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OKC Central Chat transcript, Oct. 4, 2013

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: October 4, 2013 at 11:58 am •  Published: October 4, 2013

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

Steve Lackmeyer 10:02 a.m. Good morning everybody.
Gary T 10:03 a.m. In regards to your story today about the Duncan's Bindery, I am glad to finally see some work done to that major artery in the city. Do you think this was helped by the fact that the Metropolitan is being built right south down the street or was it in the works before that was even announced?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:05 a.m. Nope. This was in the works long before the Metropolitan was even an idea. Tarena Self began searching for a downtown home in 2009, and this property came up as a possibility not long after that. This area is about to experience massive change, not just with the Metropolitan and Duncan's Bindery, but also with plans by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to redo the NW 10/I-235 junction, and continued whispers that OG&E may move the power substation at NW 10 and Oklahoma Avenue to a less visible spot (that also will allow them to build a newer, bigger substation to serve a growing downtown).
Gary T 10:05 a.m. What affect will KD's permanent move to Deep Deuce have on the neighborhood?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:06 a.m. Nicer cars will be seen driving through the neighborhood?
I imagine it won't hurt sales momentum at The Hill, but truthfully, the development was already selling quite well before the Durant announcement. The Hill is on target to have 50 town homes built this next year, with more to come. They are one-third through the master plan of 157 residences.
Gary T 10:07 a.m. From previous chats last week, we are looking at four other possibly locations for either a commercial or residential tower not including the Cox Center redevelopment or the Stage Center site already announced: NW/C of Robert S Kerr and Hudson, South of Stage Center, EKG and Broadway and C2S. Are there any other areas you have heard about that you can discuss?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:08 a.m. I don't think I've listed all those sites as definite tower sites - just possibilities based on current trends. But those are the top possibilities for sure.
Rachel 10:08 a.m. Hi Steve! Are there any immediate plans for any new retail stores to open in downtown OKC?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. Yes. Actually, we're seeing quite a few stores opening up along Automobile Alley - so many that I've not really kept up!
Guest 10:09 a.m. Last week you said, "Stay tuned..." in regards to the GE Oil & Gas Research Center. Was that a negative hint as in this deal is dead or they are looking at another city now? Or was it a positive hint as in we may finally find out where it's going to locate?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. I'm not worried.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. In the Newsok energy chat on Tuesday, Jay F. Marks said "Enable (Midstream) intends to keep the principal offices of the gathering and processing leadership team will be in Oklahoma City, while the interstate pipeline’s principal offices will be in Houston. The principal office of the executive management team is also expected to be in Oklahoma City." What could this mean for DT OKC and the size of a mystery tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:09 a.m. I think it means we don't lose and we stand to gain.
Gary T 10:09 a.m. Let's assume the worst and say Sandridge is bought and moved out of OKC. Do you think that would be as big of a hit to the DT office market as it would have been five years ago?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:15 a.m. No. I think downtown is in a much better position to fill large chunks of Class A office space than it has been since the early 1980s oil boom. As for SandRidge, I'd caution against making any assumptions, But the hedgefund that staged the shareholder coup against former CEO Tom Ward, TPG-Axon Capital, has increased its holdings in the company. And TPG-Axon Capital prior to the coup suggested the company might be sold. They later promised they were dedicated to keeping the company in Oklahoma City as the public relations battle intensified with Ward. But financial analysts warned against taking such promises to heart.
Gary T 10:16 a.m. The trails portion of MAPS3 was supposed to start this year. Where does that stand?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:16 a.m. Good question. I don't know. Let's find out...
Rachel 10:20 a.m. Is there any chance Oklahoma City could get a Crate and Barrel (or anything similar) one of these days? Please say yes. :)
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Yes.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:20 a.m. Oklahoma City is finally getting on the radar of quite a few upscale retailers.
