1993: A fledgling urban entertainment district anchored by several restaurants and a couple of nightclubs. More than half of the buildings are empty, and many are boarded up. The biggest attractions are O'Brien's bar and Spaghetti Warehouse.
2013: Oklahoma's premier urban entertainment district, visited by millions each year. Major attractions include the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the Bricktown Canal, Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill, Harkins Theater, Red Pin Bowling Lounge, Mickey Mantle Steakhouse, Hampton Inn, Residence Inn and Bass Pro Shops.
What's next: Steel Yard apartments and retail, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, House of Bedlam clothing and gift shop, restaurant and entertainment center, Mideke Building apartments.
1993: A blighted old neighborhood with a scattering of boarded up buildings, the Calvary Baptist Church, and dozens of empty lots.
2013: A vibrant mixed-use downtown anchored by a renovated Calvary Baptist Church (now home of Dan Davis Law Firm), several hundred apartments and owner-occupied homes, three restaurants, a grocery, a cigar and whiskey lounge and wine store.
What's next: Up to 1,000 more residences, the Aloft Hotel, more restaurants and bars (including an “urban” Jonnies), a coffee shop and dentist's office.
1993: A blighted stretch of former car dealerships down to a Mercedes operation, a couple of used-car lots and a couple of restaurants.
2013: Automobile Alley is home to restaurants, housing, offices and 17 retail shops. Every building has been renovated, most to historic standards. The district has a strong property owners association, and has used Business Improvement District funds to create landscaped entryways and special Christmas holiday lighting displays. The district also recently launched a monthly festival, Shop Hop. Ninth Street, an extension of Automobile Alley just east of Broadway, is an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and an art gallery hosted by The Flaming Lips.
What's next: Housing has been fairly limited to date, but that will change with construction of the 330-unit Metropolitan apartments set to be built next year at NW 8 and Oklahoma. Expect intensive development at NW 10 and Broadway, and more infill development on side-streets like NW 9.
Central Business District:
1993: The Central Business District is pock-marked with vast surface parking lots and undeveloped parcels left over from the stalled Urban Renewal era of the 1970s. Activity is limited to a workforce that leaves for the suburbs at quitting time Monday through Friday. Most restaurants and shops are found in the Underground pedestrian tunnels. Only one hotel, the Sheraton, is left open and it loses its franchise. Several aging office towers are empty. Office vacancy tops 30 percent, and the newest office complex, Leadership Square, is more than half vacant with much of the space never built out a decade after it opened.