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 is the biggest hold up for Marty Dillon and his efforts to redo the Tower Theatre? Money?
I don't' know. But with the continued threat on historic tax credits and rising interest rates, the longer Dillon waits for either what he considers the right deal or the right buyer, the more chance that that right buyer or right deal won't happen. Without the Tower Theater brought back to life, Uptown is missing a critical piece toward accomplishing a full comeback.
What is the status of the Film Exchange buildings in Central Park? Has the city allowed any of the developers wanting to rehab them to tour the buildings?
I'm working on a blog post about this matter for next week. But when everything is said and done, despite what was suggested by the park designers this last month, city officials say Hargreaves Associates have always wanted the building razed and they never contemplated offers by the city to have the building incorporated into the park. City folks say the designers simply don't think the building fits. This is a public policy debate worth having. But unfortunately, the designers tried to frame it as a matter of the building could not be saved and it did not have any parties interested in using it. I have discovered the past few weeks that both suggestions are false.
What is the status of the Convention Center site?
A purchase offer was made this summer to the owners of the site and a response is being awaited.
Any truth to the rumor about the old Hotel Black being renovated into a residential building?
My Magic-8-Ball says "as I see it, yes."
Any idea when Midtown R will announce their plans for the 10th/11th Hudson/Harvey block?
We have nothing from them, but I suspect we're looking at a year or two.
Is OU building a boathouse on the river? If so when?
Yes. I am told design work is underway and more info should be coming out this next year.
Was the vote for MAPS3 explicitly for a streetcar or was it transit in general?
The vote with MAPS 3 was to give the city council $777 million to spend on capital improvements. They voted on a resolution prior to the ballot that committed to spending that a list of projects that included mention of the following:
"A new rail-based streetcar system to service the inner city and-or to service other areas within The City of Oklahoma City, plus funding for other transit infrastructure as appropriate, such as connections to other rail-based systems and/or a transit hub." That makes it pretty clear, at least from my reading, the intent and what was promised to voters was a rail-based streetcar system, and efforts to divert money to the bus system would be a break in faith with voters regardless of whether one thinks they were properly informed about funding issues and/or its operations.
What is the first thing that needs to happen to make the Farmer's Market the next great development area?
Housing or a really great bar.
Why can't we get a pharmacy or drug store in the CBD?
I've thought about this, and quite frankly, I'll be shocked if we don't see a full fledged pharmacy downtown within the next couple of years.
Twin towers at the city center?
Another developer proposed two towers at the Stage Center site, but the winning developer, Rainey Williams, is just doing one tower.
Any news with the Native American Cultural Center?
My understanding is it will be addressed in the first week of the next regular legislative session.