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OKC Central Chat transcript, Oct. 25, 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: October 25, 2013 at 11:49 am •  Published: October 25, 2013

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

Steve Lackmeyer 9:29 a.m. Good morning everybody!
Steve Lackmeyer 9:31 a.m. My guest today is Jonathan Dodson, lender, vice president, decent guy with Legacy Bank. I've asked him to join us this morning because of his involvement in several prominent urban core projects. Any questions directed to him will get placed at the front of the line.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:31 a.m. I am going to start off with my own question for Jonathan - give us a list of some of the deals you are involved with or have assisted this past year or so.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:34 a.m. Dodson: Either completed or working on ... we're in the process of closing on the church in Heritage Hills for City Presbyterian. It's on 13th Street by the Oklahoma Heritage Association. We did the Orange Leaf/Pizza 23 building with Ben Sellers on NW 23. We did the Mideke Building with the Andy Burnett team in Bricktown. We're doing the Lisbon Lofts with James Ellison and Rod Baker in Midtown. We're doing infill housing with David Wanzer in Meadowbrook by Classen Curve. And we're also involved with Grant Humphreys' Carlton Landing (in Eufaula). Several other projects are in the works, but nothing I can make public.
CeCe 9:34 a.m. For Jonathan, are you seeing any new, younger developers coming onto the urban core development scene or is it mainly still the more established developers we hear about all the time?
Steve Lackmeyer 9:36 a.m. Dodson: I'm seeing a lot of creative Gen Xers who have really worked hard at finding ways of putting complex deals together. That would include guys like David Wanzer, Ben Sellers, James Ellison, Andy Burnett and many more. They've decided they can make a difference and a lot of them have decided they will keep working until they can get things put together. There are a lot of investors with money in Oklahoma City looking to provide equity in projects if they can find the right developer with the right concepts. A lot of my job is to help bring a younger developer into contact with someone who has capital and then work with them to also finance the deal.
Justin Henry 9:37 a.m. Good Morning, I am curious to what degree Mr. Dodson has seen the Oklahoma City Planning staff as helpful/hurtful when it comes to downtown development.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:39 a.m. Dodson: I would say that they really want to help and they're working to create as much efficiency as possible for projects. For younger developers who have never had to go through the process before it can seem daunting. But I've found when you have relationships with people in the planning department and with director Russell Claus, they can help you navigate those difficulties. They want to be helpful. Cathy O'Connor (president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City) and her team also are a great resource. They have a bit more freedom to help developers to find ways to get deals done.
Guest 9:40 a.m. Good morning, Mr. Dodson. Can you tell us if you'd be interested in working on a deal to revive Tower Theatre? If not, why would such a project not appeal to you?
Steve Lackmeyer 9:42 a.m. Dodson: Absolutely, given certain parameters, when I'm looking at a deal to finance, the first component is do I have a relationship with the developer and do I trust him? If we're able to get past that benchmark, then we start looking at the financial capacity of the borrower and the investors involved and the financial viability of a project. A lot of times on urban infill projects what ends up making a deal doable are tax credits, tax increment financing and other mechanisms that will help mitigate some of the risk. I strongly believe in 23rd Street and I think the traffic count and the current momentum should really help get a property like the Tower Theater off the ground.
John 9:43 a.m. For Jonathan Dodson, For smaller investors looking to start off in a $1-2M development, what would the % of capital would an individual need to typically bring to the table for the bank to feel comfortable. With and without a guaranteed tenant.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:46 a.m. Dodson: I would say that we need to ask first what is the product type? Is it office, retail, housing? Then we look at what the market demands are in that area. I've found that SBA 504 - small business loans provided by the government where the bank lends 50 percent, the Small Business Administration lends 40 percent and the borrower brings 10 percent of the project cost.... the 40 percent provided by the SBA is fixed for interest rates for the entire term of the loan. This provides several benefits. First, the borrower only has to bring 10 percent. They can mitigate some of their interest risk by getting a fixed interest rate. The bank is able to have an appropriate amount of leverage to get a deal complete. SBA will not do multi-family, but they are great for owner occupied spaces.
bubba gump 9:46 a.m. creative Gen Xers?
Steve Lackmeyer 9:47 a.m. Steve: Yes, Bubba, you must be a creative Gen Xer to get Jonathan's money!