Gary T 10:20 a.m. Is there anything planned for the area between the Maywood apartments on 4th street and northern brownstones?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:21 a.m. Yes. Expect all of that property to be developed as housing within the next couple of years.
GUEST 10:21 a.m. What exactly is being built east of the CHK parking garages on NW 63rd? Large white modern structure on the south side of the road, next to the train tracks.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:22 a.m. I'm pretty sure that's part of the Chesapeake campus, maybe the data center you are referring to. The company is wrapping up construction started under former CEO Aubrey McClendon.
BR 10:22 a.m. Have you noticed that the streetlights along the crosstown aren't lit up in the early morning but they can still manage to light the ugly whatever it is across the road? There was a cop in a car sitting in the left breakdown lane this morning that is lucky he didn't get hit hiding there and I hit some road debris right after that I never saw until I got right up on it. It's not really safe
Steve Lackmeyer 10:23 a.m. I'll contact ODOT to find out why this is happening. I have no idea what the "ugly whatever it is" is that you are referring to.
Terry 10:23 a.m. Hi Steve, What could happen to the $13.5 million federal grant if the Brewers won't agree to a purchase price for the Santa Fe Depot?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:24 a.m. I've talked to those involved, and it appears as if there is little risk that the Brewer challenge will last very long.
reader 10:24 a.m. I checked out the Regatta last night and wondered when the Foundation would invest more money in parking. Are they waiting for everything to be built up first? Why not go ahead and start paving for parking if they plan to have so many events in the area each year?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:26 a.m. Do you want a river lined up with parking? That's the challenge here - creating a vibrant riverfront that can attract large crowds, yet isn't one big surface parking lot. The Boathouse Foundation is aware of the parking challenge, and they are planning to possible create some parking lots on the south side of the river just west of the Lincoln Bridge that will be served by shuttles.
They were also hoping to establish boat shuttles that could bring people up and down the river and the Bricktown Canal, but the Union Pacific Railroad has complicated that plan.
Far North Gates 10:27 a.m. I mean this is the most sincere way. As a Gaillardia resident I found your article on Kevin Durant a bit off. I understand promoting that he is downtown and investing more in downtown. That helps the image of OKC. However, why did you feel to end your story in a negative way on Gaillardia when in fact you didn't report it properly? The Neighborhood and the Development are not in receivership. The clubhouse, only, is. Were you meaning to imply that KD is moving due to the financial hardships of the Clubhouse?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:27 a.m. I was only noting that the county club was in receivership, not the neighborhood. I was implying nothing, just noting what is taking place.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. This is what I wrote:
"Gaillardia, meanwhile, has seen the development's country club placed with a receiver."
Guest 10:29 a.m. Is there another project coming up just north of the Calvary Baptist Church/Law firm?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:29 a.m. Yes. Level developer Richard McKown hopes to build more housing on the property.
John 10:29 a.m. I realize this it totally off target, but figure you might have a good answer, why is there still a Harrigan's sign on the old 240 and Penn location
Steve Lackmeyer 10:31 a.m. It's a tribute to a restaurant chain that was once really good?
I don't know - it certainly shows the challenge that exists along the corridor - some property owners who may not understand the downside of reminding passersby of failed businesses. To read more about efforts to help I-240, I recommend this story last year by Oklahoman Real Estate Editor Richard Mize:
Steve Lackmeyer 10:32 a.m. You can read the ULI report on I-240 here:
Terry 10:33 a.m. In your article about the Santa Fe Depot you mentioned the Brewers attorney argued the city could not show it intends to use the depot to facilitate "intermodal transportation" defined as "the movement of people involving more than one mode of transportation during a single, seamless journey." I'm not clear what that means, but it sounds like the Brewers are saying the streetcar system stopping right outside the depot doesn't qualify as a "single, seemless journey". Sounds like the Brewers would only qualify the Amtak and streetcar as intermodal if the Amtrak trains magically transport themselves from the Santa Fe tracks to the streetcar tracks and morph themselves into streetcars and back again. I think what the Brewers really want is more money than what the city is offering. What's your take?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:34 a.m. The Brewers at this point, from what I understand, are most concerned that the city won't end up abandoning it's transit hub project and will instead then seek out redevelopment proposals. With the $13.6 million federal grant provided to assist in the transit hub project, I'm not sure why that remains a concern.
