Business Writer Steve Lackmeyer answered questions from readers Friday during a chat on NewsOK.com about downtown developments. A transcript of the entire chat can be found at www.NewsOK.com/article/3697832.
Q: We have a couple new high rises expected to be built within the next several years: the convention center hotel and SandRidge's new tower. What are the true chances we add a couple more to that list?
LACKMEYER: I am sticking with what I wrote in a column earlier this year: We are likely to see an announcement of another office or mixed-use tower downtown sometime this next year or so.
I am seeing and hearing too much related to such a development to think otherwise. Add in the already announced intention by SandRidge Energy that it will build an office tower at Broadway and Robert S. Kerr and the city's determination to include a new conference hotel with the convention center and we are likely to see an ongoing transformation of the downtown Oklahoma City skyline.
Q: Some people say the easiest sign of a drop-off in construction is a skyscraper. Do you see currently less people building or do you see it increasing?
LACKMEYER: I see downtown construction continuing at a very robust rate for the next few years. Remember, we are about to see work begin on a new downtown elementary, the conversion of the old Central High into the OCU Law School, ongoing housing development in Deep Deuce and MidTown and, of course, the streetcar system, the new convention center and Core to Shore park.
Expect more great things to pop up along the Oklahoma River.
Q: Is there any chance we start to see some housing along Broadway in Automobile Alley? Maybe something like a six-story apartment building on the NE corner of 5th and Broadway?
LACKMEYER: The deal approved Tuesday by the city council to do a hybrid TIF financing for a new garage at NW 10 and Broadway brings the Hotel Marion very close to being renovated into apartments. I suspect it may result in some more housing development along Broadway over the next couple years.