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OKC Central Chat

Jeff 10:38 a.m. Good morning Steve. Thanks again for doing the chat!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Thanks!
Steve Lackmeyer 10:38 a.m. Chat delayed 5 minutes
South OKC Guest 10:45 a.m. Have you taken the bus lately? I tried it out earlier this week. First morning bus ran late so I missed my transfer thus requiring a cab fare from the transfer center to my office so I could be on time for work. When will OKC provide more reliable and economical public transportation for the working stiffs like me?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:48 a.m. I have not traveled on a city bus since I was a teenager. I've never found the system to be set up in a way that makes sense for my needs. I realize the relaunching of the service as EMBARK includes more streamlined, more frequent routes. But public transit funding in Oklahoma City is widely considered to be terribly inadequate for our community's needs. The good news is that leaders are far more interested in addressing this need than I've seen in 20 years. Will MAPS 4 address transit? We will see.
Tim 10:48 a.m. What are the plans for the old Leo's building on 4th Street just east of the downtown YMCA?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:49 a.m. Architect Rand Elliott bought that property last year and a month ago he announced he was set to do a master development plan for the property - but provided no further details. The old Leo's BBQ building has since been demolished.
Guest 10:49 a.m. How has the initial reaction been to the Civic Center Flats, considering this is the first new for-sale product to hit the core in some time?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. I'm hearing some good enthusiasm out there. I suspect this product will sell nicely.
Klint 10:54 a.m. Sycamore Square Update. I just received this message from Sycamore Square: "We have changed our business plan which is good news for you because this allows you to stay at Sycamore Square."
Steve Lackmeyer 10:54 a.m. Interesting...
Guest 10:54 a.m. What is your favorite thing about Downtown OKC right now?
Steve Lackmeyer 10:57 a.m. The Myriad Gardens is my favorite spot downtown by far. I love how it has evolved into the community focal spot that it was always intended to be, with outdoor movies, concerts, festivities, talks, gardening and art shows. It's where families with kids can be found daily now, where visitors and locals enjoy a respite from their chaotic schedules, and where people from all over the city from all backgrounds can be found. So explain to me again - why is the mayor and city council spending $125 million building another park, surrounded by blight - just two blocks to the south with no private interests stepping forward to support it, patronize it or provide funding?
Anthony 10:58 a.m. With the expo center coming in under budget? Does it make the whitewater facility more viable with less future tinkering?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. The bid results on the expo center cause me to wonder even more about the designers and engineers and whether the bids that came millions over budget resulted from bad design.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:01 a.m. Folks, I'm dealing with a story as this chat goes along, so forgive me a couple of interruptions....
Forrest Bennett 11:05 a.m. What's happening on the SW corner of NW 10th and Hudson? I've noticed construction fencing go up. Maybe you've answered this before, so sorry if this is a redundant question.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:06 a.m. Yes, this fencing is for a staging site for construction of the $53 million ICU expansion at St. Anthony Hospital (just next to Kaiser's).
Reader 11:06 a.m. Steve, you are awesome! OKC is lucky to have you. It was great to see you get some recognition this week. Thanks for your excellent reporting and interaction with the community!
Steve Lackmeyer 11:07 a.m. Thanks. I'm liking the way this week's chat is starting up a whole lot more than last week (which was dominated by some pretty negative folks)!
Trey 11:07 a.m. Do you happen to know the status of the boulevard? When is ODOT supposed to time travel back from the 1960's with their final design?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:08 a.m. Come on now Trey ... everyone knows that time machine was set to 1973, not the 1960s. On a serious note, I suspect we will see something new in the next month or two.
