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Steve Lackmeyer: Aloft hotel back on track, expected to open later this year

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: April 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013
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Is the Dowell Center Tower leased or empty? What is the status of that building?

Rick Dowell moves at his own pace. He gets his projects finished, but it's on his timeline. To his credit, he took a building that would have remained hopeless under other ownership and cleaned up a lot of problems. Dowell Center, which was previously known as the Midland Mortgage building and also was once home to Kerr-McGee, is actually two buildings combined into one. The west half was originally known as the Petroleum Building.

We may be thankful in the end that Dowell has taken his time finishing this project. He was looking at reopening it as office space. But maybe, just maybe, he'll eventually see that it could be far more successful as housing - which could be a game changer for the central business district.

What's the latest on the Embassy Suites for the HSC? Are we going to get some changes to the site plan?

It looks like construction may finally start on the Embassy Suites in the Oklahoma Health Center this summer. But there may still be some design tweaks requested by the Urban Renewal Authority.

Is there any hope for development of the old Rainbow Record store on 23rd and Classen and the buildings to the north and west of it?

It sure would be nice. But there isn't a lot of parking for the property.

There appears to be some sort of work going on on the south side of St. Anthony hospital. Any ideas what it is?

Yep. They're starting work on the $53 million expansion that will include structured parking and a new ICU and Emergency Room.

When can we see more safe parking available for the area of NW 16th and Blackwelder?

The Plaza District is aware that parking has become an issue. They recently experimented with rickshaws to help ease the situation.

Read the complete chat transcript here.


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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