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.
With all the surprises that The Rise has provided during its renovation, where do you rank this building in terms of renovation projects for mixed use on OKC?
The Rise is a huge boost to Uptown and hopefully will inspire other building renovations. The 1920s - 1950s authentic design and character of this development will add a tremendous amount of "buzz" to the area, creating the sort of vibe that will draw visitors. Think about how important the authentic brick warehouse feel was to making Bricktown what it is today. The Rise helps Uptown get that much closer to accomplishing the same feel. And remember, Uptown is along original Route 66. Something very special is being created along NW 23. But there is one big obstacle to complete success - the still dormant Tower Theater.
Does Uptown 23rd have the capability of becoming to most popular entertainment district in OKC along locals? What are some obstacles they will have to overcome to get there?
I think Uptown has the potential of becoming one of the city's leading entertainment districts, though traffic and parking is a big obstacle to realizing such success. I struggle to see any district outright eclipsing Bricktown. And I'd argue the Plaza District ranks second to Bricktown.
When should we know what the Convention Center site appraised for?
Probably within the next couple of months.
How does OKC compare to Tulsa in terms of national perception? Isn't OKC considered a bit more 'cowboy' and Tulsa a bit more worldly/artistic?
Tulsa might like to think that's still true. But I suspect Oklahoma City's image has changed quite a bit. Oklahoma City has an international image now, while Tulsa clearly does not.
With the opening of Aloft, is Deep Deuce the best mixed use district in the downtown area?
I'd say Deep Deuce is the best densely developed, mixed use district downtown. But once expected infill takes place in Midtown, it's hard to overstate what an incredible mixed-use urban neighborhood we will have in north downtown.
Any new announcements?
We have a lot of in-fill projects coming throughout downtown that can often be under-estimated in their overall impact. We have some big, big deals coming. And yeah, I'm still tracking a tower in the Central Business District beyond what's already announced for the Stage Center site. And no, I've not seen anything to indicate the towers project on the lumber yard site in Lower Bricktown is anything but a fantasy. Whenever you have a developer with no related experience, no financing for a $100 million-plus investment and they don't own the land, I find myself hard-pressed to understand why some renderings posted on an architect's website get people excited.
Any great articles coming our way this weekend?
We have an eight-page special section celebrating the 125th anniversary of Oklahoma City.
Who are some of the movers and shakers that are trying to make a difference in the South side? What are they trying to do?
I think Capitol Hill and S Robinson Avenue are ultimately inevitable targets for revitalization simply because there won't be much left to tackle north after the next several years.
Were Bleu Garten's design plans approved this week?
Yep. The project is on target for opening this summer.
Do you think they'll add angle parking in Bricktown and Uptown now that they've added it in Automobile Alley?
Bricktown? Yes. Uptown? I don't know.
Has Costco Wholesale shown any interest in coming to Oklahoma City?
Yes, but there is no deal done yet for any sites in Oklahoma City. At least not as of my last check on the matter.