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OKC Central Chat transcript, Nov. 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.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: November 22, 2013 at 1:11 pm •  Published: November 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.

NewsOK 9:06 a.m. Good morning! Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start submitting your questions now.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:00 a.m. Good morning everyone. Let's get started.
BethanySooner 10:00 a.m. Good morning Steve. In your blog you mentioned major new downtown anchors. Were you referring to corporations or retail anchors? How many are you currently aware of?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:04 a.m. Here's how I define current anchors: you have corporate anchors like Continental Resources, Devon Energy, Sonic, BancFirst and SandRidge Energy (next year OPUBCO joins that list).
We have major hotel anchors like the Skirvin, Colcord and Renaissance. We have major entertainment anchors like the Harkins Theaters. We have cultural anchors like the Civic Center Music Hall, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and the National Memorial. And we have major sports anchors like the Thunder and RedHawks. Get the picture?
Pat 10:04 a.m. Good Morning Steve - Could you elaborate about Major New Downtown Anchors. Will these be a corporate presence ? Or something related to retail service industry ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. We are going to see a vast improvement in retail, cultural and corporate presence downtown.
Gary T 10:05 a.m. It looks like the western portion of the new boulevard has a lot of work going on. What is next for the boulevard? Do you think construction on the east end will start before a decision on the Western/Classen/BLVD/Reno intersection is settled upon?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. It's possible. The Feds, last I checked, are still reviewing the boulevard options. I'm not sure when that review will be completed.
Gary T 10:06 a.m. What is a question you are surprised someone hasn't asked yet?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. This one. The intrigue is over. You ruined it.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. ;)
Gary T 10:07 a.m. How would one go about developing the parking lots in Lower Bricktown, other than buying the land from Hogan?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. At the end of the day, Hogan is a developer. I wouldn't be surprised if some day, on his own, he comes up with a plan for the surface parking at Reno and Compress.
Gary T 10:08 a.m. So, it looks like the renovation of the Tower Theatre is finally going to get started. What do you think the time frame is on this project? Obviously the retail will be done first. How long until everything is up and running?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. I've seen so many false starts indicated by the owners that I won't be getting too excited until I see the work starting
Pat 10:09 a.m. In your opinion, will Rainey Williams dissapoint or will his tower exceed your expectations. Are we still due to hear by the end of the year. Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:11 a.m. My expectations? I don't know.... I'm keeping a pretty open on the project, so with that being my approach, I'm not sure I've really set expectations yet. I just don't understand the debates I see among some about the size, design, etc., by those who haven't even seen the plans.
Pat 10:12 a.m. One North Hudson - Housing or Boutique Hotel ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. Only Nick Preftakes knows for sure. But I've heard housing.
BethanySooner 10:13 a.m. Would you say that the odds are pretty good for the massive parking lot around the Physician's Bldg at 11th and Shartel to be developed into housing? If so, that NW quadrant of Midtown would be revolutionized with new structures and people.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. Yes. As soon as I saw the plans for the new 327-complex across the street I recognized just how incredible that surface lot is for new development.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:14 a.m. Everyone, forgive me. I need to hold for three minutes....
Steve Lackmeyer 10:28 a.m. OK, I'm back. Sorry about that.
John 10:28 a.m. With the announcement of Rick Cain's retirement from COTPA, can you provide some high level discussion on his prime accomplishments and what/who is needed to assume his role and advance new transit initiatives in the region?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. Rick Cain kept things moving at a time when funding was hard to come by. He participated in a regional dialogue about a potential rail based transit system involving Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond and Midwest City. He helped create the foundation for what is going to be the streetcar system. He also has been involved in a significant sell-off of downtown garages and construction of new parking. With both Rick Cain and planning director Russell Claus leaving at the same time, there is ample room for opportunity and stumbles ahead.
Ronaldo 10:31 a.m. What is the status of the Main Street Arcade?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. R.D. and Scott Smith are slowly moving forward with renovations, but don't be surprised if this ends up like Plaza Court in Midtown where someone buys the property and completes the job.