Handsome Sam 11:08 a.m. I heard a rumor that a concerns a certain downtown business owner. The rumor is that the business owner, who is a novice to the world of property development, paid far above market value for a certain property. The rumor is that certain other downtown movers are frustrated with this transaction, as it could dramatically raise the price of certain immanent domain actions the city is in the midst of. Is there any substance to these rumors?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:12 a.m. There is a downtown business owner who bought a property at what some believe was an inflated price. This person, however, did so to preserve what is a pretty special collection of tenants, including the business in question. And this person isn't stupid - I've seen what this person is planning and the movers and shakers may end up having to shut up when everything is said and done. As for upcoming eminent domain actions, I'd argue the city created its own "comp" problem with its purchase a couple of years ago of the Vitagraph property at Hudson and Reno across from the Myriad Gardens. If the transaction you refer to was inflated, then the Vitagraph was as well.
Hopefully this question and answer won't drive everyone crazy.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:17 a.m. It is PARAMOUNT that people understand I don't mean to tease with this answer. And if that previous question and answer still frustrates you, I suggest you sit down with a nice cup of coffee.
Guest 11:18 a.m. Have you heard anything about family housing being built south or west of John Rex Elementary?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:18 a.m. Not yet, but I believe it's an inevitability.
Coy 11:18 a.m. You mentioned them having some problems with a couple tenants over at The Rise due to some unexpected issues. What are these issues, and who are the tenants?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. I'm working on this story... it's taking time because I want to make sure I am as fair as possible to all sides of this matter.
Coy 11:19 a.m. I notice the area south of the future Dustbowl Bowling and Fassler Hall is fenced off by something that says "Turner." What kind of development is going on there?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:19 a.m. I think you're talking about the staging area for construction of the St. Anthony's hospital ICU expansion.
CeCe 11:20 a.m. Has the Bradshaw group (I believe that's the probable buyers of the blighted portion the JFK neighborhood; if not, excuse my lack of knowledge)released any additional renderings of their vision for the site they our poised to bid on? Many residents of the area are afraid whoever purchases the are will build up the area to be an extension of downtown and not as a portion of the historic Eastside community.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. CeCe, your concerns are very valid based on the history of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority during the 1960s and 1970s in the JFK area. I can also tell you that the current Urban Renewal staff led by Cathy O'Connor seem to completely "get it." I also "get it." She has staff, including some with deep ties to the east side, meeting with residents and business owners not just in connection with this potential development, but also all along NE 23 to ensure their other effort is in unison with the area, and not in conflict. I sense a real dedication by city leaders, most notably Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis, to change the status quo for northeast Oklahoma CIty in terms of what isn't working, and yet preserving and showcasing what makes the east side special.
Peter 11:25 a.m. Do you have any information on what is going on at the Rise? Last week it looked like tenants were getting fed up with the delays.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:25 a.m. Yep.
Uptowner 11:25 a.m. Does the emergence of the Wheeler District further encourage your prediction of the possible new Energy Stadium to be built in that area?
Guest 11:28 a.m. Were you able to get anything in writing out of ODOT about whether federal funding for the Boulevard could be used for street and traffic improvements outside the original I-40 Right of Way and thus not setting Alternative D (the grid option) up to fail?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:28 a.m. Yeah, I did. But not without a big hassle. And I'm still not sure the answer makes complete sense. I'll post what I got (several weeks ago) on my OKC Central blog.
Rob 11:29 a.m. Steve, any word on what is going on with the OK County jail? Is there talk about rebuilding it, or the Federal Government coming in or something else?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:35 a.m. The jail is continuing to fall apart and it now has to have food brought in because of collapsed sewer lines. I don't believe the threat of a federal take over is as dire as suggested by county officials. A new jail is needed. But that's the problem. A new jail is needed because the Oklahoma County officials that oversaw the project were either corrupt (several indictments resulted from an investigation of the problems) or inept. And I'm not sure Oklahoma County officials have really proven to the public that they've changed their ways or can be trusted with the hundreds of millions of tax dollars needed to build a new jail (one that is designed properly and won't fall apart right after it opens). When I covered county government a dozen years ago, it was still rife with patronage jobs, nepotism and political infighting. I'm guessing the only real solution here - one I doubt the county will accept - is for them to relinquish control of a coalition of officials representing Oklahoma City, Edmond and Midwest City - the county's three largest cities with far better track records at competently and honestly completing large public works projects.
