Steve Lackmeyer: OKC Central Chat transcript, August 31, 2012

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: August 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm •  Published: August 31, 2012

The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&A's on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Below is a raw transcript of the chat.

Steve will be logging in at 10 a.m., but you can start sending your OKC questions in now. Anything goes, so bring your best.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 09:28

Good morning!

- Steve Lackmeyer at 09:59

I remember several years ago there was a proposal for a renovation of 129 E Main in Bricktown. Whatever happened to that?
- Gary T at 09:59

That was Allen Contracting. They ended up buying the old Harding & Shelton office building on California Avenue just west of the Myriad Gardens. They've since renovated that property and moved in. But it's my understanding they still own the Bricktown property. An update on this property is due.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:03

Any design concepts been kicked around for the vacant lot between "the lofts" projects on Oklahoma?
- Sid Burgess at 10:03

Yes, Sid, Richard McKown is working on some concepts, but there's nothing to report at this time. Expect an announcement for this property within the next year.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:04

Native Roots looks like it is going to be a success from the day it opens...are there any other legitimate rumors of other grocery stores interested in "going urban" in OKC?
- Sid Burgess at 10:04

A couple of grocery operators have looked at downtown, but quite frankly, it might be best to give Native Roots a chance to open and prove that it can be a success before any others get added into the mix. I'm not sensing any other grocery deals are close to really taking place without some city incentives and a lot of other considerations. I agree that Native Roots will likely have a good opening week - but it's the long-term that will matter most.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:07

Steve, has there been any further development of the old Coin Laundry spot in the Plaza District?
- Dan at 10:07

Yes, and I'll have a story about it next week!
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:07

If you had to predict what was going to be on the "theme" of the next bond issue (2016/17), what would it be?
- Sid Burgess at 10:07

I believe that we'll be looking the MAPS 3 tax expiring at about the same time. I sense that public transit will finally be a priority discussion item. I sense that transit advocates would love to see the bond issue have as a major theme the extension of the streetcar system in terms of infrastructure, more bus routes, and then a zoo-like one-eighth sales tax to pay for operations, or maybe some mix involving a MAPS 4 sales tax. Other constituencies will obviously have their own agendas to pursue. But the transit folks seem to be the most vocal at the moment.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:11

Steve - What's the latest on that downtown icon, the Lunchbox? It appears they are now permanently closed. Hope you've got some good news...
- David at 10:11

David, I have no good news on the Lunch Box. I've still not been able to reach anyone involved with the restaurant or the building.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:12

Steve, a couple of weeks ago I asked you about the two buildings on the North End of the Canal, and the 2008 plans to bring retail to them after their renovations? Were you able to dig anything up on that project?
- James at 10:12

Yes, but this is a case where I'm not able to report anything yet. I suspect we'll be seeing some announcements in regard to the property in the near future.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:12

Do you have any updates on the Tower Theater renovation? And What can you tell us about potential plans for the Hotel/Motel Liquidation store and surrounding land on NW 23rd?
- Erick at 10:13

Marty Dillon has had the best of intentions in bringing life back to the Tower Theater. But this property has clearly proven to be a challenge, and it's just one of those projects that seems to be always a few months away from starting.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:15

As for the hotel liquidation store.... we should be seeing its final liquidation soon.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:15

So now that the House of Bedlam is dead, what are we looking at to go at that site?
- Joel at 10:15

I don't know Joel. It's entirely possible that, as Don Hayes said, the east part could still be developed as Johnson initially intended. And there is a possibility they may get a hotel or restaurant to do the west half. Or it could remain as it has for the past dozen years, with "for sale" signs coming up and down those same set of wood stakes.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:17

Good morning Steve! Any thoughts on the one year anniversary of the H & 8th raid?
- Guest at 10:17

The city promised an overhaul of guidelines and regulations and to create an information packet for food truck operators. To my knowledge this has yet to happen. I have filed an open records request on this matter and hope to have an update this next month.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:19

Do you feel the convention center site currently chosen will eliminate itself due to the price.
- Pat at 10:19

No. I'm not sure there's any cheap land to be had for the convention center. It's the cost of a revived urban core. Could it still move? City Manager Jim Couch says that's not likely, they're still moving forward with the site south of the Myriad Gardens.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:20

There is a new Facebook Group, Friend's For A Better Convention Center Site, do you think this can have any influence on the City evaluating for a new convention center site?
- Joel at 10:20

This is a different situation than the boulevard. There was a public debate and extensive look at all options. So to try to use the boulevard precedent may be mixing apples and oranges. But anything is possible.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:21

Bike lanes in OKC: With the introduction of Spokies, do you know if there are plans to start installing more bike lanes around MidTown, Deep Deuce, etc?
- Sid Burgess at 10:21

If Urban Neighbors teams up with leading developers in those areas to advocate for such lanes, there might be some opportunity for restriping streets to create a narrow lane like there is on Oklahoma Avenue. But I'm not an engineer, so obviously there are others who would know as to the actual feasibility. But I am seeing a growing number of people getting around downtown by bicycle.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:23

In your mind, what (besides the convention center) would be the best urban use for the Producers Co-op?
- Gary T at 10:23

I don't know Gary. The price that was sought for that land when it was brokered by Gary Gregory - $121 million - is awfully prohibitive for any real development. Think about the price - $121 million. That's the budget for the new park, that's the budget for the streetcar system... You could build a high-rise hotel for $121 million. Yet they were wanting $121 million for what would be raw land.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:25

There are two areas that I see being the "Next Big Thing." The Farmer's Market is obvious, but I see a massive amont of potential for Hubcap Alley. With a slight bit of infrastructure imporvements (specificly rebuilding Broadway on the east side of the "district") this could be another fantastic medium to high density residental district near the Downtown area, as there is alot of underutilized land between Robinson and Shields. And with it's proximity to the park, the Robinson facing buildings currently in place would make great storefronts and/or restaurants. Thoughts?
- James at 10:25

James I agree 100 percent with you. I think Capitol Hill has huge potential - but it will take a determination by the city to rid the area of prostitutes and drug dealers. It will require a full-time police presence,perhaps a substation.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:27

any plans for the old armory on NE 23rd st.? that would make a decent music facility.
- Guest at 10:27

The armory is a wonderful old building, it has great parking. But there are those who argue the city's existing venues are not getting the support they need to truly thrive. Is this a question of the chicken and the egg?
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:28

Can we presume that Devon Energy is any way connected to the Preftakes property ?
- Pat at 10:28

You can presume but they're not going to confirm it!
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:29

There have been public meetings scheduled and completed to gather input on the design/programming of the New Boulevard, Central Park, and other MAP3 projects, why not for the New Convention Center?
- Carol at 10:29

The city did have public meetings on the convention center.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:30

What happened to Clint Eastwood last night? Any chance James Garner attempts that kind of fiasco sometime? What would that do to the enduring legacy of the Rockford Files?
- Grumpy Gary at 10:30

Dear God I hope my all time hero stays away from politics.... As for Clint... oh, never mind.
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:31

Good morning Steve! Any thoughts on the one year anniversary of the H & 8th raid?
- Rob Abiera at 10:31

This is deja vu... seems I had this question already. But if not: the city promised a year ago they would do an overhaul of food truck regulations, create an information packet on the process. I so far have not seen an of this take place
- Steve Lackmeyer at 10:32

The Co-op and Pull-A-Part seep to both be on prime land for redevelopment, but the relocation of either seems like a massive project, could we see such a redevelopment in the next 20 years? If at all?
- James at 10:32

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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