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.
Have you heard any rumblings of renovations or new businesses going in between the Metropolitan and AA?
Expect some pretty rapid and impressive development between I-235 and Midtown and along Automobile Alley once the Metropolitan is built and the Central High reopens as the new home of the OCU Law School. What I'm tracking now is mind boggling.
Can you give us some estimated starting and completion dates for the major downtown and surrounding area developments?
Fassler Hall, I think it starts within the next few months, likely to be completed by early 2015. The Metropolitan, starts later this year, completion mid- to late-2015. Phase 2 of the Maywood Apartments, set to start later this year, completion likely mid-2015. The Steel Yard is set to start next spring, completion I suspect would be in late 2015.
What is the next exciting thing happening in OKC that most of us haven't heard yet?
I think the most exciting thing happening is the realization that the decades long scars that divided downtown are disappearing. These aren't just physical scars left by Urban Renewal, but also a fundamental disunity that is finally starting to crumble due to the increased influence of Generation Y, or what some people call the Millennials. They are not waiting to be given permission to take charge of our city's future as was the custom in years past. They are seeking out opportunities to change how our downtown is structured in terms of events, coordination, promotion, infrastructure and planning.
This means that districts that were once pitted against each other are now being pushed into alliances by the young professionals who can make or break them. Instead of seeing monthly festivals as competing draws, the Millennials are setting them up on a rotating basis so one leads to another, and they're now dreaming of how a future streetcar system might even allow for one massive staging of all the different events at once.