The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer fielded questions Friday during his weekly online chat. This is an edited transcript of that event.
To read the entire chat, or to participate in next week's chat, go to NewsOK.com.
Q: If the streetcar does stay on schedule, what is the likely completion date for this first set of tracks?
A: The timetable calls for completion in 2017.
Q: Now that the streetcar has passed the city council, what is the next step?
A: Engineering must be done to ensure the route is feasible. This is also when we'll find out if the cost estimates are on target, what kind of system will be used, etc. (Councilmen) Ed Shadid and Pete White have pledged to cooperate on making the streetcar a success. I will note that with the route chosen, I don't see how (Councilwoman) Meg Salyer can be required to recuse herself again. So that kind of solidifies the council vote as it now stands.
Q: Are you aware of any developers actively trying to buy properties adjacent to the new park for housing, office or other?
A: Developers are looking at the area, but it's a bit early yet to be making deals.
Q: When will we know how much the Convention Center site is going to cost?
A: It shouldn't be much longer.
Q: Can you provide an update on future (downtown) towers? Are we still looking at three potential towers?
A: At this time, I am still tracking interest in a second tower. I won't rule out the possibility for a third tower, but we are in the midst of a lot of changes that make it difficult to say what is going to happen long-term.
Q: What would it take to clear out the metal scrap yards on Reno between Lincoln and MLK?
A: The west side of Robinson Avenue is part of the MAPS 3 Core to Shore park and will be acquired and cleared by the city. The east side of Robinson in that area has some pretty cool old buildings, and I'll bet they get redeveloped once the park is completed.
Q: Any plans for the site in Bricktown immediately south of the House of Bedlam? Also do you know if the owners of 119 E Reno are planning anything with their building?
A: No. That slope is owned by the Scaramuccis. As for 119 E Reno, it's owned by French Hickman. Developers have pitched plans to buy it for various projects, but so far a sale is not in the works.
Q: Do you see Corner Bakery locating in Midtown or Downtown? Also why is it taking a long time for Trader Joe's to scout for locations?
A: Yes. I've been told Corner Bakery is on the hunt. Trader Joes remains a very interesting future prospect, but one on which we don't know much.
Q: I noticed this past weekend that the parking structure for the Aloft hotel (in Deep Deuce) was going up. What does that mean in terms of timeline for completion? Spring of 2014?
A: I know that Jim Thompson, the developer, was last hoping for a November opening. But I really can't see how it opens any earlier than next spring.