Ronaldo 10:32 a.m. How many houses are under construction in the SOSA district?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. By my last count, there are several set to be built.
Ronaldo 10:32 a.m. Are they going to build anymore Brownstones?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. Not brownstones as we've seen to date. But efforts are underway to develop the remaining empty lots.
Ronaldo 10:32 a.m. What is the status of the Wormy Dog development in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. I suspect we will hear new news soon.
Pat 10:33 a.m. Will the CBD see mid-rise housing announced in 2014 ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. Quite possibly.
Ronaldo 10:33 a.m. Has the city purchased the land for the Convention Center?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. No. I reported a couple weeks ago and offer has been made.
Ronaldo 10:34 a.m. Have you heard anything new on the Fred Jones Plant?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. It's the property everyone wants.
Angad 10:34 a.m. "Burrito causes hubbub at Oklahoma City police station"
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. Yes. Please leave any mysterious burritos at home.
Ronaldo 10:35 a.m. Have you heard any plans for developments on Main Street…. The many surface parking lots….
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. The trick with Main Street is that many of the surface parking lots are owned by the police association. There is so much opportunity along that stretch if the city could work with the association to give them a shot at replacing those lots (a source of revenue for the association) with a shot at developing a garage where the current police headquarters stands. That headquarters will be torn down once the new one is built. Why not do a land swap that includes the association building a garage that retains their current source of parking revenue and greatly enhances it with parking associated with the Civic Center Music Hall?
Angad 10:37 a.m. "Burrito causes hubbub at Oklahoma City police station" I thought this was an Onion headline.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Nope. But I believe I saw on social media that the story was picked up by the New York Times. So we've got that going for us. Kids, remember, leave mysterious burritos at home.
Ronaldo 10:38 a.m. Have you seen the menu for KD’s new restaurant?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. Not yet. But I'm getting inside very soon....
Ronaldo 10:39 a.m. If these new “towers” are built downtown, will the construction costs of those buildings hit the BID or TIF money that goes to Project 180? If so how?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. Well, the Business Improvement District will certainly benefit. It remains to be seen how a TIF might work, seeing as the clock is running on the deadline - we're already halfway through the timeline for the current downtown TIF. And not every developer will be able to do the sort of Project 180 deal sought by Devon.
Ronaldo 10:40 a.m. Is TapStone involved in one of the new towers downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. No.
Pat 10:40 a.m. Will we ever see anything happen with the Preftakes block ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. Yes.
Sam from Overton 10:41 a.m. What do you think of the new soccer team name, the OKC Energy?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. I guess it's OK.
Max 10:41 a.m. Has an agreement been made yet with Union Pacific to allow access beneath their tracks between the Boathouse District and the Bricktown canal along I-40?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. No, not to my knowledge.
Nick 10:41 a.m. Good morning Steve! Do we hear about a final location for the GE Research Center by December 31st?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. It's possible. I don't think people fully appreciate how incredible this development will be once it becomes a reality.
Guest 10:42 a.m. What is next for Tom Ward?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. He's going to build a new company. And it is going to be downtown.
Guest 10:42 a.m. Your OKCCentral blog post this morning mentioned major new downtown anchors. Can you shed some light on this? Is OKC about to see some serious corporate relocations?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. We will see our downtown corporate base continue to grow.
BethanySooner 10:43 a.m. What is crazy is that the only new large housing development that has been completed to date has been Level in Deep Deuce. With what is currently under construction, or has been announced it is amazing to think about the dramatic transformation that will take place in the next few years.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. Yep.
Coy 10:43 a.m. Any idea as to when the "mystery tower" at the Stage Center site will be officially announced with presentation?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. We will have no shortage of things to talk about during the Christmas holidays.
david ball 10:44 a.m. any chance we could start seeing transcripts of these chats posted in their entirety instead of just snippets in the saturday paper for those of us who frequently can't make it on here in time?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. We do publish the entire transcripts online. I've heard from some it's not always easy to find them. I'll start posting a link to them on my blog.