John 9:47 a.m. For Steve and Mr. Dodson: What is the single largest hurdle that most developments face today in Oklahoma City? (Talent, Experience, Government, Finance, Land Acquisition, etc?)
Steve Lackmeyer 9:48 a.m. Dodson: I really don't think we've gotten to a point where rents are high enough to allow for massive redevelopment of our current stock of buildings. I think once the market strengthens to the point in the downtown core where we can recognize higher rents, you'll see buildings that were once not developable become very attractive for redevelopment.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:52 a.m. Steve: I do believe City Hall is a factor here. You have retail that is wanting to establish a continuous, strong presence along Automobile Alley Nobody disputes the street design needs to change to let that happen. The street is too wide, too fast, and parking is not friendly. Everyone seems to be in agreement that angled parking is the answer. Yet if the current timeline seems to hold, we will have seen a new downtown elementary designed, built and opened in less time then it is taking City Hall and the Automobile Alley property owners and merchants to figure out how to get a can of paint out to re-stripe the parking spaces so they are angled and not parallel. I will remind everyone public works had no difficulty trying to quickly re-paint Walker Avenue to remove the Project 180 bike lanes before I started asking questions and that adventure was halted.
BethanySooner 9:53 a.m. Good morning Mr Dodson. How is work progressing on the Mideke Building? Do you have a timeline for completion? Also, are you working with any of the other Bricktown property owners to develop upper floors in their buildings?
Steve Lackmeyer 9:54 a.m. Dodson: They're aggressively pursuing the start of the project. But I'll let the details to be answered by my friend Andy Burnett (the developer). In regard to other Bricktown development, I would say as Steve always says, "I'm hearing rumblings."
Steve Lackmeyer 9:54 a.m. Steve: I'm hearing rumblings.
BethanySooner 9:54 a.m. Mr Dodson since you are working with Grant Humphreys, could you tell us if he has a plan to eventually construct any more projects in OKC? I was specifically wondering whether the Flatiron project was completely dead, or just on the shelf until Carlton Landing matures a bit.
Steve Lackmeyer 9:56 a.m. Dodson: Grant made a commitment to Carlton Landing by moving his entire family out there and he wants to see that project succeed. Urban Land Institute is taking a bus tour there today to hear from Grant and his vision for the project. Needless to say, it has experienced much more success than I could have projected initially and I am very excited about the town he is creating. In regard to future development I learned to never underestimate the Humphreys but I would say time will tell if they end up doing anything with the Flatiron.
Terry 9:57 a.m. Mr. Dodson, How much interest are you seeing in Automobile Alley? The reason I ask is because I suspect that Broadway will soon become downtown's main shopping district. I say this, not because of any knowledge of new or future developments, but because of a feeling I've always had for the street. Even in the 70's and 80's when everyone was deserting downtown, exciting events still took place on Broadway, such as a rock concert by "Yes" in one of the large buildings. I believe the best approach is to let Broadway evolve naturally and homegrown. Local retailers, instead of national chains will keep it fresh and exciting. What do you think is the best approach?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:00 a.m. Dodson: Your feelings would be congruent with my perception of what is going on. I think the railway quiet zone will have a direct impact on development along with several projects that have yet to become public. I do hope we will keep a local feel and allow local retailers to succeed. There is something to placemaking that requires a certain sense of proximity and urban fabric - it needs to be local, especially for this generation, to feel authentic. The Midtown Renaissance Group has done a really good job along with Steve Mason in fostering this type of organic growth.
Terry 10:01 a.m. Do you think these rich investors would be willing to invest in Stan Ackerman's dream of a luxury golf resort along the Oklahoma River?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:01 a.m. Steve: Terry, neither Jonathan or I have heard about this, but we're intrigued to hear more.
Guest 10:01 a.m. for Jonathan, would you support an effort to widen the sidewalks and slow down the traffic on 23rd street? Secondly I thoroughly believe in the future of 23rd as a 'destination' street in OKC, but parking is going to be a problem. How do you best solve this while keeping the charm and vibe of the area? Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:03 a.m. Dodson: Currently we provide more space for trees than people along NW 23. My dream is to have 23rd Street altered in a way that allows it to become connected to the housing that surrounds it. This along with the problems along Classen keep 23rd from having a feel of being safe and easy to walk to. I believe the Institute for Quality Communities at OU is in discussions with the Uptown Association about this. I live in Gatewood and the most dangerous thing we do every week is cross Classen or 23rd.
