bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. They've already released the designs. Currently, the revised plans for the west half are under federal review.
Nick 10:46 a.m. Has Chris Johnson had any luck in selling his property in Bricktown that was once to be home to the House of Bedlam shop? At one time, I believe you reported that there were hotel developers (maybe it was just one) that was interested in working with him to build a hotel on that lot. Is that developer still interested in the land? Is the price too high for the idea to work? I know that inflated property values are a problem in Bricktown...
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Nope.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. And yes, that is very pricey dirt.
BethanySooner 10:47 a.m. There's a cool building on the east side of Hudson between 11th and 12th streets. Do you know if it is currently occupied, and/or if there are any long term plans for it?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. I'm sorry, I'm not sure which building you're speaking of.
Guest 10:47 a.m. In your opinion, is the future success of OKC too leveraged on the success of the oil and gas industry?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. Are you asking "is this 1982?"
I hope not. I was here then. It feels different this time. We've got more going on. But it's a question we should be asking constantly in my opinion. We do not want to live through 1983 again.
Gary S 10:48 a.m. Can you confirm the restaurant the is suposed to be in the newly remodeled Century center? I have heard several names kicked around.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. It will be a nice restaurant with a great reputation run by one of the city's most successful restaurant operators.
Chris 10:49 a.m. Are plans still on for the hotel in the deep deuce area at 1st street by The Hill?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. The project has been quiet since the lot sold and the hotel project was confirmed.
ABD 10:50 a.m. Great story on the Midtown garage. Any word on when construction will start now that its been approved?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. This year pending deactivization of the OGE power lines in the area.
Brent 10:50 a.m. Last week you mentioned Reuters likely would not have looked at Sandridge without being here for CHK already. Has anyone been looking into why Reuters was here in the first place? People I trust say it was essentially an "inside job" that was feeding Reuters info for their numerous stories about CHK and as that person was found out those stories have stopped/slowed. With all the potential negative effects on OKC those stories have had, is anyone investigating why they happened and who is involved, agendas, etc.?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. The reporter who led the coverage visited The Oklahoman last year and shared how the investigation geared up. He worked hard, and I didn't sense there was anything underhanded in how it proceeded.
OKCNick 10:51 a.m. What are the chances that the owners of the Tower Theater on 23rd could partner up with a theater chain such as Landmark to get the thing renovated and running? Landmark has a great history of taking historic theaters and turning them into successful businesses that screen indie films and documentaries. As an example check out the Mayan theater in Denver: http://guide.denverpost.com/photos/2008/may/02/mayan-theatre/
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. Wouldn't that be great?
Nick 10:52 a.m. Regarding Midtown R's plans for 1100 and 1101 N Broadway, are both of those buildings due to become office space? Are they going to finish those out before they start whatever they've got planned for the big lot they bought and cleared out on 10th St?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. I don't think these decisions are finalized yet.
tom 10:52 a.m. Good morning Steve. In the interest of your time on a limited chat, may I request that you have one announcement regarding the Mystery Tower, and take no follow-up questions? It's frankly gotten out of hand with people trying to parse your responses, and if there's no news to report, then there's no news to report. Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. I did just that!
Mike 10:52 a.m. Steve. The latest offer from the owner of the Gold Dome seems to be to give someone the dome (roof) + $100,000. Engineering-wise this could mean dismantling the icon and rebuilding it on another site. A PR stunt or feasible?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. You tell me...
Kerry 10:53 a.m. Will Carnegie Centre contain any "affordable" units?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. Yes, I believe so. I'll have an update next week.
Guest 10:53 a.m. Steve, I visited Tulsa last weekend and I had forgotten how many public art the city had to offer. They have great parks and statues on what seems like every corner. Does OKC have an association that works on increasing the amount of public art throughout the city?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. Not like Tulsa does.
