Downtown housing expands, some affordable housing planned
The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers during Friday's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Here is an edited transcript:
I keep seeing more and more condos/housing being built in and around the downtown area. Just curious, how they are going to fill all of them? The rent is way out of my price range and I make pretty good money. I know quite a few people who find it intriguing to live in these areas but find a 15-minute drive from the burbs is far cheaper.
Affordable housing is coming, but it will be tied to income. We've seen some leveling out with rent with the influx of new projects. I suspect that will continue. We saw a glut a couple of years ago with the opening of the Steelyard, Mosaic, Lift and Metropolitan, but that supply has since been absorbed and occupancy is back up to 90 percent or better in many of the downtown apartment properties.
The new hotel proposed by the Pivot Project on 11th and Hudson looks pretty interesting but it looks to me like, except for the 12 or so spaces behind the Hudson Street Market, there isn't any parking. If they own the property where the former tiny Asian restaurant you liked sits, do you think that will be a car lot? Between the hotel, the market and Elk Valley and no parking on the north side of 11th, that will be a pretty heavily peopled area.
David Wanzer with the Pivot Project told me they are working out arrangements with nearby property owners and will also be using valet parking for the hotel. Keep in mind this project is adjacent to the streetcar and expectations about parking are changing especially in areas with high walkability like Midtown.
You have mentioned previously that private funds went into the Downtown Quiet Zone along the BNSF Railway. Where did these funds come from? Could they also be used to fund extension of the Quiet Zone to include North OKC, also perhaps Southeast OKC? Also, might the communities of Nichols Hills, The Village, and perhaps Moore provide some funding, since these improvements would benefit their residents, too?
The private funds were donated by downtown property and business owners, so this model would not work for these other areas of town. I do believe the new incoming city council members may show an interest in adding some money for quiet zones in the Britton to Hefner area as well as in southeast Oklahoma City. The BNSF doesn't really run in The Village.
When will we see movement on the OnCue construction coming to Western/Classen? I'm in favor of it. I understand the critics, but we have no other full service station this close to downtown to include gas, hot bar, variety of foods beyond sugar snacks. We should be in support of someone coming to town and providing this service. No one else has thus far, so let's support OnCue.
They have not provided a timetable yet, but they indicated they are eager to get started. They will need to spend some time on doing site reports, setting up infrastructure and drainage, and also working with the city on improvements to the street intersection at NW 13. They also will need to move the two historic homes as promised.
Given the parcel make up of the "Grassy Knoll" site including parcels already under Bomasada control — what are the odds that both the Rose Rock and Bomasada project came to fruition if OCURA awarded their site to the Rose Rock proposal that makes better use of the Broadway/EKG frontage?
Look closely at the Rose Rock proposal. A lot of it is structured parking. Don't get caught up in the fact that Rose Rock presented renderings and Bomasada took the unusual step of not doing so.
The question is, which project brings the most density, people and activity to the property at NW 4 and E.K. Gaylord Ave. I doubt the apartments happen just on the private half of the block. The Rose Rock proposal leaves half of the block at a disadvantage to ever be developed. That's a question they will be expected to answer.