John 10:04 a.m. Followup for Mr. Dodson. In a retail / commercial development, what would the typical process for the SBA lending be? Are most developments getting SBA money, like most mortgages get a government backing?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Dodson: The initial hoop to jump through is to determine whether or not SBA can play a role in the project. There are several SBA packages we have relationships with that we will call and determine whether or not its doable. Once this hurdle is cleared, then it comes down to the developer putting together business development plans, a strategy performa to prove up the viability of a project. I have seen SBA loans beginning to end in 90 days and I've seen it take 180 days.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. STEVE: FYI - We are now hearing the lovely blast of the trains NW 13. Yes - we hear you Mr Engineer!
Justin Henry 10:07 a.m. For Mr. Dodson, Are there any districts where you would like to invest in development but are not seeing enough proposals?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:07 a.m. Dodson: Yes. But maybe we should have this conversation over a cup of coffee.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. Steve: Justin, you are a very clever man. You made Jonathan laugh nervously. Trying to get a deal done over live chat are we?
CeCe 10:08 a.m. For Jonathan, what biggest piece of advice could you give to many of us aspiring young developers who want to break into the field?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:10 a.m. Dodson: It takes a lot of hard work and patience. I've found that the young developers who are starting to see fruit have been tilling the soil for the past six years. There will always be an easy project to chase after. But I truly believe the projects that have the greatest capacity to create change in Oklahoma City take both time and creativity. If those two concepts are in place, then usually the money becomes available.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:12 a.m. Steve: Let's use Lisbon Lofts as an example here. I'll admit I've delayed for years, literally, writing about this project because I knew it had hurdles to overcome and I didn't want to give premature coverage only for it to not happen. I am a big fan of the developer James Ellison, and I didn't want to hurt his project or his own journey into the real estate world. I promise I will be doing a story on his project soon now that it is set to become a reality. But Jonathan, this has been one of those long journeys you spoke of involving a younger developer. Can you share with us what was learned with the Lisbon Lofts?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. Dodson: I would say that in this case along with the Mideke Building I worked along side the developers for almost two years a piece. Legacy Bank was willing to be creative. Each time we hit a hurdle, instead of James Ellison giving up, he buckled up and went back to St. Anthony or the city to find a creative way to keep the project from dying. Rod Baker and his presence in Oklahoma City was instrumental to the deal getting done. James is incredibly intelligent to align himself with someone as respected as Mr. Baker. This provided instant credibility to a project many wondered as to whether it would ever happen. Another component to this is the fact St. Anthony was so willing to be a investor in the community around it. Had they not worked with Mr. Baker and Mr. Ellison, this deal would have never gotten off the ground. The equity part of the deal is a combination of both Murrah recovery funds and the land owned by St. Anthony.
Mark 10:16 a.m. for dodson: what made lisbon lofts so attractive to you?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Dodson: I'd say the redevelopment of an area that I thought could be very successful. Obviously I did not know that Gary Brooks would be putting down a killer multi-family development right next to it. (STEVE'S NOTE - Read my exclusive story here: The need and the market coupled with my degree of respect for Mr. Baker and the relationship I have with James Ellison made it almost imperative for us to find a financially viable way to do the project.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. STEVE: How important is to have a banker (like yourself) who lives in the neighborhood and is passionate about the area's redevelopment in projects getting financed?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. Dodson: I find that the people doing the projects I most care about area also the people I most care about developing projects with, so that when your vision for an area can align with what you are paid to do, you become a very blessed man.
Justin Henry 10:22 a.m. Steve or Jonathan, How important do you see affordable housing as a component of future development in the urban core?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. DODSON: I think its incredibly important. I feel like it's an issue both Cathy O'Connor and Russell Claus rightly view as gravely important to the future make up of our urban core. So many cities have done it wrong. And I hope we are able to learn how to integrate different socio-economic groups because that is what makes downtown so much fun and a cool place to be.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. STEVE: To see how this divide has become a problem in an otherwise great downtown, read this story about downtown Denver:
Steve Lackmeyer 10:25 a.m. DODSON: We have such a great opportunity put before us right now to actually be thoughtful about the needs of those with less. I pray we don't miss this opportunity.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. STEVE: The Mideke Building conversion to housing (financed by Legacy Bank) includes 12 affordable units.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. DODSON: Gary Brooks and Andy Burnett also have tried to be very deliberate in trying to keep housing costs down with their Steel Yard project in east Bricktown.
