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OKC Central Chat transcript, March 8, 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: March 8, 2013 at 11:52 am •  Published: March 8, 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.

NewsOK 9:34 a.m. Good morning. Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
NewsOK 9:58 a.m. Good morning everybody!
Nick 9:59 a.m. Good morning Steve! Do you have your magic 8 ball ready? The masses are increasingly antsy!
NewsOK 9:59 a.m. Yes. I have the Magic 8 Ball at my side to handle all questions related to the "mystery tower." I kid you not.
Will 9:59 a.m. Steve, thoughts on the possibility of Bricktown losing the RedHawks?
NewsOK 10:04 a.m. We're not going to lose the RedHawks. The Texans, however, are seriously looking at yanking away the Houston Astros triple a affiliation. I say let them take it away. The deal with Houston was never warmly embraced when they came in as a substitute for the Texas Rangers. Think about it: people haven't shown much excitement over the Astros since they hosted the Bad News Bears in the 1970s. I'd love to see the RedHawks team up with St. Louis, restore what was as strong a following in Oklahoma as any connection to the Rangers. This could be a great opportunity to further separate our state from a sometimes dominating shadow of Texas. Read more from Mike Baldwin, who actually knows what he's talking about:
Gary T 10:04 a.m. Good morning Steve. I always appreciate you doing these chats. What is your process like for deciding what story gets in the paper, what goes on your blog and what maybe only gets a blurb in the business section? What is your proudest moment as a reporter?
NewsOK 10:05 a.m. This is an awfully serious question for what is still morning... must get coffee....
NewsOK 10:13 a.m. Breaking news is always first. I also want to empower readers so as to give them a chance to not just be informed about an issue, but provide them with the chance to have their say, get involved if they wish. Some topics are too narrow in interest to go into print, but are of interest to the very downtown centric audience that follows the OKC Central blog. I will readily admit that I hate doing stories about online websites giving Oklahoma City a ranking on "quality of life, business friendly, traffic, jobs growth, sweat on an August afternoon, etc." All too often, these are just stunts trying to get local media to provide publicity to websites. Quite frankly, I can do my own lists, thank you very much. So if I have to do these stories, if I can get away with it, I'll just turn in a "blurb." As for my proudest moment.... wow..... on March 20 I will mark my 23rd year at The Oklahoman. I've written thousands of stories. One series resulted in prompting the city to come up with a much needed fleet replacement plan for the police department. I've written stories that drew attention and help to those in distress. I've broken stories on Devon Energy Center, the relocation of Continental Resources to Oklahoma City, I drew attention to the plans for the Oklahoma City Boulevard ....but I don't know if any of those would rank as my "proudest moment." I just don't have an answer on this.
Gary T 10:13 a.m. Approximately 23 more days until your deadline for a new downtown tower. Any more info you can pass on to us?
NewsOK 10:14 a.m. Magic 8 Ball says: "Better not tell you now."
Gary T 10:14 a.m. What are the chances OKC ever snags a major airline hub?
NewsOK 10:15 a.m. The airline system is not expanding. The hub system, if you take an honest look at it, has been contracting with the loss of various airlines. I just don't see it happening. But I'm also not sure this is as big a deal as it once was.
M 10:16 a.m. Hey Steve, what is the possibility of a pedestrian corridor on Oklahoma between Main and 2nd. This would provide a great connection between Deep Deuce and N Bricktown. And the restored grid (doesn't need to be a street) would provide infill opportunities to further connect the two districts.
NewsOK 10:19 a.m. The problem stopping a connection between Deep Deuce and Bricktown is that an extension of Oklahoma Avenue would require an expensive bridge crossing or a massive ramp up due to the change in elevation, and it would have to cross the Union Pacific tracks. And the Union Pacific railroad, from all that I've heard, is still a bit grumpy over the effort several years ago to make it contribute toward the cost of rebuilding the Walnut Avenue bridge one block south of where Oklahoma Avenue is cut off.
That said .... have you taken a close look lately at the rail "crossing" where Oklahoma Avenue would be located?
Gary T 10:19 a.m. How are renovations going on the Sherman Iron Works building and what is going in there?
NewsOK 10:19 a.m. Stanley System is renovating the building into their offices.
Gary T 10:19 a.m. With things steadily moving along on Film Row, do you think it will take more of a center state for the deadcenter film festival in years to come?
NewsOK 10:20 a.m. Yes, absolutely. We've already seen a growing connection between the festival and Film Row in previous years. I look forward to seeing how the screening room at The Paramount might come into play this next festival.
Gary T 10:20 a.m. Is seems like ODOT, city council, etc are going to stick with the Classen/Western/Boulevard plan with a bridge going over Western. Once that interchange is completed, do you think we will see resurfacing of some of the streets to coming off of it? Do you ever see Classen being redone and maybe a lane taken out, widen the median to make it prettier and at least make it more bicycle friendly, if not pedestrian friendly?