Ronaldo 10:45 a.m. You mentioned national retailers. Are these retailers looking at opening downtown or just in OKC in general?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:45 a.m. Downtown.
david ball 10:45 a.m. you must have been mighty busy lately judging by the quietness of the blog. you have been missed.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. Thanks. I've had a few posts. The biggest challenge right now is I'm working on a special 12-page MAPS 20th Anniversary section at the same time I'm trying to keep daily coverage going.
Ronaldo 10:46 a.m. How big and what kind of buildings will the Catholic Charities have? I am not familiar with any of their current locations.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Read my story on the new Catholic Charities building and see the renderings here:
Guest 10:47 a.m. Steve, Is there any update or timeline on the Santa Fe bridge across I-44?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. It's a story that I'm set to work on soon.... let me just leave it at that.
david ball 10:48 a.m. i have no objection to the proposed garage for the streetcars but it would seem to make more sense to run the track down Robinson for a possible future link to Capitol Hill (you would only need a one block spur to connect to the barn).
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Part of the challenge with all this is there is a much bigger picture that the public can't really see. It's due to the nature of development, city hall politics and planning that some details simply can't be shared as some might desire. It's not a conspiracy, it's not really anything that is rooted in bad intent. But it does cause questions and concerns like the one you are expressing. If you had a view of the bigger picture, it might make more sense. By the way, this is the challenge I have to deal with everyday.
BethanySooner 10:50 a.m. Loved your story about your father coming to Oklahoma to oversee the construction of the Sheraton Hotel and Century Center. How ironic that what brought you to Oklahoma in the first place will now be your place of business. You'll be working in the building that your dad helped build.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:52 a.m. Thanks. Yeah, it's a bit bitter-sweet. I told him a bit about what was in the works before he died, but quite frankly, due to declining health, etc., I'm not sure he fully appreciated or understood what was in the works.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. I guess that column also explains to everyone that my interest in downtown is deep-rooted.
Ed 10:53 a.m. Any updates or results from the CC Hotel study that was requested by the Council?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. My understanding is that the studies have been delayed for several weeks.... this is a story I need to catch up on.
Guest 10:54 a.m. How is progress at the Steelyard in Bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. From updates I've received from Gary Brooks, this project is proceeding surprisingly well considering just how many complications were involved. We're on track to see construction start in April.
Guest 10:55 a.m. What ramifications does Devon's purchase in the Eagle Ford hold for downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. It's a $6 billion deal that is twice as much as the Ocean Energy deal that transformed Devon into what it is today. You do the math.
BethanySooner 10:56 a.m. The streetcar maintenance facility being located at the south end of the north park looks like it could enhance the ability of people using the park and adjacent future housing. How much of a catalyst might this be to getting housing developed in the Core to Shore area, especially just west of the new park?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. I think it helps create the framework for housing in that it creates more activity, more of a buffer for housing to be built. Core to Shore development won't be easy. But the right public anchors at the right spots will help significantly.
Guest 10:58 a.m. Are we any closer to finding out what you're most excited about?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. We're still a few months off.
Mark 10:59 a.m. So Steve, Devon in the last year has formed a new midstream partnership, purchased $6B in assets, and is now building a new pipeline system to serve this play... sounds like a lot of employees are being added and they can't add floors to building they already have! :)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. I think it's safe to say if Larry Nichols had a time machine, he would have kept the height at 54 stories. My sources tell me the building is full.
Guest 11:00 a.m. What the heck is going on at NW164th & Penn? 164th was widened not long ago and now they are doing something to that intersection, but work has been going on for a long time. How long does it take to redo an intersection?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. This is a bit outside the OKC Central beat. But I'm familiar with it. It's been going a long time....
Guest 11:01 a.m. Is Western about to be widened to 4 lanes between 164th and 178th?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. Yes.
BethanySooner 11:01 a.m. Any word at all on what might happen with the old Film Exchange Bldg located within the boundaries of the new park? We keep getting closer to the construction date and there has been no mention of this building in the Maps 3 Park meeting notes over the last few months.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Folks are still trying to save it. There are developers interested in the property. But if the park planners and city staff stand their ground, it will take a command by city council to change the building's fate.