Mark 10:27 a.m. For Dodson: which area of town do you think has the brightest future development wise within the next 10 years and why. thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. DODSON: That's hard. Several areas come to mind. I think east of Broadway Extension and health sciences district is going to see continued success. The SoSA (or Cottage district of Midtown) will look drastically different than it does now. The Farmers Market will continue to see growth. And this doesn't even include projects like Core to Shore, Downtown Airpark, etc.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:30 a.m. STEVE: My prediction - the next big urban success stories are set to take in the neighborhood at NW 18 and Walnut, Farmers Market and Classen-10-Penn.
Guest 10:30 a.m. Mr. Dodson, would you take on something like First National were a willing developer to step up with a redevelopment proposal?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. STEVE: Jonathan, careful! (I think he's choking on something ....)
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. DODSON: I'm always willing to talk.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. STEVE: First National won't be easy. It will require an unprecedented public-private partnership that will dwarf the heroic efforts that made redevelopment of the Skirvin Hotel possible. I predict the cost of a proper redevelopment will top $80 million.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. STEVE: That's no small deal.
Guest 10:33 a.m. Steve, can we get you to start hounding City Hall about painting Broadway then?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:33 a.m. STEVE: City engineers are likely already grumbling about my comparison of timelines with the downtown elementary school.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. STEVE: Dear City Hall engineers - I still love you.
Mark 10:34 a.m. steve... new midtown project. woah!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. Whoa! Indeed.
guest 10:35 a.m. Mr Dodson are you aware of any projects going on that have an eye for the artistic contribution through structures as well as the practical contribution? Is anyone developing or building from scratch patently "beautiful" buildings that contribute to our downtown landscape?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:35 a.m. STEVE: He's thinking this one over. You guys amaze me.... your questions this morning are incredible.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:37 a.m. DODSON: Beautiful can take different forms. I see some of the younger generation grasping the fact that a building is not an abstract steel structure dropped from outer space but rather has a relationship to the people, to the streets, and to the end user. I know several projects are trying to take this into account that are in the beginning stages. I also know men like Richard McKown would love to find more ways to incorporate art and beauty into the structures and urban framework of Oklahoma City.
Interested 10:38 a.m. For Mr. Dodson: You mentioned infill housing near Classen Curve. I live close to Classen Curve and Nichols Hills Plaza and am really distressed about everything being empty and sitting vacant for so long. Are you working with anyone on improvement in those areas? Also, why isn't anyone working on revitalizing businesses along May Avenue? It seems to be a hodge-podge mess from 10th Street to 122nd Street when it was once a major business corridor.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:40 a.m. DODSON: My projects are primarily concerned with housing near Classen Curve, but I'm hoping someone will purchase the project and have a vision for the community like Mr. McClendon did when he developed these projects. In regard to May Avenue, I totally agree with you. I lived in The Village and in Crestwood and hate to see what it has become. My primary fear is that it will have to get so bad that people will be able to financially justify the purchase price, scrape the buildings, and then put something back up that has a much more thoughtful perspective in relationship to pedestrian or human environment. There are still many great restaurants and retailers along May Avenue, but I feel your pain.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:41 a.m. STEVE: OK. So I know a lot of you like to check in just to see if say something that might catch you off guard. Here's one of those moments: don't be surprised if the ultimate buyer of Classen Curve and Nichols Hills Plaza ends up being......
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. STEVE: Hey Jonathan, how's that coffee?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. STEVE: The ultimate buyer of Classen Curve and Nichols Hills Plaza, I suspect .... will be Aubrey McClendon.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:42 a.m. STEVE: This just made Jonathan very happy.
Guest 10:44 a.m. Mr. Dodson, can you confirm that the Lisbon Lofts projects is actually happening? There have been rumblings that it isn't.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:44 a.m. DODSON: I'm planning on financing it, we've committed to financing it, so I'm hoping your rumblings are just indigestion. Take Tums.