NewsOK 10:22 a.m. The city and state might want to stick with the new designs for the boulevard, but it's not a done deal until the project is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, and that hasn't happened yet. Yes, I do think some of the surrounding streets will be fixed up, either in connection with the boulevard project or as part of the next bond issue proposal to go to voters. I have not heard of any effort to narrow Classen Boulevard.
Gary T 10:22 a.m. You wrote an article a while back about the property on the SE corner of Lincoln and NE 4th being redone. Has there been any movement on that?
NewsOK 10:23 a.m. If I recall correctly, that's the old doctor's hospital you're talking about. I've seen no work done at that site since a renovation application was submitted to the design review committee a year or so ago.
Gary T 10:23 a.m. I saw the plans for the Tower Theatre several years ago and it appears it was going to be used for events, not unlike Will Rogers Theatre. Do you know if that is still the plan or have things changed?
NewsOK 10:24 a.m. The project is stuck. The owner, Marty Dillon, has indicated he's having trouble obtaining financing.
Gary T 10:24 a.m. How is the bikeshare program in and around downtown working? Any chance they will expand to, say, the Plaza District?
NewsOK 10:26 a.m. From all I've seen, Spokies is going very well. It was expanded to Automobile Alley last fall, and conceptual plans for the new Core to Shore park suggest including three to four Spokies stations for visitors. The program is administered by Downtown OKC Inc., so I'm not sure how it could work in the 16th Street Plaza District, which is well outside downtown's boundaries.
Gary T 10:26 a.m. What is the latest on the Osler building renovations?
NewsOK 10:26 a.m. Renovations to convert the Osler building into a boutique hotel have begun.
Gary T 10:27 a.m. There was a rumor going around about a new hotel going in between NE 6th and 9th and Oklahoma Avenue, backing up to the highway. Also, I remember seeing renderings for a renovation of the Bindery building on the SE corner of NE 10th and Oklahoma. Any progress on these two projects? Would this development help advocate for a quiet zone?
NewsOK 10:30 a.m. NE 6 and Oklahoma is a property that is in play. It also was being eyed for a Panera Bread restaurant and housing. I'll put my bet on housing. I'm meeting with an individual today who is involved in the Duncan's Bindery project and I'll hopefully have an update for you soon.
The quiet zone effort is ongoing, and my sources tell me it will come to a successful outcome in the near future.
Gary T 10:30 a.m. When are we likely to see progress on an Adventure District line DT?
NewsOK 10:31 a.m. The Adventure District line is part of a much larger debate about the planning and routing of the MAPS 3 streetcar system. At the end of the day, regardless of what is said by special interest advocacy groups, review committees, etc., the decision on all of this rests with the Oklahoma City Council.
BethanySooner 10:31 a.m. Good morning Steve. Now that the announcement is getting closer,can you narrow down the week that you think the tower announcement is most likely to take place?
NewsOK 10:33 a.m. Magic 8 Ball says: "Without a doubt."
NewsOK 10:34 a.m. That's a surprise to me, by the way, but Magic 8 Ball says what it wants to say.
BethanySooner 10:41 a.m. When you interviewed Jeff Speck, did you get his take on the proposed boulevard? Also, he said that he gave the engineers ten guidelines. Do you have that list?
NewsOK 10:41 a.m. Jeff Speck is clearly worried about the state building a road that will open with excess capacity when he sees a street grid that is already functioning without the boulevard. I need to get that list.
NewsOK 10:42 a.m. By the way, sorry about the pause - I was interrupted by a phone call.
Guest 10:42 a.m. Good Morning, Steve. Looks like the Santa Fe station acquisition is headed for a fight. Are the Brewers being reasonable in this?
NewsOK 10:44 a.m. The Brewers think they are being reasonable and the city is not being reasonable. The city thinks the Brewers are being unreasonable, and that the city's bid is reasonable. This is real estate. It's business. And in this matter, it also will likely end up as an eminent domain action where either mediators or a judge will make the final call on what is, and isn't, reasonable.
That said, those I talk to say the city's offer is a bit low, and that the Brewers' counter-offer is more than a bit high.
Guest 10:44 a.m. Any word on if Old School Bagel Cafe downtown will be open on the weekends?
NewsOK 10:44 a.m. I talked to Mark Beffort, who manages Leadership Square, and it appears this decision has yet to be made.
Jennifer M. 10:44 a.m. Any word on if Old School Bagel Cafe downtown will be open on the weekends? Please say yes!
NewsOK 10:45 a.m. I guess I just disappointed you.
David 10:45 a.m. This is an exciting time for OKC. I grew up in Oklahoma, and have since moved out of state for graduate school, but I enjoy reading about the progress being made in the city. What strategies do you think OKC has or can put in place to attract younger professionals? I'd like to hear not only about jobs, but also clothing and grocery stores, restaurants/clubs/music, and other cultural attractions.