BethanySooner 11:02 a.m. Will an announcement on the new Rainey Williams tower come out next month, and if so do you know if any renderings will accompany the announcement?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. I expect we will hear an update soon. I suspect if Williams seeks permission to demolish Stage Center without showing renderings, he will face a much bigger push-back from the Downtown Design Review Committee.
Guest 11:04 a.m. Hi Steve... When in the world are we going to get a full blown groceery store downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Keep shopping at Native Roots when you can... you may find your choices downtown will soon be expanded.
Pajda 11:04 a.m. Are you a Kennedy conspiracy guy?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. I'm not sure this question relates downtown or Oklahoma City.
BethanySooner 11:05 a.m. Do you think that Don Karchmer will be successful in his bid to build structured parking with housing in the north Bricktown area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. He's working on a plan that he hopes will address the concerns of rail advocates.
Guest 11:06 a.m. Is there any chance that Midfirst/Midland could still move downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. I wouldn't be surprised if they expanded their presence...
Lennon Patton 11:06 a.m. Any chance we could see a soccer facility in or near downtown OKC in the future?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. It's possible. The Hispanic community, a big audience for soccer, lives in Riverside and Capitol Hill just of the river. So it would make sense to have a stadium nearby, don't you think?
David 11:07 a.m. Steve, Have you seen the Fake James Greiner twitter account? Do you know who is behind it? One of the campaigns? If you have not heard, you should check it out, some pretty funny stuff.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I don't know who is doing it. I'm not sure what to make of these accounts. Sometimes I worry that we're seeing a real deterioration of civic discussion and debate that creates such a poisonous situation that compromise and understanding become impossible. And the mocking, etc., while amusing, I just wonder how they play into all this.
Guest 11:09 a.m. Hey Steve its been a while. I hope you're doing well and I hope all is well in OKC. As always you are the man! Best
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. Thanks!
Guest 11:09 a.m. When is the Metropolitan starting construction?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. It should be within the next few months.
Billy p 11:09 a.m. Are there any updates about the Santa fe Station?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. The city should have possession this next month if not sooner.
Guest 11:10 a.m. Is there a tenant lined up for the Rock Island Plow Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. As of Tuesday, the answer was no.
Terry 11:10 a.m. Is upgrading utilities in downtown part of Project 180?. The reason I ask is that I read a comment from a guest who stayed at the Skirvin Hotel on that the Skirvin charges around $10 per Wifi connection per day. The hotel responded back that this was due to the hotel not having an efficient broadband provider. In a competitive market where quality hotels regularly provide free Wifi, and following a $50 million rehab of the Skirvin in 2007, it seems crazy they would have forgotten to update their broadband capacity. It's ironic that the Cox Convention Center 2 blocks away advertises fiber optic connections in the entire building when it will probably be torn down soon for other development options, yet the Skirvin is paying a premium just to get Wifi capacity. It only seems logical that while the streets are torn up for Project 180 they invest a bit more to upgrade downtown utilities to make downtown more competitive in today's market
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. If this is true.... come on now. We have very good technology infrastructure downtown. Hotels often charge for Internet. It's a revenue source for them. This is where, if you were in the room with me, you'd hear one of my classic sighs.
Concerned 11:12 a.m. How often do your sources suffer repercussions after talking with you?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. Never to my knowledge. I take source confidentiality and protection very seriously.
Guest 11:13 a.m. Did you look into the "promoter" situation for the guy from the granada in Dallas that is hoping to start a music venue next to Tower theatre? On Twitter, it looked like there may have been more to that situation than met the eye regarding his story.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. Yes. A current manager with the Granada challenged how much experience the local guy had. But there was also clearly some bad blood between the two, or at least the comments by the guy in Dallas seemed to have a personal edge. I tweaked a bit of the wording in my story, but otherwise, I'm staying out of that one.
david ball 11:14 a.m. Here's a vote that the tower theatre continue as a multi-purpose entertainment venue! (i.e. stage, music, movies)
Uptown Kim 11:15 a.m. Great article on all the new tenants moving into The Rise. However, I'm was discouraged to see that Anytime Fitness and At The Beach will be moving to Uptown, because I was hoping it would be all restaurants, bars and some retail. Of all the tenants announced what was your favorite?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. Flashback Retropub, New York Bagel and The Pump.