Mark 10:45 a.m. Mr. Dodson, with the downtown elementary school coming online by next school year, have you heard any rumblings about the expansion of urban, single family residences (town home like buildings) in and around the downtown area? Or do you see the elementary school's future as just for parents who commute from the suburbs to downtown? Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:46 a.m. DODSON: It's the former. I think there are projects that should allow for families with children to move to the downtown area.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. STEVE: Jonathan is getting me a new hot tea. He's a full-service banker.
Gary T 10:48 a.m. Hi Mr. Dodson, question from a fellow banker: Is your bank being approached by very many potential customers from outside the state of Oklahoma because of what they are seeing in the ways of development here? The Metropolitan is the first apartment complex I am aware of done entirely with tax credits and by a company/person not in Oklahoma.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. STEVE: Before Jonathan answers, let me correct one thing - I am not aware of Houston-based Bomasda Group, which is developing the Metropolitan, asking for any tax credits or tax increment financing assistance.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. DODSON: I personally have had very little contact with out of state investors. But I am aware of several large investors including Milhaus Development, working with Gary Brooks as having expressed interest in downtown Oklahoma City. It's going to be a very difficult task for both Cathy O'Connor, Russell Claus and city planning to determine the appropriate number of housing units to be put downtown. As Steve has said before, we really need to update our downtown housing study.
Terry 10:52 a.m. Mr. Dodson, with all the housing being built in Deep Deuce, Midtown and Bricktown, do you think this will create a glut in the downtown housing market and play a part in preventing or slowing residential development along the future core-to-shore park and riverfront?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:53 a.m. DODSON: Great question. We have to be careful in playing the tension between new growth and absorption. The city seems very committed to making Core to Shore happen. But I'm not aware at this time of any developer who wants to go in because they see so many opportunities still within the downtown core. However, in three to five years this may change.
Jennifer 10:54 a.m. Mr. Dodson, since you live in Gatewood (as do I) what do you think of the Plaza District development and what is next?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. DODSON: Are you stalking me? (laughing) I love it, other than my neighbors, it's the No. 1 reason why we moved to Gatewood. I don't think that parking is as big of an issue as people are saying. (former assistant city planner) A.J. Kirkpatrick and others have pointed out several ways to improve parking along NW 16. All the restaurants there seem to be doing very well. And it definitely has a very cool vibe. I'm hopeful we will continue to see strong development that will continue to link Classen-10-Penn and Gatewood because of the revitalization completed by both Susan Hogan (an early pioneering advocate of the Plaza District) and (Plaza District director) Kristen Vails. We're really starting to see Millennials like Dustin Akers see the potential staking their claim in the area.
Will 10:57 a.m. Steve and/or Dodson: Have traveled to several other cities in the nation over the past 3 years and have noticed that okc has pretty much anything a young person could ask for except for a really eclectic local bar district. Do you think updated liquor licensing and zoning laws could kickstart this? I could definitely see 23rd becoming something like 6th or south congress in Austin. Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:59 a.m. DODSON: A change in liquor laws would be a great start. I have traveled quite a bit and love our city. But I believe we are still behind cities like Fort Worth, Kansas City not to mention Austin, Portland and other cities like that.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. STEVE: I love Kansas City and Fort Worth, which I have visited recently. We have much to learn from them. I also believe we can learn from Tulsa and Wichita.
Alarmed 11:00 a.m. Mr. Dobson, How do you think the new Gary Brooks project on Shartel, which I think is 3x too big for that area; will affect infill. Especially SOSA and The Lisbon development.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. DODSON: In the past James Ellison has always said "the more transient people moving to Midtown to see what it is like, the more will fall in love and want to buy." I agree with his assessment ... time will have to tell on the size. I don't think I have the perspective at this time. I do know there are very few places in Oklahoma City right now we could truly consider to be too dense. I also think Tad Miller with Milhaus development has had incredible success in Indianapolis doing similar projects. He obviously believes this i the appropriate size along with Gary Brooks. So I take confidence in that.
okcpulse 11:04 a.m. I have a question for Dodson. What is the feasibility of developing a mixed use tower with a group of floors dedicated to residential and the remainder dedicated to office. Is this being done a lot in other oarts of the country? What are the chances of getting a project like this going in OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. DODSON: We are seeing some small mixed use projects. But a large scale mixed use project requires increased rent rates to justify the development cost. There is a reason why several of the multi-family projects in downtown Oklahoma City have remained at four stories high. That allows them to be stick built, which greatly decreases the cost. Indianapolis and Denver are two great examples of cities where rents are over $2 a square foot and thus you see some really creative structures in their downtown markets.
