Jonathan: I really don't think we've gotten to a point where rents are high enough to allow for massive redevelopment of our current stock of buildings. I think once the market strengthens to the point in the downtown core where we can recognize higher rents, you'll see buildings that were once not developable become very attractive for redevelopment.
How is work progressing on the Mideke Building? Do you have a timeline for completion? Also, are you working with any of the other Bricktown property owners to develop upper floors in their buildings?
Jonathan: They're aggressively pursuing the start of the project. But I'll let the details to be answered by my friend Andy Burnett (the developer). In regard to other Bricktown development, I would say as Steve always says, "I'm hearing rumblings."
Would you support an effort to widen the sidewalks and slow down the traffic on 23rd street?
Jonathan: Currently we provide more space for trees than people along NW 23. My dream is to have 23rd Street altered in a way that allows it to become connected to the housing that surrounds it. This along with the problems along Classen keep 23rd from having a feel of being safe and easy to walk to. I believe the Institute for Quality Communities at OU is in discussions with the Uptown Association about this. I live in Gatewood and the most dangerous thing we do every week is cross Classen or 23rd.
What biggest piece of advice could you give to many of us aspiring young developers who want to break into the field?
Jonathan: It takes a lot of hard work and patience. I've found that the young developers who are starting to see fruit have been tilling the soil for the past six years. There will always be an easy project to chase after. But I truly believe the projects that have the greatest capacity to create change in Oklahoma City take both time and creativity. If those two concepts are in place, then usually the money becomes available.
How important do you see affordable housing as a component of future development in the urban core?
Jonathan: I think it's incredibly important. I feel like it's an issue both Cathy O'Connor and Russell Claus rightly view as gravely important to the future make up of our urban core. So many cities have done it wrong. And I hope we are able to learn how to integrate different socio-economic groups because that is what makes downtown so much fun and a cool place to be.
Steve: To see how this divide has become a problem in an otherwise great downtown, read this story about downtown Denver: http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_24347101/downtown-denver-is-booming-but-it-is-tale