Curious 10:34 a.m. Which News Channel (television) do you typically watch the most in the OKC market?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:39 a.m. I flip around. I think that Alex Cameron at KWTV and Phil Cross at KOKH are the best investigative reporters on TV, so I'll always try to catch their work. I'm not a big fan of hyped up, sensationalized weather, so I find KOCO has maintained the anti-hype with Damon Lane that was routinely provided by his predecessor, Rick Mitchell. I find very little reason, otherwise, however, for watching KOCO. My favorite morning news show is on KAUT with Joleen Chaney, Emily Sutton and Lucas Ross - they tend to provide a nice mix of news, weather and fun. I will sometimes flip to Rusty Surette for breaking news in the morning on KWTV. I also have great respect and admiration for Linda Cavanaugh and Kelly Ogle.
Terry 10:39 a.m. What happened to OKC's public school system? I graduated from John Marshall High School in 1972 and it was a pretty good school. Not a great one maybe in comparison to other cities, but I definitely had some quality teachers. Without good public schools, OKC will have trouble bringing in quality companies to relocate or start up their businesses in OKC.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. White flight hit in the 1970s. Then voters chose to not approve any bond issues for quite a few years. Families became less involved in their kids' lives, quit doing parent-teacher nights, quit being active in PTOs. Some of this isn't by choice - there are a lot of working poor out there who are having to take on multiple jobs in an economy where once well-paying manufacturing jobs no longer exist, meaning those who didn't pursue a good college education are increasingly challenged in getting ahead. If you want to see a change, get involved. Call John Marshall High School and see if there are opportunities to volunteer your time.
Brent 10:43 a.m. When Larry Nichols gave his reservations about the streetcar, was he really against the entire streetcar concept or just that overhead wires may be used?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:43 a.m. He doesn't like the wires.
Brent 10:43 a.m. Just curious, do you know the current layout inside the Union Station building, open floor plan, closed offices, etc.? Would it lend itself to a kind of Boston Quincy Market type setup at the end of the park?
10:47 a.m.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:47 a.m. Yes, the offices added in the middle of the depot can be removed.
10:48 a.m.
10:48 a.m.
Terry 10:48 a.m. I don't know what they call this area, but it sure would appear ripe for development since it's so close to everything: the Medical Center, The State Capitol, downtown, Bricktown, Deep Deuce, Automobile Alley and the Interstates 235, 35 and 40. It's the area just east of Deep Deuce and I-235, bounded on the south by the RR tracks, on the north by NE 8th and to the east by Washington Park and Kelley Ave. There's a ton of empty lots, many with nice big trees. I'm not sure what happened to the neighborhood or how it ended up with so many vacant lots. Maybe urban renewal reared it's ugly head here too. Whatever it was, I could see this area developed any number of ways. Do you know if anything is planned there?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. You are referring to the John F. Kennedy Neighborhood, and if you take a closer look, you will see that dozens of new homes have been built along NE 4 and Bath. It is an area that is in play.
sooner than later 10:50 a.m. Do you foresee any bridges being added from downtown going east to the Health Science campus? It seems like the two areas could benefit from another one or two main roads over 235.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:50 a.m. Nope.
TedMatt 10:50 a.m. What are the development plans for main street west of the Devon parking garage? Specifically the block south of main between Hudson and Walker? It's a blight.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:51 a.m. Yep. Don't be surprised if a tower is built there someday.