Uptown Kim 11:16 a.m. Does an Anytime Fitness or At The Beach really bring anything to the Uptown District? Or do you think they are a waste of space and take away from what this area could really be?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. They are service retailers that seem to have a customer base elsewhere in the city and aren't represented in Uptown.
Killer Joe 11:16 a.m. Would you buy one of my "Mystery Tower" t-shirts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. Price, design and size would determine my answer.
david ball 11:17 a.m. When I was a kid, we thought this place was horribly "hickish." what do the kids of today see as missing from this city, culturally?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. I think they want high-end retailers like Trader Joes, Ikea and Crate and Barrel. They want less Walmart and Sam's, more places like Costco. They want a real bar district (I say take the momentum along Classen Circle and really make it great). The ones I speak to are very unhappy with anti-gay stances taken by Gov. Mary Fallin and legislators like Sally Kern. But I also think the younger generation is pretty happy with the changes they've seen to date.
shawnw 11:20 a.m. Since you have seen Rainy's plans... can you tell us one thing? Will it be a Devon-level of iconic?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. I've not seen everything yet.
South OKC Guest 11:21 a.m. Good Morning, Steve! How will OKC's new vacant and abandoned building policy affect the city's real estate market? For instance, do you see the Walcourt owners finally giving in and selling? What about other vacant and abandoned buildings like the Marion?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Read my story in today's paper about the Marion - it's already about to be renovated and brought back to life. As for the Walcourt, it's going to require a special person to sell a vision to the lady who owns it. The new policy, if it is approved by the city council (it's only been introduced), may have a major impact on the real estate market, but I don't see it being a panacea.
Uptown Kim 11:23 a.m. In regards to the Tower Theater, if I read your article correctly someone wants to turn the retail front into a live concert venue? If so, what will the Tower Theater be turned into then?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Good question.
Guest 11:23 a.m. What are you writing about in your next big story? Be as vague or as specific as the story warrants.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Something really cool for this Sunday's paper.
Guest 11:23 a.m. Do you think something is going to happen with the Physicians Building or is it still occupied by physicians?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. I know of no deal pending.
Braden P 11:24 a.m. Good morning Steve! 'And Satan Came Also' was released last week (currently, I'm on page 19). How much do you think it decreases the value of those rare original publications? Agreed that it is definitely an awesome book!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Only 1,000 copies were printed of the re-release, and they're selling fast. I think the original copies will go down a bit in price, but not as much as you think.
Uptown Kim 11:24 a.m. Do you know who owns the empty lot across from the Tower Theater? Are they entertaining any offers for that location or looking to develop it on their own?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. It's the same family that owns the Tower theater.
South OKC Guest 11:25 a.m. The foodie in me wants to ask...any new food trucks coming our way?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. We're getting more new food trucks than I can track!
Tyler 11:25 a.m. I'M BAAACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. About time! By the way, I never realized that there is already a Waffle House within five minutes of downtown - at Eastern and Reno.
Tyler 11:27 a.m. I miss my dudes in central Jersey! You know who you are... BB, DR, and PW
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. Yes, everybody, Tyler and a crew of readers actually reside in New Jersey (where the country's best diners are located)
South OKC Guest 11:27 a.m. Last year, the Astros didn't seem all too pleased with their OKC Redhawks alliance. How many years left under the existing contract with them? Will they renew? Will OKC have a first-class ballpark with no AAA team?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. I think we'll have a team. But will alignments change? Very possibly.
South OKC Guest 11:28 a.m. Are there any plans for development south of the Dolese building at NW 10th (near the site of the former Lora Lane nursing home)? Boy, that really dates me?!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Nope.
Angad 11:30 a.m. Can you, in good conscious, allow your kids to play football with all of the concussion reports being released? How do you think this will effect (affect?) the big business of the NCAA and NFL in the long run?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. I'm not a sports guy. But I can tell you I don't allow my sons to play football.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. (When I say I'm not a sports guy, I mean I don't cover sports).