Guest 11:36 a.m. What are the chances of a new tower being built at Main and Hudson? How many floors do you think it might be and do you think it will include retail on the ground floor?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:37 a.m. The odds are pretty good. I learned a lesson with the last "mystery tower" discussion, however, and I"m not going to get into details I am hearing about its likely height. I will only say what I'm hearing indicates it will be legitimate high-rise, and not a mid-rise.
Uptowner 11:40 a.m. I find the whole concept and momentum of the Wheeler District to be a great catalyst for that area of the city. How far can you see development spreading from this area and creating density to that area of the river?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:41 a.m. The planning I see, if it becomes a reality, could be a great catalyst for improvements in nearby Capitol Hill and the Rotary Park neighborhoods to the west.
Ed 11:41 a.m. Steve do you genuinely believe that future generations will look back onto the stage center with the same admiration that we look back to the criterion? I am sure some will look back and miss it but I don't think it will be widely regarded as a city catastrophe like the loss of the criterion/ baum etc.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. I don't know Ed. I'm sure at least half of those who are older than 30 in our city will forever say "good riddance." I can't say there was any other option than demolition at this point considering it was designed to conflict and not embrace the community and Oklahoma City was never in a place to understand, appreciate or support what it had. But am I pained by the demolition I am witnessing? Do I wish there had been another option? Will I regret this loss?
The architect, the late John Johansen was a genius. He was also arrogant. I blame Johansen as much as I blame Oklahoma City for what has transpired.
Jay Paul 11:45 a.m. Any new updates on the Rise? I read the tweets from the Retro Pub and it seems as though they are definitely leaving the space. Have you heard anything more on what is causing the delay and if any other tenants have pulled out?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:45 a.m. It's getting ugly. I'm working on a story.
Mark 11:45 a.m. Drove by the citizens bank last night and wow that place has real potential for an awesome rooftop bar. How do you think this building could be best repurposed to bring 23rd back to critical mass?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:46 a.m. The former Citizens Bank building at Walker and NW 23 is one of several properties that must be redeveloped for there to be a truly successful revival of Uptown.
South OKC Guest 11:46 a.m. Seems like there was an initial push to jumpstart the area around the Farmer's Public Market then it stalled. Any news to share? I've heard they are working on a small bistro in the small stand-alone building next to the former Sterling's and south of Urban Agrarian. It would be a great place for a weekend farmer's veggie market and flea market.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. Nothing has stalled. A lot of activity is going on behind the scenes.
Mark 11:47 a.m. So why is Oklahoma especially weird today?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:47 a.m. I had just driven through very heavy fog when I tweeted that comment. It's August 1.
South OKC Guest 11:49 a.m. Any more news on micro-housing options in the OKC area?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:50 a.m. There are several developers looking at micro-housing. But I really don't think people understand what this means, or what risks may be involved in such housing. Cool micro housing today could be flop houses killing neighborhoods in the future.
jet 11:51 a.m. Hi Steve, I appreciate your recent articles encapsulating what is happening in the core of OKC. I think it helps people see the big picture. Thanks
Steve Lackmeyer 11:51 a.m. Thanks!
Mark 11:51 a.m. Steve where do you think a family friendly apartment complex would be best go downtown right now considering Sycamore Square is about to get rid of those affordable larger units? Also does the Classen-Ten-Penn fall within the borders of the John Rex school?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. I am not sure about Classen-10-Penn being inside the attendance boundaries. If I were looking at doing family friendly housing, I would look to do so in Midtown and along the future Core to Shore Park.
Forrest 11:52 a.m. I submitted this question before the chat started and wanted to make sure you got it: What is happening on the SW corner of NW 10th and Hudson? I've noticed construction fencing go up. Perhaps you've answered this previously, so I'm sorry if this is redundant.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:52 a.m. Yes, I've answered this already - it's a staging area for construction of the St. Anthony Hospital expansion.
jet 11:52 a.m. I’ve heard some rumblings that OU is no longer interested in building a boathouse with the others. Apparently they prefer having their own water up by Exchange Ave. Have you heard this? If so, what would go in that last spot?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. No, I haven't heard this. I'll ask.