NewsOK 10:52 a.m. Good questions. Certainly progress has been made with the addition of the Thunder to our sports scene, the creation of ACM@UCO in Bricktown, the rise of the Plaza District, the growing community downtown, various rowing venues along the river, and a growing tolerance for diversity in the city (I'll leave it to others to comment on diversity statewide). Could the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber take a stronger role in promoting the local music scene (I believe they support our growing presence at South by Southwest in Austin) or the creation of an incubator for creative start-ups? Could more be done to spotlight the efforts of our young professionals and provide financial backing for their ventures?
Ray 10:52 a.m. Where does the city stand with the convention center site? Have they purchased the land? Are they going to eminent domain it? Has the price and location been questioned by city officials?
NewsOK 10:52 a.m. Acquisition talks are ongoing. This story is not done.
Pat 10:52 a.m. Good Morning Steve, To the point, in your opinion, will the tower at Stage Center exceed 30 floors ? Thanks
NewsOK 10:54 a.m. Magic 8 Ball says: "Outlook is good." Magic 8 Ball is feeling chipper today.
Ray 10:54 a.m. When is the new comprehensive plan for OKC going to be finished? It seems like they have been working on this for 4 years!
NewsOK 10:54 a.m. Such plans take time. I don't know the answer to your question.
Guest 10:54 a.m. Natives definitely restless
BethanySooner 10:54 a.m. It appears that Councilman Shadid is trying to divert MAPS streetcar funds to bus transit. In your opinion, would the citizenry lose faith in our elected officials for future MAPS projects if in fact funds are diverted?
NewsOK 10:55 a.m. I think the citizenry would be upset and lose faith if this project weren't given serious thought as to its implementation, funding and long-term viability and success.
BethanySooner 10:55 a.m. Someone mentioned you were working late into the night on a 'big' story. Can you give us a hint as to whether this is business, retail, or housing related? Also, what district?
NewsOK 10:56 a.m. An in-house advertisement in today's newspaper provides a hint: "Aubrey McClendon's unfinished business."
Craig 10:56 a.m. People keep asking for a Republic at the old Coach's. Wouldn't it be better to get more unique, individual locations than making everything a chain here?
NewsOK 10:58 a.m. Have you ever experienced Republic burger?
I'm not sure opening a second location for Republic would make it a chain. A POPS could do very well at the ballpark as well. I think people would be disappointed if it became an Applebees.
OKDave 10:58 a.m. With the possibility of Bricktown losing the Redhawks do you think OKC could begin the process of looking for a Major League Baseball franchise?
NewsOK 10:58 a.m. Bricktown is not going to lose the RedHawks. At least I don't think so. And I doubt Major League Baseball would work in Oklahoma City.
Craig 10:58 a.m. I notice other, prominent cities have more local flavor in restaurants and locations, as opposed to chains. Will OKC's market not support this, or will we keep seeing every Republic turn into Louie's, where there are 35 locations?
NewsOK 10:59 a.m. I'm going to ask once more.... have you ever had a Republic burger?
OKDave 10:59 a.m. To add to that last question, is there any way that the Bricktown Ball Park could be made into a Major League stadium? or is that just not possible?
NewsOK 10:59 a.m. It's really not very feasible, though Mary Fallin once suggested it.
Ray 11:00 a.m. Do you know of any new houses being built in the Cottage/Sosa district? I noticed a bunch of the old houses have been torn down leaving many empty lots.
NewsOK 11:00 a.m. Yes, several new homes are being planned along NW 7 and Shartel. I'll try to do an update this next month or so.
Guest 11:00 a.m. With all of the concern of over building hotels in the downtown area, do you see an official mandated halt, to any further construction of hotels until the current status is re-evaluated?
NewsOK 11:01 a.m. Mandating a halt to hotel construction would be politically difficult, controversial, and likely illegal.
Craig 11:01 a.m. I have a problem with every unique or fun restaurant we get, turning into a chain. Louie's was great when there was 1, but now they're everywhere. People want to do this with Republic, wanting them at Coaches' or in Norman. Do other companies see this as a problem?
NewsOK 11:01 a.m. But have you ever had a Republic burger?!???
NewsOK 11:02 a.m. (I have. It's incredible)
OKDave 11:02 a.m. Any plans on doing a story on the new Bricktown Bike Bar? It looks really interesting! Know anything about it? Link for the lazy
NewsOK 11:02 a.m. Just briefly. I'm keeping my eyes on it.
Darrin 11:02 a.m. Any clue on the possible site of a future sky scraper in Dowtown?