Hank 10:51 a.m. What are your thoughts on how project 180 is going?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. For whatever reason, city officials started Project 180 insisting their agreement with Devon Energy required that it all be completed by 2014. But at the very start, I heard back from executives at Devon that their main interest was just that the Myriad Gardens and the streets immediately around their new headquarters were to be done by 2014. The city rushed through at an unprecedented rate, businesses were hurt, some closed due to streets that were torn up but then left alone as problems ensued (too much haste?). Quality control issues are emerging at the Myriad Gardens, on the streets, and now, after all this, we're finding out Project 180 won't wrap up now until 2017. There also was no coordination, that I know of, with planning for the MAPS 3 streetcar system.
Montreal 10:55 a.m. Hey Steve, what effect do you see the new downtown elementary school and OCU Law School on after-business-hours pedestrian street life? I think having very different cohorts of people who don't necessarily operate on the M-F business schedule will make downtown and surrounding areas much more vibrant.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:55 a.m. I agree with you 100 percent. I think the impact of the new schools will far exceed anything we can imagine.
Brent 10:56 a.m. On a previous energy chat, the energy guys said they didn't think Enable midstream would be the anchor in the Stage Center tower (they would be in Leadership Square). Any idea of a timeline when we will find out who the anchor of Stage Center may be?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. More details about the tower on Stage Center are likely to emerge this winter.
Terry 10:56 a.m. What's the plan with the Century Center Plaza? That building has never fit architecturally with downtown and to think they destroyed the prettiest buildings in OKC to build it: the Criterion Theater, the State Theater and the Baum Building. Whatever they do they must bring the building envelope closer to the street and open the building up to pedestrian access directly from the sidewalks.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:56 a.m. The building is set to become the new home of the Oklahoma Publishing Co.
10:58 a.m.
Montreal 10:58 a.m. Rumor has it that Norman shot itself in the foot with two competing proposals for the GE research facility. From what I've heard, it's OKC's to lose.
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. I am not worried.
Stephen 10:58 a.m. Has a groundbreaking date been set for the next downtown tower?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:58 a.m. no
Bill 10:59 a.m. There is a lot of residential properties that are going to be popping up in the next couple of years. Oklahoma City University: School of Law is moving downtown within the next couple of years. With that being said, do you think any of these residential properties will be affordable for law students?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:00 a.m. Yes. Workforce housing is being developed in Bricktown with the Mideke Building and the Steel Yard and at the Carnegie Library apartments. As more apartments get built, expect rents to steady or drop a bit at the older Deep Deuce apartments.
Mark 11:00 a.m. Steve who owns the lot just east of the duncan building? This now seems like a prime spot for a redevelopment opportunity!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. East? If it's immediately adjacent, Tarena Self owns both properties.
Guest 11:01 a.m. How many developers have contacted the City to save the Film Exchange Building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:02 a.m. Three have contacted me, two have indicated to me they are set to contact city staff. I am certain as to whether city staff will encourage or discourage them from making proposals. This is a matter that may require more attention from interested residents and the city council.
Mark 11:02 a.m. Steve, drove through soSA (NW 7 and Shartel area) the this past Wednesday and WOW I could almost feel the potential this neighborhood has, I think it is going to be something very special one day. Do you think it is too late to get in there and buy cheap, redo, and sell big? thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. Cheap? I'm not sure. You can try. But if you're looking for a similar opportunity, and you fully understand what it takes to be an urban pioneer, look at Classen-10-Penn adjacent to the Plaza District.
Mark 11:03 a.m. Also, has ground broken on Lisbon Lofts, and who is that developer? Have you spoken with him/her about thoughts on the future of the area
Steve Lackmeyer 11:03 a.m. An update is needed and will come soon.
JR 11:03 a.m. What's going on next to Kaiser's?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:04 a.m. Expansion of St. Anthony Hospital.
11:05 a.m.
Gary T 11:05 a.m. When can we expect the firehouse residence in Deep Deuce to start construction? Do you think there will be more like it built in the area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:05 a.m. I need to follow up on that with Ron Walters. I think if he is successful with the project, yes, more will follow.