Debra 10:53 a.m. I just moved back to OKC 3 years ago after 30 years and love how Bricktown is coming along. Do you hear anything about Downtown having more comedy clubs, small uptown business?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Comedy clubs just don't do as well now as they did in the 1990s. Bricktown once had three of them. Now I only know of one in the entire city.
Nick 10:54 a.m. Will SandRidge still expand the triangular garage on EK Gaylord or has this upheaval with TPG Axon put the kibosh on all of their campus plans?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. I think everything is up in the air at this point.
J-Rod 10:55 a.m. Will the OKC Boathouse District be the first district to complete a MAP3 project? If so, what do you see as the 2nd MAPS3 project to be completed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. Not sure.
Ray 10:55 a.m. Will the PHF campus grow now that OU owns it?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. I suspect so. It fits in well with what OU wants to accomplish.
Debra 10:55 a.m. Include Interior Designers, as well, as that whole field; then you will have a team in Architect/Designers.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. OK.
Tyler 10:56 a.m. Steve, better architecture: OSU or OU? ...Or just different.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. I love OSU's Stillwater campus.
Nick 10:56 a.m. There's quite the little discussion regarding Skinny Slim's in Bricktown and the exterior appearance of the establishment. Some posters are upset about the shoddy workmanship on the additions to the building and trash and general rundown appearance of the site, whereas other posters consider such critiques as first world problems, saying we have bigger problems to worry about and that people need to find something else to critique since a previously unused building is now occupied by a fantastic little bar. Do you know the owners? Are they interested in cleaning things up a bit on the exterior? Or is this not that big of a deal?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. Visit the bar, get to know the owners, and make a friendly suggestion. They seem like good folks.
King Abdullah 10:57 a.m. Greetings all from Saudi Arabia
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. Greetings, your highness.
Richard 10:57 a.m. I will start with that I understand the importance and love for the gold dome and that it is nowhere close to being run down. But if no one wants to invest money into it, what will happen when it become a dilapidated structure vs a historic structure, esp on such a prime intersection. what will people say then?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. Richard, let's see what buyer interest emerges...
Alex 10:57 a.m. Living near downtown makes me hungry.... I sure wish there was a grocery store with wider variety and lower prices than Native Roots!
J-Rod 10:58 a.m. Steve, have you had a chance to drive along Main St. just West of Western Ave? There are a lot of older buildings in that area, any idea what that district started off as? How old it might be?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. Not sure. Good question.
Elise 10:58 a.m. Hi Steve. I visited the Dallas farmers' market last week and while architecturally the sheds are nothing to write home about, especially compared to the farmer's market building in OKC, the area around it was going crazy with new apartments and condos. Are you still hopeful development is going to happen here pretty soon? The best tamale I've ever eaten I got at a kiosk in one of the aforementioned sheds.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. Watch what happens with the upcoming Better Block event.
okfan 10:58 a.m. Steve, I have been following your articles, blogs and chats for the last few years or so. You have faithfully provided us with exciting news on present projects and future developments in and around Oklahoma City. Thank you tremendously for providing us with this vital information. You have provided a great service to the public. I was born here, and within the last decade, OKC truly has gone through a remarkable transformation. Unfortunately, because of my future fiance's job situation, I have to relocate to the big apple for at least 3 years. My question for you today is what will downtown and the surrounding Oklahoma City area be like if I am able to return in 3 years? Can you give me a detailed description? Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. The Bricktown skyline will be dramatically different in three years. A new skyscraper will likely be coming out of the ground. The boathouse district will be a 21st Century Delmar Gardens. Work will be underway on the new boulevard and park. MidTown will be as densely built up as Deep Deuce is now. And Deep Deuce will be fully developed as the first fully mature mixed use downtown neighborhood in the entire state. Yes, I see all this being quite possible in three years. Copy and paste this prediction. I'm sticking with it.
Foodie OKC 11:01 a.m. I'm a foodie, and I think there's not much coverage relating to healthy food in the metro. What can you do to help?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. That's Dave Cathey's beat.
biker 11:01 a.m. Are we going to finally have cycling paths around downtown OKC...
