The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers during his weekly OKC Central Live Chat on NewsOK.com. This is an abridged version of that event. You can participate on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. For a complete chat transcript, go to NewsOK.com.
Q: Is the Plaza just the current “It” place having its moment in the sun, or is something fundamentally different about it than other business districts?
A: I think the Plaza District has some unique things going for it. Will this momentum last forever? I don't know. But I don't think it's just a fad.
Q: What are your thoughts on the new proposed layout of the convention center and hotel? Are you worried about the water table that Devon had an issue with when digging their foundation?
A: The water table is something that is a known factor in much of the construction downtown, and, according to Populous, it's not a “fatal flaw” for the site. The latest proposed layout for the convention center and hotel is clearly better favored than the previous concepts, but a lot of questions remain to be answered.
Q: Spokies (bike sharing service) put another rack north of Stage Center. Any word on more going in around downtown?
A: I think you're referring to a temporary Spokies station placed for the Festival of the Arts. The system is doing very well, and yes, I wouldn't be surprised if it's expanded in the future.
Q: When will we see the final renderings for the Central Park?
A: Probably sometime this next year or so if they really want to start construction in 2014.
Q: With all the space at the Plaza filling in, what do you see happening in terms of future growth for the area?
A: The revival of the 16th Street Plaza District creates some intriguing possibilities for addressing decades of blight in the adjoining Classen-Ten-Penn neighborhood to the south. Also look for the improvements to create some momentum to the east toward Classen Boulevard.
Q: Do you see additional skyscrapers developing along the westside of downtown in the coming years?
A: It's possible. Not soon, unless you're talking about the western fringe of the central business district.
Q: Is parking not included in the Convention Center proposal?
A: No, parking is not included. There might be parking built under the hotel. And the city is prepared to build a garage with separate funding sources.