NewsOK 11:03 a.m. Stage Center. (I'm giving 8 Ball a rest)
Guest 11:03 a.m. Hi Steve, do you have any idea what may be going in at the corner of NW 10th and Penn?
NewsOK 11:03 a.m. This is on my to-do list!
Craig 11:03 a.m. What is OKC's biggest drawback for attracting new, unique, non-chained restaurants or attractions? All I see are calls for more Louie's or Republics.
NewsOK 11:04 a.m. Craig, Craig....
The truth is Oklahoma City has a supply and demand issue when it comes to coming up with good local restaurant operators. I know of developers who would love to attract a good, viable new local restaurant, but the candidate pool is small and shrinking.
Jerry 11:04 a.m. RedHawks would be a great fit with the Cardinals (even in team mascot names), even though it pains me to say that as a Cubs fan.
Gary S. 11:05 a.m. Steve, any update on the Main street Arcade renovation?
NewsOK 11:05 a.m. Not yet. Soon hopefully.
Brian B. 11:05 a.m. Sorry if this has been covered recently, but are there any updates on getting a quiet zone above 5th street? The council just approved the use of TIF funds for several area projects, but the quiet zone was once again left out. Is there organized resistance to this project or is the council just that apathetic to the problem?
NewsOK 11:05 a.m. Yes, there are efforts going on behind the scenes, and most folks I talk to are more hopeful than ever that a solution to the railroad noise is near.
Craig 11:06 a.m. Actually, with the USAir/American merger, and our limitation as a hub, contraction could be an increasingly big deal as prices go up, up, up...
NewsOK 11:06 a.m. And that's why I'm not hopeful about Oklahoma City becoming an air hub.
NewsOK 11:06 a.m. You folks are going into overtime again....
Dan 11:06 a.m. Steve, has there been any movement on the downtown block owned by Preftakes? I see a lot of potential for the buildings there, but it seems like the most blighted area downtown, in spite of it being next door to Devon...
NewsOK 11:07 a.m. Yes. It's not very pretty, is it? A growing number of people believe that corner will eventually be the next spot for a Devon expansion.
Craig 11:07 a.m. Steve, what are the chances of OKC ever seeing a replica of Cesar's Palace, square in the middle of Bricktown? Or perhaps at Crossroads Mall? Because I would go to that.
NewsOK 11:08 a.m. A casino? Not likely.
Ray 11:08 a.m. Do you know who won the bid on the Stage Center Site? Their name is..... Are they an Oklahoma company? Do they currently have offices here? Will it be an office tower? Will it be a tower? Will they have a Mexican restaurant in the development if La Luna gets closed?
NewsOK 11:10 a.m. That's a tower question, isn't it? Sorry, the Magic 8 Ball isn't working right now.
OKDave 11:10 a.m. with the growth that's occurring in Bricktown and the CBD do you see more National type chains wanting to move in any time soon?
NewsOK 11:10 a.m. Yes. Several national chains are trying now to enter the downtown market. But they're a bit late to the game, and good choice locations are increasingly difficult to nail down.
Omega Man 11:10 a.m. I know that you cannot comment on certain projects going on in downtown Oklahoma City. But hypothetically speaking, have you heard how many stories tall that new office building in downtown Belgrade is going to be? (Clever, yes?) a
NewsOK 11:11 a.m. Belgrade, huh? I'm not very familiar with that city.
Gary S. 11:11 a.m. What is the latest count of new hotels going into Bricktown and how do you think that will impact the proposed convention center hotel?
NewsOK 11:13 a.m. I'm going on memory, but I think we're looking at 11 hotels being built in or around Bricktown with even more yet to be announced. We could be looking at more than 1,500 rooms just in Bricktown. Yes, this could impact the amount of city subsidy needed to attract a large conference hotel to be built with the new convention center.
M 11:13 a.m. Yes I have seen it Steve. Unfortunately if I were a developer, that doesn't really seem like a permanent connection. Neither is the parking lot. Also no ADA access from Deep Deuce into Bricktown, the two areas are almost completely cutoff from each other.
NewsOK 11:13 a.m. Yep.
Craig 11:13 a.m. Any rumors of new films being shot here in the city any time soon? We got the big rush from Jessica Alba's film here, but nothing since.
NewsOK 11:14 a.m. We've had other films shot here. Pretty significant films.
Gary S. 11:14 a.m. fcpi
NewsOK 11:14 a.m. huh?
Dave 11:14 a.m. Whatever happened to the santa monica ferris wheel... Is the owner holding out on doing anything with it until the riverfront area is more complete?
NewsOK 11:15 a.m. It's all murky right now. The Humphreys are trying to revive that project, but nothing is certain yet.
Jennifer M. 11:15 a.m. guess this is just a conversation between Steve and Gary T this morning
NewsOK 11:15 a.m. I'm sorry!
Craig 11:15 a.m. HOW is there no Starbucks in downtown OKC??? There are two across from each other in other cities. Can we not get SOMETHING comparable?
NewsOK 11:15 a.m. Starbucks is trying to open another location downtown.
NewsOK 11:16 a.m. At least that's what the folks in Bricktown told me (and others have confirmed)
Omega Man 11:16 a.m. since the passage of the 1st maps proposal in 1993 are there any other cities in the United States that have leveraged their tax dollars to the extent that Oklahoma City has in an urban project like this? A
NewsOK 11:17 a.m. Plenty of cities have tried. Tulsa's Vision package is somewhat similar.
Jerry 11:17 a.m. Thanks for your reporting, Steve. Do you know of a place that sells wall-sized maps of Oklahoma City, showing streets and neighborhods?
NewsOK 11:17 a.m. Maybe Walker Stamp and Seal?
Craig 11:17 a.m. Any chance that the area around the Capitol becomes more entertainment friendly? Seems like most cities' capitol area has more going on. Is that in the works at all? Why not, if not?
NewsOK 11:18 a.m. Have you taken a good look at our lawmakers lately? Do they strike you as people who enjoy good entertainment?
JamesR 11:18 a.m. Hey Steve! A friend of mine mentioned to me that there's a new pedicab company in Bricktown but that they are owned by a business in Denver. Know anything about this?
NewsOK 11:19 a.m. No. Oklahoma City has a successful pedicab operation, so I guess it's not surprising that might draw some competition.
Brian B. 11:19 a.m. Just FYI, the mobile link to this chat doesn't seem to work.
NewsOK 11:19 a.m. Digital NewsOK gods, got that?
Pat 11:19 a.m. Steve, you are cruel.
Pat 11:19 a.m. I guess the magic 8 ball is cruel.
NewsOK 11:20 a.m. Exactly.
Craig 11:20 a.m. How long will the prospective new tower potentially tie up traffic in the Reno/Sheridan area???
NewsOK 11:20 a.m. It's a bit early for this question.
Downtown OKC Guy 11:20 a.m. Going off of BethanySooner's question - since the Magic 8 ball said you "can" narrow down the week, will you narrow down the week for the announcement? By the end of March? April?
NewsOK 11:21 a.m. I'm not in charge of this ... it's up to Magic 8 Ball.
Guest 11:21 a.m. So, putting the "8 Ball" aside, share your view of the public sentiment related to bringing down the Stage Center...if that's in fact the locale. Won't there an uproar?
NewsOK 11:21 a.m. Yes, I suspect Stage Center won't go down without quite a debate.
Some Guy 11:21 a.m. Hi Steve, is the break up of the Cox Center block a sure thing, and do you know if the Sports Commission or other event promoters are dreading the loss of the arena as a venue -- the edge we touted in attracting the Big 12 basketball tournament?
NewsOK 11:22 a.m. I think it's getting more and more likely as it appears that the Big 12 Basketball Tournament isn't the draw here that it once was and that it seems to be settling down again in Kansas City.
Me 11:22 a.m. What about some huge green lazer light to be installed near downtown????
NewsOK 11:23 a.m. Don't we already have the Beacon of Hope?
ABD 11:23 a.m. Any word on the progress of OCU Law School moving into the old Central High School building? Also, have you heard if American Farmers and Ranchers is going to try and stay in Midtown/Downtown?
NewsOK 11:23 a.m. Updates coming soon.
Guest 11:23 a.m. Have you ever been to San Diego? I think the "Gaslamp District," would be a good model for residential expansion and consumer development for residents in that area. Thoughts?
NewsOK 11:23 a.m. I haven't been to San Diego since I was child, though I heard it's a place where everyone "stays classy." I'm not familiar with the Gaslamp district ...
Me 11:24 a.m. Wasn't there supposed to be some huge Laser light installed near downtown as a signature piece?
NewsOK 11:24 a.m. You may be talking about the Beacon of Hope.
Theboardrider 11:24 a.m. Any chance if the Adventure District expands it could involve some additions for longboarders? Longboarding is hugely popular in OKC now and with it being a genarally flat place it would be fun if the city provided some places for people to ride without having to be chased out of the OG&E parking garage and other spots. I have a feeling I know the answer though, I don't think the city decision makers care much about skateboarding.
NewsOK 11:25 a.m. The city built the skateboard park, so I don't think they're as hostile as you might think. They just don't want skateboarding done in areas that do damage to public and private property. Have you shared your idea with anyone else?
john 11:25 a.m. have you heard anything about the inside of the at&t building being renovated at broadway and dean mcgee?
NewsOK 11:25 a.m. No. Have you?
Guest 11:25 a.m. Steve, what article were you working on that had you up so late on Twitter? When will we see it?
NewsOK 11:25 a.m. This Sunday. "Aubrey McClendon's unfinished business"
Guest 11:26 a.m. Are community Leaders as excited about OKC's growth as a "major" city as the masses?