Mark 11:53 a.m. Steve with the ways MAPS is set up can money that was allocated for one project that is left over be used to supplement another that is over budget?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. Yes.
cowboy orange 11:53 a.m. who is the one person who is hurting okc the most?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:53 a.m. LeBron James.
Jay 11:53 a.m. Do you think development impact fees will be included in PlanOKC, and if so how will the community react to that?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:54 a.m. I don't know if it will happen or not. I'd be curious to see if such an effort is fought by the development community.
Mark 11:54 a.m. Steve saw that you tweeted that Dallas is getting serious about talks to remove part of the downtown highway system. How long do you think it will take before we regret rebuilding the giant highway pillars near the bass pro? Frankly they already make me sick to look at.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:55 a.m. The boulevard design has been controversial and regretted by many downtown from the moment ODOT started plans to begin construction.
Gary T 11:55 a.m. What kind of opening date are we looking at on the Holiday Inn Express in BT?
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. Probably later this year.
Gary T 11:56 a.m. Any Don Karchmer updates? I know he has a lot going on right now.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:56 a.m. I'll have an update on one project this Sunday.
Mark 11:56 a.m. Do you think the completion of faster/dust bowl will spur others to build up in midtown? Also can you post a map showing who owns all of the land in that area? I feel like most of it has already been claimed by St. Anthony and Midtownr, both large groups who I do not see having any intention to sell anything anytime soon.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I think the Fassler Hall/Dust Bowl project may encourage a long needed development of the Brown's Bakery property.
Gary T 11:57 a.m. What is the latest on the delay on the apartments (Maywood II?) on the south side of NE 4th between Oklahoma and Walnut? Seems like they were full throttle for a while and then things stalled.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:57 a.m. I am hearing work will begin this fall.
Mark 11:57 a.m. Steve what is the progress on the apartments in midtown proposed by the Indianapolis group? Haven't driven by that area in a while so have no clue how this project is moving
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. Site clearance and construction on the Lift Apartments at NW 10 and Shartel started last month.
Anthony 11:58 a.m. I was at urban agrarian the other day and saw that there was a "boxing club" across the street in the farmers market district. Upon researching on the internet, I found an article from the Oklahoman about a boxing match in 2002. Do boxing matches still happen there? Do you know? I think a fun weekday night could be had watching a boxing match in the farmers market.
Steve Lackmeyer 11:58 a.m. I don't know - I'll look into this.
Mark 11:58 a.m. Steve are you interviewing someone AND chatting at the same time? That would be impressive
Steve Lackmeyer 11:59 a.m. Sort of. I'm dealing with phone calls involving a story I am working on while chatting. I was never taught to do this kind of multi-tasking when I went to journalism school 25 years ago.
Yeoman 11:59 a.m. Steve, I'm perplexed why we have infrastructure for pedestrian poles and stop lights around City hall and at the Hudson/Main intersection with no poles. Is there someone within the corporate community or City who is averse to more lights and thus the Project 180 package has not been completed? Moreover, does anyone realize having 1" threaded rods and bolts sticking up out of the concrete is a pedestrian hazard?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:00 p.m. That is weird, isn't it?
Guest 12:00 p.m. Is the MAPS 3 office overstretched? How much of the delay in projects is due not to the consultants not working but City Staff not having enough time, resources or expertise to prepare and approve work orders and RFPs and then get them through the MAPS Board and City Council. How often do 1, 2 week, 1 month delays suddenly add up to significant delay and cost escalations?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:03 p.m. I think the planning, public works, MAPS 3 and administrative staff at City Hall are all overstretched and I am constantly amazed at what an incredible job they do considering such obstacles. Their fumbles (like the budget busting bids on White Water) get a lot of attention, but in my view, their track record is 90 percent successful and on target. Oklahoma City's municipal government is the envy of visiting civic delegations from cities throughout the country.
