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.
Are there any current plans in or around the Film District for housing?
Not yet. But it's feasible to see something in the future.
When do you think the next big announcement for downtown might be?
More big housing projects, some retail and other cool announcements are not that far off. MidTown, Deep Deuce and Bricktown should all see some nice new development.
How will the new GE Research Center affect OKC and the local economy? Any potential location rumors?
The GE Research Center is a great addition the OKC metro with a nice bump in high paying jobs that while energy related do diversify our employment mix. I can't figure out whether it will locate in Oklahoma City or the definition of "OKC metro" as described by them as includes Norman. Mick Cornett and David Boren were both at the announcement, and I couldn't get a good read out of Cornett as to how hopeful he was that the project might locate in Oklahoma City itself.
What is your best guess for what will happen to the Cotton Mill and Lumberyard sites?
I am not sure anything will happen. Broker Gary Gregory convinced the cotton farmers their Cotton Mill is worth $121 million. A deal never ensued, they later terminated the contract with Gregory, but from what I can tell, there remains a big gap between what they think they can ask for their property and what the market is willing to pay.
Have you heard anything about what Ron Bradshaw is proposing regarding the Maywood flats and phase two of the apartments on 4th Street?
The last I heard, he was still looking at building another phase to the east, but I need to talk to him soon for an update.
When will Oklahoma get a Trader Joe's?
When Trader Joe's finds a spot and gets a deal done. They were in talks with Chesapeake Energy for the old Crescent Market space at Nichols Hills Plaza, but that deal fell through. I am told they wish to be located within five miles of the Classen Curve Whole Foods store.
How many restaurants, bars or entertainment venues are there in the Film District?
You have Joey's and the Paramount currently. I'm aware of one set to open in the Hart Building. And one or two more are still possible.
Any updates on the project that was funded through bonds to rebuild the sidewalks on Western from 36th to 63rd?
It has been delayed a bit as a consulting team looks at whether the city can get more pedestrian oriented improvements added into the mix.
When is the new downtown school starting construction and when will it be done?
I'm told it will be started this month and will be completed in a year.