The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Read the complete chat transcript here.
Other than the hotels and the KD restaurant, are there any other big surprises in the works for Bricktown?
Interest in developing the vacant upper floors of Bricktown's old warehouses is the highest I've observed in the history of the district. The owners of the buildings occupied by Brix and the Bricktown Brewery, are preparing to launch an extensive renovation of the upper floors at 27 E Sheridan. It will include restoring long boarded up windows and creating a much nicer entryway on the north side of the building facing the parking lot.
We also are set to soon see housing developed in the upper floors of the Meidike Building at 108 E Main. Brent Brewer is eager to develop the upper floors of the former Hunzicker Brothers building (home to Peachwave and Captain Norm's). The upper floors Spaghetti Warehouse, meanwhile, are only undeveloped because efforts to do deals with the out-of-state owners to date have been unsuccessful.
As for surprises.... we'll have a couple new "rides" this next year I think will be great for the district in terms of continuing its momentum as a great place for visitors and family fun.
When is the downtown school supposed to break ground?
My understanding is that construction of the new John W. Rex Elementary is set to go out for bids this next month. The Urban Land Institute will be hosting a presentation on the school next month.
Here's the info:
An $11 million elementary school planned for downtown OKC, the final school to be built through MAPs for Kids.
What makes this school different? How will this school set itself apart from others within the same district?
The John W. Rex Charter Elementary School is a partnership between Oklahoma City Public Schools & OKC Quality Schools, Inc., a nonprofit group headed by former mayor & ULI Oklahoma member Kirk Humphreys.
Oklahoma City Public Schools will apply for the school's charter to the University of Oklahoma, and the charter will be turned over to the John W. Rex board upon approval. Plans call for approximately 500 students, pre-k thru sixth grade & adding a new grade each year.
When will we see renderings for the smaller hotels near main street in Bricktown?
At this point I'm not aware of design work having started yet for the two hotels planned for Byers and Sheridan, or the hotel planned as part of the Gary Brooks/Andy Burnett development, or the hotel planned for 1st Street and Russell Perry Avenue. Designs are already out for the Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express.
With the canal expansion, do you expect to see commercial development along the new part of the canal? Do you expect the expansion to help fill in vacant retail/dining space on the existing portion of the canal?
The expanded river inlet (I and others have been guilty in the past of calling it the canal) is part of Regatta Park, so I'm not sure it's possible that section can be commercially developed. But the new connection between the Oklahoma River and the Bricktown Canal certainly could promote development on the remaining empty Lower Bricktown parcels in the area immediately north of the new Interstate 40.