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.
When will we see renderings of the proposed Convention center? Will they include a hotel?
There is no hotel in reality yet, so any rendering of a hotel would be for site modeling only, which has already taken place. As for final renderings for the convention center, if my understanding is correct, that's probably at least a year away.
When will we see Stage Center start to be dismantled? Are there any plans to reuse some of the parts of it?
We should be hearing an update on these questions fairly soon.
Looks like the Century Center is gutted and ready to take shape. Are there still chances of parking being added on top of the existing parking structure?
I'm pretty sure a parking expansion is now pretty dead. I'm not hearing about any major renovation of the Sheraton being in the works for the building's exterior.
What is the reimagined date of completion for The Rise?
I think they're on track for late summer.
Do you think we will see any structured parking in Midtown soon so the empty lots can be developed completely without having to account for parking?
Yes, I do, and I suspect it would be led by the Midtown Renaissance folks. But I can't predict a timeline or where one might be built or what the trigger might be.
Any news on the FNC and is there a reason why most people are suggesting the First National Center should be converted to residential rather than office space?
The floor plates of First National are not seen as ideal for modern office users. A hotel is seen as the best shot at reactivating the Great Banking Hall (as a grand lobby with hotel rooms going up surrounding the space Embassy Suites style) with housing being the best shot at a profitable rehabilitation of this landmark.
Any news on the other tenants at Century Center?
I can confirm a deal is in the works with Mahogany Steakhouse. I'm not aware of any stucco remaining on Century Center.
Can you talk about the funding plan for the Core to Shore Park?
There are a lot of assumptions made about corporate and philanthropic support made for the new park's funding, and I think that's what is driving ongoing concerns about whether this park operation could compete with city funding for other parks. I don't think we know enough yet, but I do understand those concerns.
When does construction on the streetcar route begin? On a related note, will they have to close and tear up Robinson again to modify it for the street car?
Next year. There will be some construction needed on any street, but I've been told it won't be major and that utilities were relocated to ensure a smooth construction schedule.
What are your thoughts on the Staybridge Suites?
The developer has made a lot of changes to make the hotel more compatible with Bricktown. The parking configuration is dictated, to some degree, by the limitations of the site itself (drainage, ODOT easements, an unmovable billboard and cell phone tower).
Have you spoken to Blair Humphreys regarding the Downtown Airpark? Any idea as to when we might know more about what he's going to do with that area?
We will be hearing about something soon.
Downtown is booming and there is a demand for good office space and parking. Why? What makes companies want to locate downtown?
It's a hub of banking, government, energy, law, sports and cultural activities. It's where innovation is taking place.
Would the city allow Lake Hefner to develop more? To the south of Red Rock, Hefner Grill, etc.
I'm pretty sure it's going to remain capped off with what is already out there.