Reporter Steve Lackmeyer chatted with readers Friday about downtown Oklahoma City developments and businesses. Read the entire chat recap here.
Topics discussed Friday include: a train quiet zone, the number of added downtown employees in the next five years, where to find Wi-Fi Internet downtown, status of the bus station project and Thunder players hosting the Cage.
On a quiet zone:
The city staff is always balancing projects, and this is one that has, in the opinion of some, too often ended up on the losing side of that effort. Talks have continued for the past several months about how to move this project forward, and I'm told we may hear promising news about how a quiet zone can become a reality in the not too distant future. One thing is clear; downtown residents and businesses are very tired of hearing those train horns and development has progressed too rapidly in the immediate area of the tracks to just ignore this issue.
On growing popularity of the Cage:
I do see the Cage taking off. Downtown used to have annual street hoops contests 20 years ago and they were always very popular. I have no idea why they ever ended. As for the Thunder hosting it.... I hear Kevin Durant tends to prefer a random game of flag football, but you never know...
On adding new workers downtown:
If the economy stays on its current course and if the prospects I'm tracking all come true ... we're looking conservatively at 1,000 new workers, minimum, joining the downtown workforce in the next few years. The number could climb much, much higher.
On where to find Wi-Fi:
In one year you will likely have that coffee shop at the new Aloft Hotel at NE 2 and Walnut Avenue. You also will have a grocery and deli, with sidewalk seating and tables, at the Level Apartments when Native Roots Market opens this fall. You also could have visited the Deep Deuce Grill, a great neighborhood restaurant and bar that has Wi-Fi, or the Wedge Pizzeria, also nestled in among the apartments. Or if you really wanted to visit a bakery, two great ones, Brown's Bakery and Prairie Thunder, await you in MidTown!
On the bus station project:
The project is proceeding. The new station needed to go through Planning Commission for zoning changes, which I believe was finished up last month or so. Don't be surprised if this continues to go a bit slowly, with a move not done until early next year.