Drew 11:32 a.m. Any news on what restaurant might replace coaches in bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Nope.
david ball 11:32 a.m. could this chat become a regular two hour feature?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. I can't do two hours every Friday. But today it seems like it's going that way. Good grief... 418 people are logged in right now. The NewsOK gods are probably very happy at this moment (Tiffany, Herz, is there a magic number that will me a gift certificate?)
Sam 11:33 a.m. From a long term perspective, what do you believe OKC is still missing in order to further or cement it's development into a major business/metropolitan hub?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:34 a.m. The lack of being an airline hub is still a problem, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. So we simply have to get as many good air connections as possible.
Brandon 11:34 a.m. Whats the current status and timeline for the downtown park and taking more steps for the core to shore development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. I think some park improvements are set to begin in a year or so. I don't know that significant Core to Shore development can take place until after the park, convention center and boulevard are built. So it may be a few years.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. There's a question that several of you are asking, and quite frankly, I'm not able to answer it yet. But I will soon.
Soonerthanlater 11:36 a.m. In your blog post this morning you mentioned Devon's $6 billion purchase on having ramifications on downtown. What do you see on the horizon for this to truly have ramifications downtown? This established company in TX has less than 200 employees. Do you see Devon moving them here?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. I don't know the answer to this yet.
Sam 11:37 a.m. What can you tell us about plans to bring in major festivals/ conventions to the Convention center this year, and their possible impact on businesses in the Downtown area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. I know we're set to get the NCAA wresting tournaments, and I've seen first hand what a huge boost that audience is to downtown retail and restaurants.
Gary T 11:37 a.m. You did an article on the auto shop on the SW corner of 10th and Harvey a few weeks ago. Any update on this property?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Nope. But it's been staying clean.
Hmmmmm 11:38 a.m. In seven words or less what do you see being the biggest difference between the two candidates for Mayor? I'm not trying to pull a trick on you. I know you'll speak positive about them both--it's best for you to, I understand that.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. Seven words? No. No offense, but it's that approach that damages discourse in politics today.
Boomer 11:40 a.m. What are your thoughts on the new civic center park? I must say I am a little disappointed. Was expecting so much more.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:40 a.m. It doesn't seem to be getting used much. But it looks great in photos.
Side 11:41 a.m. Have you ever heard the city discuss the horrible smell that comes from the plant just south of the CHK Arena? Worse than being an eye sore, it provides a really smelly, unattractive entrance into downtown. Any way of regulating the smell?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. Nope.
Terry 11:41 a.m. You've mentioned before you'd like to see a SuperTarget or Home Depot in downtown. Both are great stores even if Home Depot or Lowe's tend to become a bit messy. These companies, however, prefer to build prototype single story stores with a sea of at grade parking with great freeway visibility and access. The high downtown real estate prices would probably prevent them from building a prototype store except on the fringe of downtown and the economy has currently led them to stop building their urban multi-story stores with parking garages in high density areas. Eventually they may decide to build more of these urban stores and if they do hopefully downtown's density has increased to the point they'd consider an urban store downtown. What I'd love to see would be a return of a large department store on Broadway such as the old J.A. Browns. Then we'd really know that downtown was back.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m.
david ball 11:43 a.m. when will opubco complete its move?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. Fall, 2014.
Guest 11:43 a.m. How confident are you that the next 30 days are going to be as exciting as the last 30 have been?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:43 a.m. Very.
Pajda 11:43 a.m. What's your favorite Christmas movie?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. "You'll shoot your eyes out kid!"
Chris 11:44 a.m. I'm amazed with how you keep up with it all. Thanks Steve
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. Thanks!
Happy Ruth 11:44 a.m. Sorry,late to the party. Are they opening a burrito joint next to the police station. Is it a taco bell. Can never have too many taco bells :)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:44 a.m. No burritos please at OCPD.
Guest 11:44 a.m. Do you feel your life has come full circle since you will soon be officing at the former Century Center in downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I don't know. It's something I've thought quite a bit about.
