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.
What national restaurant chains want to locate downtown?
Panera Bread, Denny's, Applebee's and Dunkin' Donuts have all, I am told, shown interest in locating downtown. Oh, and Burger King too.
When will the Century Center/OPUBCO and Greyhound Bus Station begin transformation?
Century Center move is slated for first half of 2014. I don't know about Greyhound.
What city are more 'out-of-towners' impressed with... OKC or Tulsa?
I think both cities have their own charm and challenges. I'm not an out-of-towner, so I'm the wrong guy to ask.
With the new apartments and hotel in deep deuce, are we likely to see any more Brownstones built?
No, we won't see more Brownstones built, but planning and design is underway for the remaining empty lots. Deep Deuce is rapidly approaching a day when it will be fully developed - Oklahoma City's first fully matured urban mixed-use neighborhood boasting restaurants, offices, some shops, a grocery, hotel, apartments and owner-occupied homes.
Now that a committee is being put together to complete the Native American Indian Cultural Center, do we have a timeline for completion?
A lot of effort is going on behind the scenes to get work started on the American Indian Cultural Center, but lawmakers so far have been pretty stubborn in denying the remainder of funding needed for completion. The same lawmakers don't seem to offer any alternatives on how to finish this project, which already has millions of taxpayer dollars invested in construction to date. I look into my Crystal Ball ... and all it shows me is an increasingly Libertarian-influenced state house populated with 20-somethings.... Now, that said, the crystal ball can be awfully murky at times and we might also see a state house populated with an army of Gene Stipe clones as well.
ETA on groundbreaking on East Bricktown project?
The metal buildings should be coming down soon. But construction is at least a year away. It's a long, complicated development.
It has been a disappointing week for those of us that follow OKC's development. Can you tell us something to cheer us up?
In the grand scheme, things are still going very well for Oklahoma City and downtown. Population growth is phenomenal. Retail is taking off downtown. Housing and hotel development continues at a fast clip. And the news I suspect some of you find disappointing is limited to possibilities, not certain outcomes.
What do you credit for OKC's population boom?
The re-investment in the community via MAPS and bond issues, greater diversity, the emergence of Plaza District, MidTown and Deep Deuce, the rise of Devon, Chesapeake, SandRidge and Continental, the effort to rebuild our city ... take your pick, but I think it's safe to say these are leading factors in the population growth Oklahoma City is enjoying.
Where else may the next garage go up, in your opinion?
A 350-space garage will be built at NW 10 and Broadway. Another garage, equally as big, is being built now by Rick Dowell along Hudson Avenue. And don't be surprised if the city pursues construction of a parking garage in Bricktown.
Are you disappointed by the Midtown parking garage by the Midtown Renaissance Group?
The new MidTown garage being planned by the MidTown Renaissance Group will be presented Thursday to the Downtown Design Review Committee. This project marks the first truly new major construction project in the MidTown area where there it completely deviates from any other design nearby (the St. Anthony addition is clearly designed to reflect the existing hospital complex). This ought to be an interesting project to follow. To see the designs, visit my blog athttp://blog.newsok.com/okccentral/2013/03/14/first-glimpse-of-midtown-garage-at-nw-10-and-robinson/
Why has OKC not developed a walkable, local (thus negating Bricktown) bar district?
The bars in Tulsa are actually in the Blue Dome district, not Brady, but I get your drift. I think the struggle in Bricktown is that at some point real estate gets to valuable to support a bar or nightclub just open a couple of nights a week. That said, you may be underestimating what's already in Bricktown. The district is home to CityWalk, Captain Norm's, SkyBar, The Doll House, the Martini Lounge, Venu, Whiskey Chicks, Skinny Slim's, and a few more whose names escape my mind at the moment. Now, having said this... I think the undeveloped old buildings south of Film Row would make a GREAT bar district.