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.
Any updates on the Preftakes' block?
I believe we will have a tower on that site in five to 10 years.
Looks like the new main street parking garage is getting close to being topped off. What is the expected completion date on this?
The original timeline called for a May completion, but we're likely looking at late summer. I'll have an update soon.
Any update on OCU law school? Are they going to have any housing around the building?
On my last check, the OCU law school is on track to open next January. I do believe we will see quite a bit of related development, including housing and structured parking on the surface parking lots surrounding the school itself, and elsewhere nearby. The remainder of Midtown is already undergoing rapid development, and at least some of it, especially the Bleu Garten food truck plaza being built at NW 10 and Harvey, envisions some business from the law school.
Did the planning department or the public have any input on the configuration of how Broadway was restriped or was it all Public Works?
Oh absolutely. The job was largely prepared by the Automobile Alley Association in conjunction with planning and public works.
With the microbrewery movement in full swing in places like Portland, Seattle, and many other cities around the country, do you see Oklahoma wanting to change their liquor laws any time soon to better accommodate that?
A small group of corporate interests in the beer industry have called the shots for a long, long time in this state, with lawmakers at their beck and call. But the beer industry has been changing in recent years, and even one of the largest companies locally was sold to one of the nationals. I suspect change will come soon.
Did the City ever receive any proposals to add residential on top of the Main Street Parking Garage?
Nope. Three attempts were made to attract a developer, and developers kicked the tires each time but each time determined the math wouldn't work.
Do you know how big the new opening will be beneath the railroad viaduct between the Devon Fountain and the Santa Fe Station?
It's too early yet to really answer this question. Design work has yet to start.
Is Don Karchmer planning on continuing with his parking garage? If so, when can we expect an updated plan?
Yep. I don't have a timeline, but prospects are looking good for the garage to become a reality and that it will accommodate any need for future rail traffic on the site.
Can OKC continue to grow numerically without an influx of 25-40 year olds?
I believe we are seeing an influx of 25-40 year olds. We are seeing the Millenials staying put. We are seeing Generation Xers returning home. We are seeing a lot of talented people being recruited to our city - and not just by energy companies (I know of one very talented couple recruited by OU Children's Medical Center)
What do you know about the apartments that were going to be built along Oklahoma Ave on the east side of downtown north of 6th?
The Metropolitan is still in the works, and construction should be starting soon.
Outside of a hotel, what other amenities do you think the Boathouse District needs that it will realistically be able to add?
I think a Wolf Mountain Resort or something similar is the only lodging needed. I really have no reason to second guess the great planning already being done by the Boathouse Foundation.