Mark 11:05 a.m. Have you seen the ODOT plans for the 10th/235 intersection?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Yes. I will do an update soon.
Belz 11:06 a.m. Other than a possible boutique hotel, does Nick Preftakes have any real plans for his block, or is his position total speculation from a buy and hold point of view ? Let's just say his plans all along have been to just flip the properties ? Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Not sure where you're getting a boutique hotel from. Expect a tower...
Gary T 11:06 a.m. When do you think we will start to see more activity on building on either side of the Central Park? Will we have to wait until it is started? Partially done? Completely done?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Not sure. Probably in the next couple of years.
Mark 11:07 a.m. If you were OGE where would you put a substation that is out of the way but still able to serve a large and growing downtown
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Probably by Dolese.
Gary T 11:08 a.m. Any idea what Rand Elliott plans to do with the old Leo's?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Yes, but I'm not going to share what it is.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Rand hasn't shared anything with me - I just have my suspicions.
Mark 11:08 a.m. When is ground going to break on the OCU boathouse? Hopefully once they get things rolling OU will quickly follow!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:09 a.m. I think you mean the UCO boathouse, and I believe it's set to start this next year.
Mike Wright 11:09 a.m. Steve, your articles are always great to read. I live in Norman, it seems that the university here imposes its plans, such as for Lindsey Street without public input. Do you think the OU medical school will likewise impose its will for urban projects. I tend to think its the leadership of the school. What are your thoughts specifically with the possibility of a streetcar expansion to the medical school?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:10 a.m. I think everyone agrees that a streetcar extension to the OU Medical School and the Health-Sciences Center is a priority. As for universities tending to push for preferred infrastructure and planning, well, this is nothing new or anything unique to OU.
BR 11:10 a.m. ugly thing across the road is that statue bridge scrap iron looking thing. I'm sure some people love it but I miss the point I guess. Thanks for checking. Those lights sure need to be on.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:11 a.m. You don't like the Skydance Bridge? Are you a Communist?
BethanySooner 11:11 a.m. Hey Steve. From the outside looking in it doesn't seem as though many new companies - excluding restaurants and small retailers - have been added recently to the downtown area. I was under the impression that there were multiple companies looking to relocate? Am I missing something? Have things gone south in recent months?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. No. Things have not gone south. There is no Class A office space. There is no parking left. The city and downtown leadership is scrambling to address this.
Terry 11:13 a.m. I'm a bit conflicted by the Film Exchange Building. At first I liked Hargreaves idea of an unencumbered 70 acre park. Then I saw their design renderings and everything looked too clean and orderly. Maybe a little chaos would be good for the park. Maybe the Film Exchange Building, lovingly restored to say a beer garden on the ground level with additional seating on the 2nd floor and even an interesting rooftop seating area. You could even add an arcade with a shooting gallery, midway-type games and even a museum (say dedicated to good and bad urban renewal). We could throw in just enough disorder to make the park interesting. Anyway, I agree with you Steve on one premise, that we should not always rubber stamp hired consultants plans, especially when it concerns such an important piece of the city's image. Not only that but after the urban renewal fiasco from the 60's and 70's we should have learned something, that old buildings preserve that link with our past.
Mark 11:13 a.m. steve I have noticed some major work going on at the large old warehouse on the northwest corner of 10th and broadway. Who owns that and what is going on there? Office? apartments?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:13 a.m. The Midtown Renaissance group is renovating both the 1100 and 1101 buildings into retail/housing/offices.
BethanySooner 11:13 a.m. Where do you see the next major parking garage being built, and what impact might that have regarding future development in the immediate area where it will be located?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Don Karchmer wants to build one at Main Street just east of the BNSF Railway Viaduct, but passenger rail advocates have complicated that effort by insisting a path must be maintained for future rail expansion. That garage would go a long way in easing the parking shortage in the Central Business District.