Happy Ruth 11:45 a.m. Speaking of food. You're more than welcome at my table on thursday ;) My family would be thrilled!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. You're very kind, but I have a wife, sons, mother, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews who might miss me at their table. (I hope)
Terry 11:46 a.m. It seems like the City should be doing more to help spur development of more retail on Broadway like finally painting the angled parking stripes in Automobile Alley and trying to reconnect downtown Broadway to Automobile Alley Broadway where they are split from each other at the jumbled up intersection of Broadway, 4th St., 3rd St. and EK Gaylord. Any idea if the City is planning on redoing that intersection such as how Jeff Speck envisioned. He suggested that EK Gaylord terminate at 3rd St., then 3rd St. reconnect to Dean McGee at Broadway. This would eliminate the wasted parcels of properties currently too cut up to be developed and would help bridge the gap between downtown and Automobile Alley while providing a better pedestrian experience throughout the area.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. I agree on the paint. Let's get the cans out this weekend and just get it done! As for the intersection.... city engineers don't want it changed.
Pajda 11:47 a.m. Weekly puppy gif:
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Is one of the puppies Tom Hanks?
Happy Ruth 11:48 a.m. i live on nw 9th street if you have time to stop by:)
eddie 11:48 a.m. guess i didn't have any good questions.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. No, you really didn't. But you seem like a nice guy.
david ball 11:48 a.m. do you have the opportunity to read all the questions that are submitted? I'll bet many don't make it before time is up.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. Some comments I omit because they are personal attacks on other chat participants. And when we hit two hours, yeah, those posted late sometimes don't get answered.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. And then there are the questions and comments by Eddie today, which were really odd.
CeCe 11:49 a.m. Any more details you can give us about the swift departure of the new Skirvin Hotel GM?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I don't feel comfortable sharing what I've heard. But I suspect city officials will have some serious questions to ask the folks at Marcus Hotels.
Guest 11:50 a.m. Do you think that whatever the Wormy Dog has planned will have a similar amount of seats to draw acts like the Tower (assuming that happens)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. Maybe more.
eddie 11:50 a.m. Been thinking about driving into the city for some italian food. Any recomendations?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Gabriella's is getting very good reviews. Vito's and Stella's are well regarded as well.
Ed 11:52 a.m. I ain't quite get my head wrapped around the character of the GE research center. Do you know if it will be primarily offices in the type structures we're quite familiar with or will it include unique special purpose buildings?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Be patient. It's not what you expect.
South OKC 11:52 a.m. What are OCU's plans for the Gold Star building now that the law school and library will occupy the former Central school in downtown OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. I was told this at one point and I can't recall now.
Happy Ruth 11:53 a.m. I'm starting to think BethanySooner is your girlfriend.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. BethanySooner could be a guy (Bethany is a suburb of OKC). And I'm happily married. Go fish.
Ronnie 11:53 a.m. I am looking forward to the 2nd week in December!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. That should be a good week.
Jessi 11:54 a.m. Has there been a per-capita analysis of how much the city of Oklahoma City has invested in downtown versus other parts of the city?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. Nope. But it's not in the lead by any means.
Alex Phillips 11:54 a.m. Who do you think you are, Steve? Seriously, WHO DO YA THINK YOU ARE!!!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I am Steve Lackmeyer
BethanySooner 11:55 a.m. You mentioned that the new GE Research Facility will be an incredible development. What kind of impact(s) do you see it having on the city?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. It will bring in new perception of our city as a place where national and international business is done.
Richard 11:55 a.m. Did the city ever consider switching the bass pro building with the parking lot during design stage to incorporate it into the canal in some way? seems like a lost opportunity
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Yep. But the developers resisted such plans.
BethanySooner 11:56 a.m. Are there any local developers working toward purchasing the First National Bldg? Also, it seems that someone was kicking around the idea of converting at least part of the annex buildings into structured parking. I'm guessing this would greatly help provide parking to that area of the CBD.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. List me as "hopeful" that better times are ahead for First National.