Guest 11:06 a.m. Who is Rod Baker?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. DODSON: Rod Baker is a principal owner of Baker First, a full service boutique real estate company. He has been in Oklahoma City for 25 years and has specialized in retail and office space.
Terry 11:07 a.m. Regarding Stan Ackerman's dream of a luxury golf resort on the Oklahoma River, I've researched and found 3 sites along the river large enough for his luxury golf resort which would include a Ritz type hotel. Site 1 is the land along both banks of the river between Meridian and Portland. Site 2 is the vacant land on the south bank of the river between Western and Walker. Site 3 is a series of adjoining parcels north of the river between Ne 4th and NE 23rd. All 3 sites have pros and cons. The largest con being that all 3 have questionable neighborhoods surrounding them, but the potential is there for all 3. It would take a huge investment, and I'm sure it could never happen without a huge improvement in the economy, but if Stan was thinking it was possible, then why not?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. STEVE: I think we need to learn more about this to answer.
Guest 11:08 a.m. Mr. Dodson, can you comment on the Downtown Airpark development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. DODSON: I am excited about it.
Gary T 11:09 a.m. Mr. Dodson, have you been involved in any buildings of the new houses in the SOSA district? What are your thoughts on that area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. DODSON: I am working on several projects in the area. Lot prices have gone from $30,000 to $100,000 in the course of a 48-month period. Let''s just say I"m bullish.
CeCe 11:10 a.m. Steve, I just read article about Denver you posted. Do you think downtown OKC may suffer the same unintended fate of becoming an "elitist core" as Denver is strongly progressing toward? Regardless, what steps do you think the downtown community can do to combat that?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. STEVE: If we're not careful, absolutely. We have to be vigilant starting yesterday.
Mark 11:11 a.m. Since our questions have been so good this morning care to give us a 'treat'... Such as a good rumor or preliminary renderings of the stage center tower? :)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. STEVE: No.....
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. STEVE: You guys are greedy.
Interested 11:11 a.m. Is it a good thing that Aubrey McClendon repurchases NH Plaza and Classen Curve? After all, he is the one who single-handedly drove out every successful business in the Plaza who had been there for decades. Isn't anyone afraid of his clear-cut approach to development?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. STEVE: His vision wasn't finished.
Guest 11:12 a.m. Can Aubrey fulfill his original vision for Classen Curve and more importantly NH Plaza? Where does it go from here?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. STEVE: Never bet against Aubrey McClendon.
Guest 11:12 a.m. Any informaiton on The Oklahoman moving it's offices downtown as far as time frame or completion date?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. STEVE: I am told it will be middle of next year.
Gary T 11:12 a.m. Sorry Steve for my post at 10:49, I meant without tax credits and just got ahead of myself. My apologies.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. STEVE: I figured.
Guest 11:13 a.m. Mr. Dodson, if someone approached you about financing a midrise housing project in the range of 12-15 stories, would that be a project you think OKC would/could support at this time?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. DODSON: Yes, given the location and equity of the project if it is highly leveraged. We would really have to work through whether a 15-story mid-rise can cash flow with current rental rates in place.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:14 a.m. STEVE: If current trends continue, it will happen within the next few years (Jonathan agrees)
Steve Lackmeyer 11:15 a.m. STEVE: We've got to go now. Any last comments or interesting projects you want to share Jonathan?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. Jonathan: I'm most excited about the pop-up tents with Allison Barta-Bailey being set up in Midtown for this holiday season. I can honestly say I've never used geodesic domes as collateral. But let's just say she's going to kill it this year. It will be a great amenity brought to the Midtown neighborhood.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:16 a.m. STEVE: Were you able to keep a straight face when you brought this deal to your boss?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. DODSON: He's putting his finger across his mouth as if to hush me up. I'm starting to wonder if his boss kno..... hey .... quit messing with the keyboard!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. JONATHAN: Legacy has been very supportive of financing both projects and yet standing behind people. Steve can't return right now. He says have a great weekend.
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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