Mark 12:03 p.m. How long is the St. Anthony construction supposed to last and do you have any renderings of what the expansion is supposed to look like?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:04 p.m. Yes. You can read my story from May and see the latest renderings here:
Gary T 12:04 p.m. Looks like 603 NW 23rd (white building just NW of Big Truck Tacos) will finally have some life breathed into it. Rumors are there will be a rooftop bar in the east building. Think this will elicit neighborhood protests like Guyutes?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:05 p.m. Maybe.
Mark 12:05 p.m. Steve there is a parking garage that is just to the north of the new john rex gym. To say the least, it is a pretty ugly garage. Do you think who ever owns it could put up a mural or something on that side for the kids? Maybe a giant map of the world? of Oklahoma? Anything would be better than the current bland paint job
Steve Lackmeyer 12:05 p.m. The garage is owned by the city, and a few months ago they were soliciting proposals from artists to improve the facade. I'll check into the status of this.
Gary T 12:06 p.m. Journal Record building renovations update?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:06 p.m. Coming soon.
Gary T 12:06 p.m. When do you think we can hear something official on the property south of Stage Center? SOSC, has a nice ring to it, don't ya think?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. Development proposals will be due in two months. I'm not sure SOSC (referring to a building that is being torn down) makes much sense.
Forrest 12:07 p.m. Thanks for answering that. And on that note, any truth to the rumors that St. Anthony is going to shut down Kaisers to the public and make it for hospital-only patients/families/staff? I hear this here and there.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:07 p.m. St. Anthony does not own Kaisers, and I can't imagine Pete Schaefer, the owner of the building, ever agreeing to such a scenario.
Mark 12:07 p.m. Steve have you heard about anyone sniffing around the park side building? That is going to be so cool that it should cheer you up about SC just thinking about it! :)
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. Yep.
Gary T 12:08 p.m. Where does the city stand on negotiations to buy the convention center land?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:08 p.m. My understanding is the court is appointing appraisal commissioners in the eminent domain case today.
Mark 12:08 p.m. Steve, why wouldn't the city want to extend Sheridian into JFK? does nothing but promote people to move into the area and gives better access to brick town. Seems like a win-win
Steve Lackmeyer 12:09 p.m. Yep. I blogged about this a few weeks ago:
James C 12:10 p.m. Steve, It sounds like you aren't in favor of the core to shore park. What would you suggest they do with that property instead?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:12 p.m. It's not so much me being in favor or opposed. I have yet to see a constituency for this park. I have yet to see the philanthropic support materialize - funding the park designers say will be crucial to its success. I've yet to see designs that would make it special. I went to a park in Louisville designed by the same firm, Hargreaves Associates, and was completely underwhelmed. I don't get it. And I've not come across anyone outside this project that gets it either.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:13 p.m. Mark, it is PARAMOUNT you read my two answers again!
Gary T 12:13 p.m. When will we see more work being done on the Steelyard? Do you think we will see steel coming out of the ground by the end of the year?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:13 p.m. Gary Brooks is very hopeful construction can start this weekend. The wait right now is for final clearances from DEQ, etc on the contamination clean-up.
Mark 12:13 p.m. Steve did you ever figure out who was taking core samples from the Bank of America parking lot?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. The property is being bid on by several potential developers.
Mark 12:14 p.m. Steve did you ever figure out why no one is even talking about building apartments across form the old opubco building just north of ATT? It is literally almost too perfect of a spot for a giant complex
Steve Lackmeyer 12:14 p.m. Yes. Several developers are hoping to buy this property from SandRidge.
Mark 12:14 p.m. Any word on how the first national bids went? Are there things brewing in the background that we can't see?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:15 p.m. We have to wait a bit more before we'll find out. But yeah, things are going on behind the scenes.
Peter 12:15 p.m. Is there any effort being made to create a music venue to compete with what Tulsa currently has (Cain's and the Brady). I realize that OKC has the ACM, which is very cool and unique, but it doesn't have concerts nearly as frequently as what you see going to Tulsa.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:16 p.m. Significant upgrades are taking place at the Bricktown Event Center.