Concerned 11:56 a.m. So Grippo leaving the day after your article is a complete coincidence?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Absolutely.
Doctor Edgemere 11:56 a.m. Not to beat a dead horse here, but I travel a lot and in my experience the nicer the hotel the more they charge for wi-fi. Motel 6 = Free wifi, Luxury hotel = $10/day. Google "price discrimination"
Downtowner 11:57 a.m. The Skirvin and every other hotel downtown has more then efficient broadband for everyone downtown to have FREE Wifi. I know, I worked at one of the full service hotels downtown. The reason they charge for Wifi, is to make more money. My old boss told me once that as long as all of the other hotels, Skirvin, Renaissance, Colcord, Sheraton charged for wifi, so would we. It just seemed ridiculous to me that they charge people $10 per day and conferences $250 per day for WIFI...
AJ 11:57 a.m. Full service marriott's and Hilton's do not offer free wifi in any market except maybe in lobby's. And or for their elite program guests
Kevin 11:57 a.m. Is there any word on what is going in the building on NE corner of 10th and Broadway and NW corner? Also I own Four Star Fitness and Monday we open our doors at 911 N. Broadway. I would like to welcome everyone to come in and check it out. Thanks for your great downtown coverage.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. Kevin, I'll be doing a story on your place soon - sorry I've not made it there yet.
Guest 11:57 a.m. What do you think MidtownR has planned for their 10th St block? I know, I know, they've got a lot of other things going on, but that block is important. Do you think they'll develop the whole thing as housing or will we get a fuller development in terms of variety of uses for what they build? Perhaps a hotel joining the housing?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Just be patient...a lot is going on.
Guest 11:58 a.m. If I wanted to see Astros AAA baseball, I'd go to Houston ;)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Nice one.
Ty 11:58 a.m. Around the core to shore park there is a lot of lower income housing. Once the park is built will that remain or is that land going to be redeveloped?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. I don't know. It's a challenge and an opportunity that waits for us.
Brandon 11:58 a.m. Steve, would there ever be a chance of a mid-rise/high-rise residential tower,that had retail on the first couple of floors, in Bricktown? I say that, as long as it would keep up with the standard of it being a brick- type structure and to Bricktown standard.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. Probably not Bricktown.
Terry 11:59 a.m. I must have touched a nerve regarding the Skirvin and downtown utilities. So Solly Cholly. All I wanted was an answer as to whether or not performing utility upgrades was a part of Project 180?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. It's just that I don't think that you were really given an honest answer. My reaction wasn't to you. Utilities are being moved as part of 180, and there are upgrades that are ongoing.
Guest 12:00 p.m. What is holding up the Coach's ballpark redevelopment? Lack of interest from developers? High price tag?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. I don't know.
Rusty 12:00 p.m. How much better is Tulsa than OkC and can OkC ever hope to catch up?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. Hi Rusty from Tulsa!
Kevin 12:00 p.m. Last few weeks you have mentioned multiple times the angled parking on Broadway. Have you heard any chatter about the progress of this as of late?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. It's going very slow.....
Brandon 12:01 p.m. As a current OCU student, do you see any possibility of the streetcar reaching UpTown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Someday yes.
Alex Phillips 12:01 p.m. Who is your favorite poster on this site.... Besides Gary T?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. I don't have a favorite.
Guest 12:01 p.m. In reference to your blog post this morning, when do you think we start seeing some of these announcements? As early as next week?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:01 p.m. Sunday.
okcnhra 12:02 p.m. Just a comment: Had over 30 family members in town from Montana to New York to California for a funeral--all of them was amazed at the transformation of downtown OKC as most of them have been gone for over 15 years and the step-up that has been made. It was an easy two thumbs up!
Jimbo 12:02 p.m. In regards to Terry's comment- Target does build downtown locations- They have a 3 story Target in downtown Minneapolis, and I believe a Target in Manhattan. I know this, because I used to live in Minneapolis.
Guest 12:02 p.m. Has it been decided at least that the GE center will be in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:02 p.m. I think it will be in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. Folks, it's been two hours. I've got to log out now. Have a great weekend!
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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