The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer and special guest Richard McKown, developer of Level in Deep Deuce, 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.
What do you think needs to happen to further "enliven" Film Row?
Steve: DeadCENTER Film Festival needs to grow into something larger than it is now... as to what that can be, I don't know. But the potential is huge. I'd place my bets with Lance McDaniel and DeadCENTER to make Film Row magical.
What considerations are taken when determining the style and quality of construction of your projects when evaluating the balance between short term (profitable soon) and long term (what the buildings will look like in 30 or 50 years)?
Richard: That's a good question. The thing that very few people realize is buildings become more complex with the single family home being least complex and the multi-family high-rise being most complex. The fundamental cost of construction goes up with complexity.
Our ambition has been to build timeless buildings that will not look dated or out of fashion 50 years from now. We follow strong principles of form follows function. And if you look back through solid architecture in great cities you'll find that buildings hold their value and architectural integrity when they are built on solid principles of form follows function.
Everything about Level is in the language of durable materials that can be repaired and replaced with normal wear and tear on a building in order to keep it feeling like a wonderful place to live. We designed out many of the problems that you see in large buildings. For example, had the hallways been closed up and carpeted, it would feel pretty worn out in a few years. But the open air corridors bring light and fresh air, polished concrete floors, are easily kept in good shape.
We think a lot about the ability to maintain the building a tremendous number of years. But with every project, there is a breaking point at which you could add gold trim, but it loses all feasibility. So it's neither short term nor long term. All of us who are building downtown are working on substantially smaller margins than buildings being built on the suburban fringe. And that is true whether you're talking about apartments, housing, office buildings or hotels.
But the reason to build downtown is because you believe in the city. You believe that the city will continue to hold its value and continue to become a more and more wonderful place. Whereas with a suburban apartment complex, you simply can not create a sense of place. You can't walk to work. So the city and it's inherent location has greater stable value over time.