NewsOK 11:26 a.m. Yes. Seriously, there is no difference.
Guest 11:26 a.m. Also, there are rumors on OKCTalk that the Bomasada group in Houston is poking around in OKC again and that a housing project may be announced soon for 8th St. Can you confirm this?
NewsOK 11:26 a.m. Yep. I've met with them. Let's wait and see.
Larry 11:27 a.m. Steve the other day you said you were up until one AM working on a story. Have we seen that story? Was it the Burns Hargis resignation?
NewsOK 11:27 a.m. Sunday
Tom 11:27 a.m. How financially solid are the Thunder owners?
NewsOK 11:27 a.m. They have more money than I do.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Good morning Steve,
NewsOK 11:27 a.m. Good morning.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Good Morning Steve, any word on The First National Building? Are there any local buyers interested in taking control of that mess?
NewsOK 11:27 a.m. No, not right now.
Ian 11:27 a.m. The fix guideway study in 2005/6? talked about the need to improve the bus system. Do you know of any consultants since then that thinks putting all the money in the streetcar without any going to the bus as the way we should proceed?
NewsOK 11:28 a.m. Where is that stupid Magic 8 Ball?
Seriously, this is a question that is far more complicated than I can handle at this moment. I'm so sorry... but I don't want to speak out of turn.
Elise 11:28 a.m. Hi Steve. I heard that the McNellie's Group has a location picked out just "a couple of blocks" from MecNellie's Pub in OKC for a Fassler Hall and bowling alley all under one roof. Really?
NewsOK 11:29 a.m. That would be great...
Guest 11:29 a.m. I think Republic would be great in Bricktown. Yes, I have had a Republic burger
NewsOK 11:29 a.m. Well, there you go.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Before you finish for the week, do you know what's planned for the SW corner of NW 10th and Penn which was recently torn down?
NewsOK 11:29 a.m. That's where the Salvation Army is supposed to relocate.
Guest 11:29 a.m. Sorry, you just answered the question, thanks!
Chad 11:29 a.m. Sounds like Craig should open a restaurant.
NewsOK 11:30 a.m. I'm cool with that.
Craig H. 11:30 a.m. Steve, Not to beat a dead horse (or restaurant in this instance) what is the plan for the old Coach's in The Bricktown Ballpark? What happened to the Smokin' Okie? Best wings (F5) in the City hands down!
NewsOK 11:30 a.m. I don't know of any change on this yet.
Guest 11:30 a.m. Craig is on a crusade! But, he does bring up an interesting point. OKC has far fewer independent creative establishments than other cities.
NewsOK 11:30 a.m. And yet we're far ahead of where we were 20 years ago. Change takes time.
Guest 11:30 a.m. Good morning, Steve! Do you know when we will see any information regarding the potential tower/company for the Stage Center site? By the end of this month hopefully? So impressed with the growth of Oklahoma City...thank you for your good work as well!
NewsOK 11:31 a.m. Thanks for the complement.
Guest 11:31 a.m. Steve, who do you say our restauranteur candidate pool is shrinking?
NewsOK 11:31 a.m. who or why? I say it because I know of developers struggling to find good local restaurant operators to anchor new projects.
Jennifer M. 11:31 a.m. Will there be any more development around the area of Skinny Slims in Bricktown?
NewsOK 11:32 a.m. Yes, it's almost inevitable with the new Holiday Inn and plans to add apartments at the Mideke building.
ABD 11:32 a.m. Just have to make a comment on the restaurant thing...I am from a much larger city that claims to be a major culinary hub. I will say people here are much more open to local restaurants as opposed to chains. And I think the food scene in OKC has improved dramatically over the past few years.
Guest 11:32 a.m. Steve, is OKC going to get streetcar?
NewsOK 11:33 a.m. My guess, and my guess alone?
Yes. But the routing, technology and plans may change significantly from what's been pushed by advocates and I'm told there may be some revelations to come out about unknown influences on the process to date. That's all I know.
Andrea 11:33 a.m. Perhaps a casino at the Indian Cultural Center. LOL
Nick Roberts 11:34 a.m. Hey Steve, if there are already concerns about over-saturating the downtown hotel market too fast, are urban design commissioners feeling more stringent toward these projects? i.e., OUHSC Embassy Suites, Staybridge, and other sub-par applications...long time no talk, old friend :D
NewsOK 11:34 a.m. That's the discussion right now. Good to hear from you Nick. I hope all is well up in Cleveland.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Steve, surely things are getting close with the mystery tower, are they not? Have you seen any plans for the site?
NewsOK 11:34 a.m. You guys are persistent.
Guest 11:34 a.m. The Nfl just announced its plans for future expansion! It seems the chances of okc getting a Nfl team is looking good!! What do you think? And if we do get this chance where would a stadium be placed?
