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 does the closing of CityWalk do to Bricktown? Do you see more clubs closing their doors and moving else where when their leases are up?
We only have a couple of nightclubs left. Doll House, a burlesque club which is in a small building just north of the Bricktown Ballpark, Club 115 in the old Varsity space, and Candy, which is in east Bricktown by the hotels. When Club 115's lease ends, don't be surprised if that's the end to nightclubs in that space.
The closing of the two biggest nightclubs, SkkyBar and CityWalk, may already spell the end of Bricktown being a home to nightclubs, which would make many people in the district happy. They prefer the bars, which are open all week, are less associated with violence and are more vested in the district's well-being.
The clubs that are left may soon find they are scrutinized far more than before by the fire marshal when crowds exceed the legal limit.
You know what types of retailers are interested in locating downtown. Can you tell us whether there is more interest from homegrown stores or national chains?
We have a B.C. Clark's downtown. We have Plenty Mercantile. They may not be national names, but you might be surprised how nice they are. I'm not sure I agree with a Crate & Barrel or Tiffany's being the standard for whether "downtown has arrived." And I really don't see those stores EVER coming to downtown Oklahoma City, regardless of its success. I don't see those two stores going to downtown Dallas or downtown Kansas City or St. Louis either.
We're in a different era of retail - department stores are no longer what they once were. Show me an Automobile Alley where every storefront is home to a great retailer or restaurant, and show me a Park Avenue where all the storefronts feature restaurants and retail. That will be a better measure, in my opinion, of whether "downtown has arrived" in terms of retail.
With the Page Woodson school redevelopment starting, do you know of or expect any development in the area South of NE 4th and East of I-235?
It's too early to say redevelopment of the property is starting. We know developer Ron Bradshaw bought the building, and we know that Urban Renewal is seeking development bids for adjacent properties. But that's just the start. I suspect an extension of Sheridan Avenue east of Bricktown through the area you describe, and connecting with NE 4 further east will be necessary for that area to truly develop. Also, the recycling plant would have to go.
How successful would you say the roundabout by the Plaza Court has been? Would it make sense to build other Midtown roundabouts on Classen Dr. at the intersections of 11th and Dewey and another at 13th and Shartel?
The roundabouts are working great, but really, they are usually necessary for multi-street intersections. I'm not sure the city would entertain going with them otherwise.
Any word on any new restaurants downtown?
The guys at Ludivine are preparing to open a second eatery next to their current operation.
Do you have a timetable for when construction will start on the 21C hotel?
Nothing official, but I suspect we'll see some work start either late this year or early 2015. It's a real deal.
What is the redevelopment that is underway on the northwest corner of 23rd and Walker in Uptown?
That's the Rise shopping center. A game changer for NW 23. Filled with shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, it is set to open in late summer.
Is there a timetable for the Transit hub to become reality?
2017 is the set completion date.