Mark 12:16 p.m. Steve wasn't the Skirvin set for a pretty intensive interior refresh soon? What was the issue with the past manager leaving so abruptly? Is the refresh still happening? I ask bc I love the Skirvin but frankly the Colcord and now the Ambassador are better hotels (in my opinion)
Steve Lackmeyer 12:18 p.m. I'm not sure I fully understand the operations of the ownership, Marcus Hotels. I once did - but so many of the names and faces have changed, and we've seen some really questionable players come in and out of the Skirvin since the departure of Bill Otto as president and John Williams as the hotel manager. As for the departure of the last manager (who struck me as a really great operator), there are two very different stories both intended to make one side look good and the other look bad. The truth is likely somewhere in between, but I won't be the guy going with either side without some proof - which neither side could offer.
Mark 12:18 p.m. Steve can you tell us at this point if the Rise set back was due to financing or not?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. I can't say for sure.
Peter 12:19 p.m. Do you know the status of the food truck area that is under construction in midtown? Wish we had that up and running with this nice weather.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. It's under construction.
Mark 12:19 p.m. Steve why would Shadid try and recruit someone to run again Salyer? I think she wants nothing but the best for the city and has done a pretty good job on the council. Also when is Ed's seat up for election?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:19 p.m. They don't play well together. Ed Shadid is up for re-election next spring as well.
Mark 12:19 p.m. Would you rather be stuck on an island with Justin Bieber and the Kardashians or the Oklahoma House of Representatives?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. That's a devil's choice.
Guest 12:20 p.m. Earlier this summer you stated you had plans to make a trip to Dallas. I encouraged you to check out their new district, Trinity Groves. Did you make your trip south yet? I recommend you checking this area out as it would be ideal to have something similar down in the Boathouse District or even Wheeler Park.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:20 p.m. I got to Dallas, but my travels were curtailed by car troubles. Next time, hopefully, I'll see Trinity Groves.
Guest 12:20 p.m. No business tenants have been announced for The Edge. Do you know if any deals have been signed? Or are they just sitting on this news for now and will announce at a later time.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Gary Brooks has tenants and he will announce them when he's ready. They're pretty cool.
CJP 12:21 p.m. Is there a playground or outdoor space at the new John Rex school? Can't tell from driving by - and will the playground/outdoor space be available to locals after school hours or will it be fenced off?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:21 p.m. Yes, the outdoor space faces Dewey Avenue. I am not sure whether the area will be open to the public.
Sooner Than Later 12:22 p.m. Earlier this week you stated on Twitter that OKC was close to having a Walgreens-type of establishment, even 24/7 in downtown. You ended that statement on saying it was a great location. Care to share what that great location was? Why did this deal fall through?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:22 p.m. Top corporate brass at the retailer wouldn't sign off on it.
CJP 12:22 p.m. Steve, how will the proposed Wheeler development fit itself in to the predominantly Hispanic area that's already there in that part of South OKC? I can foresee some real issues if there's little thought about how to integrate the Wheeler development into the community that's already established
Steve Lackmeyer 12:23 p.m. I saw quite a few prominent folks from the Hispanic community at the charrette and I have seen Blair Humphreys reaching out to those folks and trying to be sensitive to this matter.
Though provoker 12:23 p.m. Are you aware that people DO like Ed Shadid? Though he can be difficult do you realize he is a breath of fresh air at times? I notice that once again you were negative about him on some twitter conversations. I think sometimes people forget that though his personality can be difficult it's refreshing to see that he doesn't say YES to every thing voted on. He seems more protective of the city's money and other things. Sometimes the Mayor and City Council seem to truly forget their constituents and only vote on their own stance and it's nice to see at least one person challenge the issue. And don't accuse me of being a Shadid shy right now as I voted for Mick, but appreciate how Shadid does a better job of digging for answers and connecting people.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:24 p.m. I like Ed. He's an intelligent, likeable guy. I agree, the council needs someone to challenge collective thinking.
