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Steve Lackmeyer: Uptown development will benefit Paseo Arts District

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: May 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm •  Published: May 2, 2014
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Can you explain why NW 10th Street between Klein and Virginia has no buildings on the north side and widens to a divided roadway with a nice wide landscaped median? What's the plan here?

Once upon a time, NW 10 between Western Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenues was an over capacity two-lane street with an assortment of old homes, some nice, some not so nice, on both sides. A bond issue was passed, the city bought out all the homes on the north side of the street and the road was widened. That project left the city with an expanse of property on the north side of the street that it still owns and maintains.

I've seen a development proposal, with renderings, that was pitched to the city that included homes facing the street with garages and driveways built in the rear to a new alley that would serve this development. I could never get any explanation from the city as to why they never seriously entertained this pitch or gave the developers a full hearing. From what I saw and observed, it seemed as if no one at City Hall was even sure who should entertain such a pitch. This was just a year ago, and is one of many times where I've observed how important it is to get a champion in the city staff before attempting a public-private venture. For the life of me, I have no idea why this one didn't fly, and I could never get a good read from those who typically would be involved in considering such deals.

What's to become of Shepherd's Mall?

I don't know. They seem to be managing to find some replacement tenants, but the exodus is of concern and the mall is an important anchor to the area.

Do you think the opening of Bleu Garten will have an impact on H&8th?

Nope. I wondered the same thing, but then I saw how H&8th thrived during a very busy, beautiful Friday night at the Arts Festival nearby. Our city is big enough to provide crowds for multiple venues. I also believe that H&8th is growing to a point where it will simply hook up with Bleu Garten.

What's the latest on the Steel Yard? Any word on the hotel development associated with that project?

The site is progressing, though it hit some additional site clean-up issues as I predicted. Expect news about a Hyatt Place to come out fairly soon.

Do you think that next year's Arts Festival will be primarily contained in the Myriad Gardens? 

That's hard to say, because we don't know if the Stage Center site will simply be cleared at that point or if the tower site construction will have begun.

Reports indicate we might be getting a new tower downtown near or next to the Devon tower... True?

Devon has stated they won't be building another tower. But that doesn't mean someone else might not build a tower.

What do you hear about the future of the properties immediately south of Stage Center? 

For now, those properties are safe. But I suspect they'll be redeveloped long term.

Read the complete chat transcript here.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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...
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