A staff report issued this week to the Downtown Design Review Committee recommends they deny approval of renderings for a proposed new headquarters for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The report, authored by assistant city planner Scottye Montgomery, acknowledges the triangular site at NW 4 and Broadway is "oddly configured, which may make this (design) regulation difficult to meet.” Montgomery also advised committee members the project attempts to preserve sight lines to the neighboring E.K. Gaylord Building (former home of The Oklahoman), which she said is a valid consideration but is not one that is recognized by the downtown zoning ordinance. Montgomery also wrote the building's 240-foot-high glass curtain walls conflict with the requirements that downtown building facades include "vertical breaks.” She advised a proposed digital sign at the entrance also violates city zoning. "The project is not in context with the surrounding area in that it does not provide any unifying elements such as similar building materials, fenestration patterns, vertical character or siting,” Montgomery wrote.
‘Very unique downtown site'Roy Williams, chamber president, declined an interview but released the following statement: "On Thursday, September 18, Oklahoma City's Downtown Design Review Committee will consider the Chamber's proposed development at NW 4 and Broadway. We believe in the merits of our proposal in creating a dynamic new public space on this very unique downtown site. "The city staff makes recommendations to the committee, based on whether the proposal strictly meets the criteria of the downtown design ordinance. The staff also provides alternatives to the committee. It is important to note that their recommendations do not reflect a decision of the committee. We look forward to making a formal presentation of the project at Thursday's meeting.”
Setback is main issueThe chamber headquarters is the first new Central Business District construction to be considered by the Downtown Design Review Committee since it was formed almost two years ago. "The only big issue we have is the setback,” Montgomery said. "That's something we can't modify or exempt. The ordinance was written with the downtown fabric in mind — that a building be at street level and pushed to the streets so that there is interaction between pedestrians and buildings. It's supposed to be typical of our downtown area.”
A city planning staff report recommends the Downtown Design Review Committee deny approval of plans for a new Greater Oklahoma City Chamber headquarters because of the building's setback from the street. Provided By The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber