The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer and Jonathan Dodson, lender, vice president at Legacy Bank, 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.
Which area of town do you think has the brightest future development wise within the next 10 years and why?
Jonathan: That's hard. Several areas come to mind. I think east of Broadway Extension and health sciences district is going to see continued success. The SoSA (or Cottage district of Midtown) will look drastically different than it does now. The Farmers Market will continue to see growth. And this doesn't even include projects like Core to Shore, Downtown Airpark, etc.
Steve: My prediction - the next big urban success stories are set to take in the neighborhood at NW 18 and Walnut, Farmers Market and Classen-10-Penn.
Are you seeing any new, younger developers coming onto the urban core development scene or is it mainly still the more established developers we hear about all the time?
Jonathan: I'm seeing a lot of creative Gen Xers who have really worked hard at finding ways of putting complex deals together. That would include guys like David Wanzer, Ben Sellers, James Ellison, Andy Burnett and many more. They've decided they can make a difference and a lot of them have decided they will keep working until they can get things put together. There are a lot of investors with money in Oklahoma City looking to provide equity in projects if they can find the right developer with the right concepts. A lot of my job is to help bring a younger developer into contact with someone who has capital and then work with them to also finance the deal.
Can you tell us if you'd be interested in working on a deal to revive Tower Theatre? If not, why would such a project not appeal to you?
Jonathan: Absolutely, given certain parameters, when I'm looking at a deal to finance, the first component is do I have a relationship with the developer and do I trust him? If we're able to get past that benchmark, then we start looking at the financial capacity of the borrower and the investors involved and the financial viability of a project. A lot of times on urban infill projects what ends up making a deal doable are tax credits, tax increment financing and other mechanisms that will help mitigate some of the risk. I strongly believe in 23rd Street and I think the traffic count and the current momentum should really help get a property like the Tower Theater off the ground.
What is the single largest hurdle that most developments face today in Oklahoma City?