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Along the river we will. The bike lanes are being challenged...
Nick 11:02 a.m. Have you seen any actual plans/designs for the East Bricktown development or are there just ideas about what the developers would like to include? With all the cleanup and demo required, I didn't know if it's too early for actual designs.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. It's too early for any public reveals.
Nick 11:02 a.m. Steve, there was a recent blurb about new homes coming to the JFK neighborhood. Wasn't this the area where the HSC just pulled their request to have it rezoned? Does this mean expansion in that direction isn't happening?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. no
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Tyler, cut it out.
Rick 11:03 a.m. What are your thoughts on the horse carriages in brick town? I think they are an annoyance. Used to be quaint but with the increase in traffic I think they're just in the way. Definitely impede traffic flow.
Nick 11:03 a.m. Steve, where exactly is the parking garage site that the city is allegedly considering for Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. North of Main Street.
Buddy 11:03 a.m. I enjoyed your article on Aubrey McClendon and unfinished business, but I was a bit alarmed by it. Are you saying that Classen Curve, Nichols Hills Plaza, and the Triangle are all in danger of staying in their current states of being half-built, partially filled, and vacant?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Anything is possible.
OKCNick 11:04 a.m. What will it take for the Cotton Gin south of Bricktown to move and open up that area for development? Would this ever be possible?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. It won't be easy.
Nick 11:04 a.m. Are you hearing of any real suitors for the old Bricktown Ballpark Coach's space?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. not yet
TJ 11:04 a.m. I know a lot of people think the Producers Co-Op buildings SE of downtown are an eyesore, but I see something much different. There have been many successful redevelopments of "ugly/blighted" manufacturing facilities in other cities. Any talk of, or chance in the future, of this being turned into some mixed-use development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. it won't be easy
Dan Caldwell 11:04 a.m. Are there any good Italian restaurants in town? I'm newish here and it's hard to find good Italian food in the midwest that won't make you sick.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. There's a great Italian restaurant at NE 63 east of Broadway Ext. Can't remember the name
Hobart 11:05 a.m. What is your prediction about how downtown development might radiate outwards to other center city areas? Any chance it will cause neighborhoods and retail areas in the general area of OCU, NW Classen High School, May ave, etc. to improve, gentrify, etc.?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. yes.
Guest 11:05 a.m. Last week you were big on promoting Bricktown as a comparison to a walkable neighborhood with plenty of bars like someone suggested in Tulsa (Brady Dist). I believe many locals avoid that place because it's too touristy and expensive. Do you forsee any other neighborhood growing in OKC to be similar to the Brady or preferably Riverside in Tulsa?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. No. Each neighborhood is unique
John 11:06 a.m. Any further news on the JR building since it's recent purchase?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. No
OKCNick 11:06 a.m. How long is the renovation of the Osler building in Midtown set to take?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Update next week.
Nick 11:06 a.m. Do you have more coverage coming out this weekend regarding CHK?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Nope.
Nick 11:07 a.m. I didn't realize that Chaparral Energy had 750 employees. That's a company you don't hear much about, but I hope they continue to grow and do well here...
OKCNick 11:07 a.m. Skinny Slims owners/management really want to contribute to Bricktown. They are running a great business
nick 11:07 a.m. The old city jail if full of asbestos, pigeons, and stored records. Its not safe! Do you think that will more of an issue that the fact its historic? The city has future liabililty to all who have worked there.
OKCNick 11:08 a.m. Thanks for going over your time limit Steve!
Mr. Green Jeans 11:08 a.m. We sure could use a downtown farmers market 1 day a week, ala Minneapolis, Nicollet Ave.
Mr. Green Jeans 11:08 a.m. and the restaurant is Gabriella's
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Thanks.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Guys, I've got to go now. Sorry, but more than a dozen questions can't be addressed today - out of time.
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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