Terry 11:18 a.m. I'm just wondering if you've seen or heard anything further on the boulevard design, especially in regards to the State highway engineers willingness to work with OKC to achieve a plan the city wants and not just a plan to funnel traffic in and out of downtown quickly?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Define the city? Are we talking about planners, grass roots urbanists or engineers? Ultimately the Federal Highway Administration is going to have a great deal of say in this matter.
Guest 11:19 a.m. Have you heard of any new chain restaurants coming to the Metro area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. Yes. Add Corner Bakery to the list of those I hear are interested in downtown.
Mark 11:19 a.m. Steve, really enjoyed your article today about the old street car lines, very interesting stuff. From what I gathered in that article, it sounded like the actual street cars themselves never broke even, but the value of the properties directly served by the lines increased 10 fold. Do you see a similar situation happening with the MAPS3 street cars as well?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:20 a.m. Advocates certainly believe that's possible.
Andrew 11:20 a.m. I think a key thing that is missing downtown is a grocery store. I know you always bring up Native Roots but it is somewhat expensive and not really very practical. What are the chances we see a decent grocer spring up in downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Contact Homeland and tell them what you want to see improved at their NW 18th and Classen store. Contact Trader Joe's and tell them you want to see them located downtown. Contact Buy For Less and tell them you want an Uptown Market.
Mark 11:21 a.m. Do you think KD's will be open before Christmas?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:21 a.m. Maybe?
Mark 11:21 a.m. Really happy to see the development in bricktown along the canal, but I just don't think a laser tag gift shop is the best use for the spot. What is your opinion on the project?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Give it a chance. It adds to the entertainment options in Bricktown and isn't just another restaurant or nightclub.
BethanySooner 11:22 a.m. Do you think we will see plans for the Stage Center Tower before the end of this year?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. Maybe.
Bill H 11:22 a.m. I've been hearing some rumors about OSU potentially purchasing OCU: Law School. Is that a possibility that you know of?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:22 a.m. I seriously doubt it.
John 11:22 a.m. Went to an Alamo Draft house for the first time 2 weeks ago, and wow that would be awesome for okc. Great suggestion from a few chats ago
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. Tower Theater. Tower Theater. Tower Theater.
Marty Dillon, are you listening?
sooner than later 11:23 a.m. Driving east on NW 10th recently, on the east side of 235 headed towards the Health Campus I saw lots of little white flags (utility) on the empty lot that sits right on the edge of 235--next to State Chamber office. Is someone about to break ground on that lot?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:23 a.m. That may be for the new NW 10 ramp.
Guest 11:23 a.m. What quality control issues are emerging along the streets of P180 (besides the horrid paint job done)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:24 a.m. Brick pavers were being torn up last week in front of City Hall. Quite a bit of the work at the Myriad Gardens is needing to be redone or repaired.
Kalvin 11:24 a.m. The lot at 1st and Russell M. Perry says "Sold" on the for sale sign. Do you know what will be built there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. There was an attempt by a suburban hotelier to build a Springhill Suites by Marriott at the site that was protested by neighbors. The project was withdrawn.
Guest 11:25 a.m. After the Stage Center site, what site would you say is the most likely to see a tower in the future?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. The Preftakes block at Main Street and Hudson Avenue.
Guest 11:25 a.m. I'd guess Preftakes, but i think 4th and Gaylord actually holds the most promise.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Maybe.
John 11:26 a.m. Steve, big towers are great, but urban fill is even better. Are there plans from any of the smaller companies located throughout the metro to move into the core (south of 44) and build maybe a 5 or 6 story building? Any developers toying with this thought? There are just so many fields where there should be something, really anything and it drives me nuts! If I had the money I would do something about it, but I do not.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. That middle ground is definitely lacking, and I can't tell you why.
John 11:26 a.m. Steve, is there anyway ODOT could spruce up the plantings around the 235/10th interchange? That grassy area with a few tree's sprinkled in doesnt look so good
Steve Lackmeyer 11:26 a.m. I don't know. I'll ask.