NewsOK 11:35 a.m. No.
Guest 11:35 a.m. Once the sale is finalized, how quickly will the new company get moving?
NewsOK 11:35 a.m. I'm not sure yet.
erich 11:35 a.m. Any plans for crossroads mall in the works?
NewsOK 11:35 a.m. Not that I know of.
Guest 11:35 a.m. I saw you mention Applebee's earlier. Is that really a possibility for the old Coach's space? 10 more metro locations for Republic would be preferable to Applebees going into that space.
NewsOK 11:36 a.m. No, I don't know... I don't think so.
Guest 11:36 a.m. How greatly would the food and shopping landscape of Oklahoma City change if Oklahoma finally got rid of its outdated alcohol laws?
NewsOK 11:36 a.m. Dramatically.
OKDave 11:36 a.m. Never heard of Belgrade Oklahoma? I hear it's a nice place
NewsOK 11:36 a.m. Great beer halls with no outdated alcohol laws.
Larry 11:36 a.m. Steve is there any possibility of not building the convention center and just building a hotel and remodeling the Myriad further? Seems like the trend is away from convention centers these days.
NewsOK 11:37 a.m. There are some who like this idea. Not sure it will happen.
Ed 11:37 a.m. Any updates on the downtown school - constructing starting etc?
NewsOK 11:37 a.m. This spring.
Guest 11:37 a.m. Any chance the underground will be connected to this new "mystery tower" or the Devon Tower?
NewsOK 11:37 a.m. I don't know.
OKDave 11:37 a.m. They could take the ferris wheel and put it on top of the new tower?? Market it as a thrill ride!
OKDave 11:37 a.m. Why would you go to Starbucks when we have two FANTASTIC coffee places (Elemental and Coffee Slingers) downtown?
Ian 11:37 a.m. Why is Jeff Speck in town - probably more than just a book signing at Full Circle, right?
NewsOK 11:37 a.m. heh heh
Tyler 11:37 a.m. Any chance the underground will connect to the "mystery tower" or devon tower? Sorry if this is a repeat, not sure my first question sent.
NewsOK 11:38 a.m. I don't know.
JR 11:38 a.m. I thought Craig didn't like chains like Starbucks. I'm confused.
Guest 11:38 a.m. any chance the rail project could also have an integrated bus component?
NewsOK 11:38 a.m. Yes. It's under debate.
Omega Man 11:38 a.m. Starbucks? Slingers, The Buzz(best), Devon Tower, Library, new restaurant on Robinson all outshine SB!
david ball 11:38 a.m. what am i talking about? there isn't even a rail project yet. we've got a convention center to build. sorry about that.
Guest 11:38 a.m. Our lawmakers strike me as imbeciles.
NewsOK 11:39 a.m. I hate it when people insult imbeciles with unfair comparisons to elected leaders.
Bob 11:39 a.m. They are being pretty creative today. Looks like gold stars are in order...
Brian B. 11:39 a.m. How do we make sure they don't open more chains downtown or another Starbucks? (just kidding, sort of)
NewsOK 11:40 a.m. It's where the dollar goes.
Ray 11:40 a.m. Has the Magic 8 Ball seen the drawings or concepts for the site? YES OR NO....
NewsOK 11:40 a.m. 8 Ball: This question cannot be answered at this time
Guest 11:40 a.m. Steve, are you getting any of my questions?
NewsOK 11:40 a.m. Plenty of people log in as "guest" - I got this one.
Ian 11:41 a.m. maps shows names of neighborhoods
Guest 11:41 a.m. Hmmm....could the Magic 8 ball then answer the question if there will be any announcement on Stage Center/tower by the end of March? :)
Tom 11:41 a.m. Will this supposed new tower result in more new jobs to okc?
NewsOK 11:41 a.m. no and yes
Guest 11:41 a.m. Our city leaders don't seem to care about anything but what they want...
Theboardrider 11:41 a.m. I haven't shared it with anyone. Although I think it is a good one. Have you noticed all the longboarders? And I'm talking about adults, not kids. I'm a 30-something and many of my friends love to partake. We used to hit up all the parking garages and it is a lot of fun. It's a great way to get around town but a general place to ride downtown would be great. Who would you suggest I take the idea to?
NewsOK 11:42 a.m. Email me... let's set up a conversation over coffee. I want to meet you, learn more, and see if this might make for a column or a blog post. My email is
Guest 11:42 a.m. what are the improvements projected for bricktown that were recently funded for like 700K
NewsOK 11:42 a.m. Sidewalks, landscaping, lighting...
Wes 11:42 a.m. How has the emergence of various local blogs, forums, etc. changed or benefited the way you report. P.S. You're a rockstar, sir.
NewsOK 11:43 a.m. You're very kind. Yes, I track a lot of it.
