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.
Let's assume a MAPS 4 comes up early 2017. What would you like to see on the MAPS 4 ballot? Mostly mass transit? A 20,000-25,000 soccer/football stadium?
I'm not going to assume the convention center is under construction at that point, though it is possible. We will likely have a boulevard in place by then (I can't imagine it being done in 2014). Will the park be done by then? I'm not so certain. The Oklahoma River improvements will be done. The streetcar system MIGHT be open by then. The fairgrounds additions will be done. The wellness centers? Oh gosh, well, maybe we'll figure out how to do them by then.
I don't want to sound overly cynical, but I don't want to leave folks with inflated expectations. MAPS, by nature, does not follow initial timelines regardless of the best intentions. It's a complicated process, plans change, realities change, expectations change. So we have that to consider.
Will MAPS 4 be attempted? Probably.
Will it involve a football stadium? I think the odds are overwhelmingly against such an effort. Oklahoma is college football territory and Oklahoma City is not seen as a market that can support more than one major league team.
But will MAPS 4 be a transit initiative? There are already folks talking about that, and I'm hearing that someone is operating a poll surveying residents about their interest in funding future rail based transit in Oklahoma City.
Seems like the Aloft hotel is moving rather slowly. Do you know why?
Yes. The concrete subcontractor went broke shortly after the project started. The developer had to scramble to get the work done, this caused some project delays, and then he had to change some of the exterior design to get the timetable back on track. If you visit the job site today you will see it's once again a very active work site.
What are your thoughts on the new police station & courthouse plans?
Most people I talk to are very complimentary of the designs and note they incorporate a good balance between modern appearance and a nod to the area's Art Deco past. Yet concerns also continue about the police headquarters' lack of any interaction with Main Street and how that might hurt redevelopment of the corridor.
What have you heard recently on the timeline for the next phase of Project 180?
The next phase of Project 180 is set to begin later this year. Get ready for some pain - the reconstruction of Park Avenue is coming soon, and it won't be fun. Project 180 is not set to include a reconnection NE 3 and Dean A. McGee.
What's the latest on the Mosaic apartments for Deep Deuce?
We should see construction starting this summer.
Can you provide some insightful the timing for each of the new hotels planned for the downtown and Bricktown areas?
The site for the Holiday Inn Express is cleared and we should be seeing construction start up very, very soon. I expect we will see construction start on the Staybridge at Lincoln and Sheridan later this year. I'm fairly certain we will see construction start on a hotel in conjunction with the east Bricktown development by Gary Brooks and Andy Burnett, but it still may be another year or so for that to begin. The other hotels? I just don't know.
With the new Central Park going in, do you think Wheeler Park will be redeveloped or maybe sized down a little?
I suspect that Wheeler Park may enjoy a second life when it's all said and done.