Navy Mother 11:27 a.m. Steve, I’ve have visited my Daughter which is in the Navy @ Virginia And saw that they put to use every year of their Amusement Park with themes for the End of the Years - One for Halloween – and the other Christmas and they decorate the whole park with fantastic lights and even have singing shows on the stages. And I have noticed that people from all over the World comes to see this Amusement Park each year. Why can’t Oklahoma do the same with their Amusement Park?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:27 a.m. I don't know.
Guest 11:27 a.m. Great to see you at the Icehouse this week. I believe it'll be a special place. Your thoughts?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. I think it will be a great success. It will bring more life to the park on a daily basis, and further encourage street life. I look forward to seeing what ensues with the Park House restaurant.
Belz 11:29 a.m. Boutique Hotel = One North Hudson ?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Don't be so sure.
sooner than later 11:29 a.m. Is there a drawing somewhere, out of public view understandably, that someone in power has drawn up of the potential rail line/streetcar expansion into areas/communities outside of downtown? I dream of a day I can take the rail line down to an OU game, park at Grandads to pre-game then take the line down to a Thunder game, etc.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:29 a.m. Kinda sorta maybe.
Andrew K. 11:29 a.m. Steve, I support the Lindsey Street expansion. More projects like this under the Boren administration are great for Norman and OKC.
Mark 11:30 a.m. I just moved to Midtown and if any developers or land owners in and around that area are reading this, we NEED a Qalgreens or CVS. BADLY. It will make money from my business alone. please.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. They agree.
Mark 11:30 a.m. Steve do you know when the Ice House and Park House restaurant are going to be finished? Drove by yesterday and it looked like they were close
Steve Lackmeyer 11:30 a.m. Ice House could be open today. Park House - next month.
Guest 11:31 a.m. Steve, have you heard anything new on the possibility of Trader Joes opening in OKC? If so, what are the most likely locations?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:31 a.m. The urban core has a shot at Trader Joe's. I keep hearing they are looking...
sally 11:31 a.m. Pickles, milk, eggs, butter, bread, onions
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. Native Roots has all of that - and you can also get fresh baked bread at Prairie Thunder Baking Co. in Midtown.
Guest 11:32 a.m. Have you heard anything about the sale of Classen Curve and/or the Nichols Hills Plaza? Are local developers interested or out-of-state?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:32 a.m. It's in play.
Landman 11:32 a.m. Have developers every tried to get Braum's to open s store with a slightly expanded grocery section in Downtown OKC. They already have the staples in their traditional stores. It could be in the new Stage Center tower and serve a huge segment of the population. With increased traffic the fast food segment would stay busy especially during the NBA season.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. Yes. Drew Braum was shown the site at NE 3 and Walnut at one point. There's been a challenge convincing Braum's there are enough rooftops to justify a store.
Guest 11:33 a.m. Have you heard who will be opening the restaurant in the ground floor of the Sandridge Ammenities building? Is it another Good Egg creation (please say yes)?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:33 a.m. It's all up in the air now it's been renamed the Parkside Building and will be leased to another entity.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Why doesn't OKC have many 24 hour fitness centers? Any rumors of one going in downtown?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. Now you're about to discover that I've got too much info in my head ... I was recently told by someone that downtown is close to getting one, but for the lief of me I can't remember any details or even who told me this.
Janet 11:35 a.m. Steve, who or what pays for the upkeep of the myriad gardens? Since the renovation I have seen more people using it daily than probably all the years combined prior to the renovation. This is nothing but good for the city, yet I still see plantings that need immediate attention, muddy sidewalks, etc. Is there anything I can do to help? Thanks for your time.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. There is a foundation that controls the park and oversees it, and the city provides some funding as well.
Guest 11:36 a.m. Are there any companies currently considering expanding/moving jobs to OKC? If so, which companies?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:36 a.m. Yes, all the time. Just read The Oklahoman business section on a daily basis.
