Steve Lackmeyer: Tom Ward is looking for prominent downtown office space

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: June 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm •  Published: June 21, 2013
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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.

Now that the CEO situation is settled at SandRidge and they are saying it's not for sale, what should we expect regarding their downtown projects going forward?

Let's assume that both Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge stay intact and in Oklahoma City, as promised by the new CEO's of both companies. Maybe they are less prominent and aggressive in community involvement than they were under Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward. But they remain intact, they continue to employ people, and they continue doing business. That's sort of what happened with Semgroup in Tulsa.

But with McClendon, we already have a man who took no vacation, and is clearly launching another major company with American Energy.

And I can tell you this morning I have it from great sources that Tom Ward is already searching for prominent and visible downtown office space.

Oklahoma City may end up with more great companies, not less, from the fall-out of changes at Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy.

If you were to pinpoint one thing you thought was holding OKC back on more rapid growth, what would it be?

Quality of schools, followed by a tie between transit and liquor laws. I really don't see how our roads are holding us back - and the aggressive widening program Oklahoma City has pursued the past 20 years may actually be causing sprawl and other burdensome bad growth we may eventually regret.

When the Cox Convention Center is torn down and redeveloped, what do you see replacing it? Could you see a residential high rise there?

Well, you can make those assumptions. I think a discussion will occur first on whether the entire Cox Center block is razed, or whether the old Cox arena should be retained and only the exhibit halls are torn down. Either way, that site is prime land, and yeah, it could turn into offices, housing or both.

Do you genuinely have no idea what Preftakes is up to with his block of buildings? Or are you holding out while things develop?

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
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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