Counselor 12:25 p.m. Have you cheered up yet? Last week on this chat you were grouchy. On Twitter this week you were angry. NewsOK needs to give you a few days off. You seem to easily get upset if people asks questions and state you don't understand where some of these rumors/info come from. That is why we're asking you, our informed reporter. We are excited citizens and want to see the city progress. We share your enthusiasm but yes are not as informed as you, so why do you get so upset when we certainly are seeking clarity. Cheer up mate!
Steve Lackmeyer 12:27 p.m. Last week I was grouchy after the chat was bombarded with weird, negative comments and questions. Forgive me. I am human. I have other thoughts about the source of that negativity posted by folks last week, but I'm going to keep it to myself and assume that most people will figure out what is what.
Uptowner 12:27 p.m. My friend told me the other day that he loves Bricktown-there are places to eat and drink and hang with friends-but he wishes there was more retail in the area. Any plans for some more retail in the whole area?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:27 p.m. Yeah, I agree - more retail would be great. Bricktown is about to go through another growth spurt, but I'm far from certain whether this will shake up the retail mix.
Gary T 12:28 p.m. Who are your favorite millenials involved in the OKC renaissance? I know you have gushed about Allison Bailey (Pop-up shops and retail consulting) and Blair Humphreys (Wheeler District, etc). Who else?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:30 p.m. Kristen Vails, Shane Hampton, Jonathan Fowler, Dustin Akers, Jonathan Dodson... so many more...
Guest 12:30 p.m. Obligatory question about the KC/Dallas envy project just for consistency's sake. Are the odds improving?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:30 p.m. Status quo.
Guest 12:31 p.m. What kind of timeline are we looking at for the Main & Hudson tower? Announcement this year?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:31 p.m. Maybe.
Uptowner 12:31 p.m. Any rumblings happening behind the scenes for the body works location in east bricktown?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:31 p.m. Nope.
Guest 12:31 p.m. I recently saw the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX and it doesn't seem to fit with the aesthetic of the Boathouse District at all. Would they change their design to fit in that area better if they came here?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:31 p.m. I think it could fit in the right location. I don't know if it's locked into one design or not.
Guest 12:31 p.m. Is Tapstone moving into Bricktown going to have an impact on vacant upper floors elsewhere in the district?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:32 p.m. Yes. I think they'll grow to a few hundred employees.
Guest 12:32 p.m. Haven't asked in awhile, but is Continental still growing quickly? Are they going to need new space soon?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:32 p.m. They are set to grow into the four floors leased by Crowe & Dunlevy, which is moving into the Braniff Building.
Guest 12:32 p.m. Why aren't the intersections and crosswalks automatic for pedestrians in OKC (like in other cities) instead of the old school push buttons? This would be a great change in this city.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:33 p.m. Because Oklahoma City is designed for cars over people.
Guest 12:33 p.m. Are you aware of anything going on with the EMSA building just west of the Plaza Court building?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:33 p.m. If EMSA ever moves, that block will develop quickly.
Guest 12:33 p.m. Not to rain on your parade, but extending Sheridan into JFK would require a crossing of UP tracks. Good luck with that.
Guest 12:34 p.m. When will the Hyatt Place start at the Steelyard? After all the apartments have been built?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:34 p.m. I think the hotel could start construction first.
Guest 12:34 p.m. How might Salyer's position on the Boulevard affect her re-election chances? Especially if there is a strong southside candidate running against her?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:34 p.m. What is her position?
Guest 12:35 p.m. Is American Energy still growing? Any chance Aubrey decides that downtown is the place to be?
Steve Lackmeyer 12:35 p.m. I don't think McClendon will end up downtown. I'm hearing he's going with mid- and low-rise buildings at Wilshire and Broadway Extension.
Guest 12:35 p.m. AEP will build south of the old OPUBCO building.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:35 p.m. Yep.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:36 p.m. Folks, I've got to go now.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:36 p.m. Today's chat had 107 comments and questions, 1,025 page views and readership hit 279.
Steve Lackmeyer 12:36 p.m. Have a great weekend!

Steve Lackmeyer

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... Read more ›