Montreal 11:36 a.m. Has anyone studied the effect ACM@UCO has had on the DT/BT area? I imagine it is measurable in the amount of live music and residential life in the area.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. No, and I agree.
Midtown Mike 11:37 a.m. Steve...what's the latest on the availability for the regatta weekend of the sidewalk link between Lwr Brick and the Boathouse?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. The Bricktown Landing is open for the weekend.
Ben 11:37 a.m. Steve, any updates on humphreys development south of river on western?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. Not yet.
sooner than later 11:37 a.m. What GOOD question are we not asking today...something to wet our appetites as you end the conversation here in a bit.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. You guys are pretty thorough.
Janet 11:38 a.m. What is the estimated completion date for the SandRidge amenities building?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. Mid-2014 was the last date given to me.
Guest 11:38 a.m. Will the water in the white water/kayak park be pulled from the Oklahoma River or another source? If it comes from the river are they planning on doing anything to clean it up so guests don't get sick from bacteria such as ecoli?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:38 a.m. It will be a separate water source, much like the Bricktown Canal.
Janet 11:38 a.m. What downtown players do you get along best with, and not so much?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. I get along with most of them. I greatly enjoy any chance I get to catch up with Larry Nichols. I like Harold Hamm, though I'd emphasize nothing seems to get him animated as does talking about oil exploration. Chuck Wiggin, Mark Beffort, Jim Tolbert, Don Karchmer, Dick Tanenbaum, Chuck Ainsworth, Johnson Hightower, Meg Salyer, Steve Mason, Mark Ruffin, Bob Howard, Marva Ellard, Chip Fudge, several other property owners/developers all seem very passionate about making downtown even better. I struggle to understand James Cotter, owner of Cotter Ranch Tower/Chase Tower ... communication is very limited. I look forward to seeing Gary Brooks and Andy Burnett joining the mix. Cathy O'Connor has created an urban planning powerhouse with the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City. Several people who are not well known at City Hall are critical to everything that is going on, and their work is not adequately appreciated (Brent Bryant, Tom Anderson, Jane Abraham). Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is performing at the highest level in their history and they boast a great young staff led by Jane Jenkins, who after a tough start is proving to be every bit the experience heavy hitting downtown expert indicated by her resume. This list is very limited, not exhaustive. I could write far more about folks like A.J. Kirkpatrick, Shane Hampton, Allison Bailey, Kristen Vails, Blair Humphreys, Jonathan Dobson and others who are leading the grassroots transformation of downtown.
Janet 11:48 a.m. What are the rumors around the office for a start date to the century center redevelopment?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. Soon.
Janet 11:48 a.m. Is there anyway to clean the water in the Oklahoma River? Since the dams keep it in place this can be a breeding ground for microbes, but also means a large filter or even water purification system could be effective.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. It's a river!
Mark 11:48 a.m. quick answer: Shadid or Cornett? GO!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:48 a.m. NO!
BR 11:49 a.m. Any chance we could ever see that ferris wheel lit up somewhere down there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. Yes.
Mark 11:49 a.m. Steve, it is no secret that Continental is rapidly growing company, but I honestly don't think they are seriously considering building ground up just quite yet. How many years prior to the Devon tower announcement were they scheming to do something? thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. A decade.
curious 11:49 a.m. How long will Walker be closed between NW 8th and NW 10th?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:49 a.m. It will be a while.
SB 11:49 a.m. Steve, I'm new to OKC and love to see the growth. Please explain what's up with Lake Hefner? Seems like an untapped gold mine on the east side. Any chance of Residential development or more commercial developments?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. I'm not sure how to answer your question. We have East Wharf. I suspect there's some resistance against doing further development, but that's really based on very old feedback I heard years ago.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Folks, that's it. Thanks for joining the chat. We had 280 of you logged in live, and the transcripts are seeing quite a bit of readership. You've pretty much got me trapped on Friday mornings for the foreseeable future.
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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