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 impact will Kevin Durant's permanent move to Deep Deuce have on the neighborhood?
Nicer cars will be seen driving through the neighborhood? I imagine it won't hurt sales momentum at The Hill, but truthfully, the development was already selling quite well before the Durant announcement. The Hill is on target to have 50 town homes built this next year, with more to come. They are one-third through the master plan of 157 residences.
Is there any chance Oklahoma City could get a Crate and Barrel or anything similar one of these days?
Yes. Oklahoma City is finally getting on the radar of quite a few upscale retailers.
Is there anything planned for the area between the Maywood apartments on 4th street and northern Brownstones?
Yes. Expect all of that property to be developed as housing within the next couple of years.
What could happen to the $13.5 million federal grant if the Brewers won't agree to a purchase price for the Santa Fe Depot?
I've talked to those involved, and it appears as if there is little risk that the Brewer challenge will last very long.
When will The Boathouse Foundation invest more money in parking? Why not go ahead and start paving for parking if they plan to have so many events in the area each year?
Do you want a river lined up with parking? That's the challenge here - creating a vibrant riverfront that can attract large crowds, yet isn't one big surface parking lot. The Boathouse Foundation is aware of the parking challenge, and they are planning to possible create some parking lots on the south side of the river just west of the Lincoln Bridge that will be served by shuttles.
They were also hoping to establish boat shuttles that could bring people up and down the river and the Bricktown Canal, but the Union Pacific Railroad has complicated that plan.
How many developers have contacted the City to save the Film Exchange Building?
Three have contacted me, two have indicated to me they are set to contact city staff. I am certain as to whether city staff will encourage or discourage them from making proposals. This is a matter that may require more attention from interested residents and the city council.
Where do you see the next major parking garage being built, and what impact might that have regarding future development in the immediate area where it will be located?
Don Karchmer wants to build one at Main Street just east of the BNSF Railway Viaduct, but passenger rail advocates have complicated that effort by insisting a path must be maintained for future rail expansion. That garage would go a long way in easing the parking shortage in the Central Business District.
Have you heard of any new chain restaurants coming to the Metro area?
Yes. Add Corner Bakery to the list of those I hear are interested in downtown.
After the Stage Center site, what site would you say is the most likely to see a tower in the future?
The Preftakes block at Main Street and Hudson Avenue.
Have developers every tried to get Braum's to open a store with a slightly expanded grocery section in Downtown OKC?
Yes. Drew Braum was shown the site at NE 3 and Walnut at one point. There's been a challenge convincing Braum's there are enough rooftops to justify a store.
What's the latest on the availability for the regatta weekend of the sidewalk link between Lower Brick and the Boathouse?
The Bricktown Landing is open for the weekend.
What is the estimated completion date for the SandRidge amenities building?
Mid-2014 was the last date given to me.