Guest 11:43 a.m. Is Bomasada involved with what's coming on 8th St or are they just starting to shop around again?
NewsOK 11:43 a.m. Maybe.
Theboardrider 11:43 a.m. Any thoughts on what could be done with the gold dome at 23rd and Classen? It's such a cool building and seems like a great area for shops surrounding a food court or similar. Or a club.
Grannie 11:43 a.m. Forty some years ago, there was talk of a "park and ride" system from south Edmond to downtown. I thought it was a great idea. Have you heard about anything like that?
NewsOK 11:43 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:43 a.m. Steve, is Mystery Tower a Texas company?
Guest 11:43 a.m. With this surge of development, do you think there be any additional live music venues opening up in the Downtown/Bricktown/Midtown area?
NewsOK 11:44 a.m. The Wormy Dog is looking at an ambitions expansion.
Guest 11:44 a.m. did OKC compete for the MetLife jobs going to NC?
NewsOK 11:44 a.m. I don't know. These efforts are often kept very quiet.
Theboardrider 11:44 a.m. Too many restaurants that end in "'s."
NewsOK 11:44 a.m. I'll pass that along
Theboardrider 11:44 a.m. Thanks for all of the time you're giving us today Steve...
Guest 11:44 a.m. With all the hotel and residential development, do you see Bricktown/Downtown/Midtow seeing an increase in live music venues?
NewsOK 11:45 a.m. yes
Theboardrider 11:45 a.m. A downtown casino would be the coup de grace for Oklahoma city finalizing "big league city." It would put us into the next stratosphere...
NewsOK 11:45 a.m. Such efforts have taken place in the past ... it's unlikely to happen.
LB 11:45 a.m. What time is church at the Neighborhood Lounge?
NewsOK 11:45 a.m. I forgot to ask!
Jerry 11:45 a.m. As a former Tulsa resident and OKC resident the past several years, my perception is that OKC seems to have a broader and more visible local restaurant scene.
NewsOK 11:46 a.m. Tulsa has some great places too ...
Theboardrider 11:46 a.m. I don't think OKC is up to supporting an NFL or MLB team yet. Maybe never on MLB. NBA filled a void and created our biggest "see and be seen," nightlife. People won't go to Stillwater or Norman on Saturday and then to an NFL game on Sunday. And it would be the same target audience the NFL would be after in this market.
Theboardrider 11:46 a.m. What is the status on the underground? Will it ever become a major attraction?
NewsOK 11:46 a.m. Probably not. But it's a part of the downtown grid.
Guest 11:46 a.m. Is there any way the alcohol laws can be changed without a constitutional amendment going to public vote?
NewsOK 11:46 a.m. Look for something on the 2014 ballot.
Justin M 11:46 a.m. Can't walk to Slingers or Elmentel Dave
Theboardrider 11:46 a.m. Our lawmakers are just too conservative. And I don't mean fiscally, I just don't think most of them think outside the box.
okcpulse 11:46 a.m. Steve, coming up to OKC next week for vacation. Staying in Bricktown. How is the other hotel project coming?
NewsOK 11:47 a.m. It's going up rapidly!
OKDave 11:47 a.m. Any chance that the proposed rail system could have a stop directly at the convention center? Much like Denver's light rail stops basically directly inside
NewsOK 11:47 a.m. That's part of the current plan.
Theboardrider 11:47 a.m. Is this new tower a done deal? (sorry to jump on board)
NewsOK 11:47 a.m. No. If it were, I'd be reporting it! It's in progress.
Larry 11:47 a.m. Skateboarding is illegal in Bricktown and Downtown. I know because my son was a student at ACM and his friend actually got "pulled over" by a cop for skating to and from class.
Guest 11:47 a.m. Steve--i'm tweeting your brilliant quote about elected leaders
NewsOK 11:48 a.m. Oh great. Now I wait for a call from the boss .... 10 - 9- 8- 7 - 6....
Chris 11:48 a.m. Are my comments making it on the board?
NewsOK 11:48 a.m. I don't know.
Guest 11:48 a.m. I recently strolled through the entirety of Bricktown and I have two thoughts: 1) a lot of the sidewalks are in really bad shape 2) Bricktown desperately needs help with landscaping and beautification 3) we need better crosswalks down there
NewsOK 11:48 a.m. Yes, and the city agrees. Help is on its way.
david ball 11:48 a.m. maybe we could have rail service along the old katy line connecting bricktown to remington park... i wonder what else it might pick up?
Guest 11:49 a.m. Those MetLife jobs would have been nice.
Guest 11:49 a.m. Steve you are the best. we really do appreciate you time and efforts in informing the public. what a great time for OKC!!!
NewsOK 11:49 a.m. Thanks!
That's two hours folks! This is crazy. I gotta go now!
by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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