OKC Central live chat recap: Restaurants added downtown, in Bricktown
The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer fielded questions from readers during this week's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve most Fridays at 9:30 a.m. to add your questions and comments about ongoing developments around Oklahoma City.
When will Spaghetti Factory open?
Spaghetti Factory is set to open this summer. It should be a good, fun addition to Bricktown, providing families with an inexpensive dining option and filling a need for large party seating that was lost with the closings of Chelino's and Spaghetti Warehouse.
Do you know if the Petro Deli / Hot Tamale plan to get outside signage? I don't think a lot of people even know they exist or are open at that corner.
Good question. It's weird because they've done a nice job building it out, yet they're only open for a couple hours over the lunch time, they have no signage, and one has to wonder about their strategy.
My understanding is this will be a permanent second location and that the original Hot Tamale will reopen at BancFirst Tower once renovations are complete (the deli simply made a temporary move to the Petroleum Club level when it was displaced).
Are there any particular industries that OKC leaders want to lure to Downtown? I recall back in the '90s, Gov. Keating wanted to see more insurance company HQs here.
Insurance companies certainly wouldn't be a bad addition. I know the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is out there trying to bring in technology companies as part of a continued effort to diversify our economy.
When will more Maps 4 details and timeline be made known?
We're probably looking at it coming together over this next year. The first step is putting together a MAPS 4 citizens oversight group. A consultant will likely be hired (ADG performed this role with MAPS for Kids and MAPS 3, FSB did it with the original MAPS).
The consultant with work with city staff on compiling a proposed timeline based on timing of revenues (remember, it's pay as you go), urgency and need. The timeline will then get hashed out with the citizens oversight group and then decided by the city council.
The process may seem complicated, but it's the best way to ensure money is spent as efficiently as possible and to keep everything within budget.
Hi Steve, enjoyed reading your story about significant OKC projects that were completed in the 2010s. Would be interested to know which of those, or perhaps other, developments in the life of our city YOU personally enjoyed seeing and writing about the most.
I was interesting watching the evolution of Brickopolis from what struck some as an excuse to building parking along the canal to creating a great family entertainment option with the miniature golf and entertainment complex.
Wheeler has been a fascinating experiment in mixed-use community building. It's especially interesting to see how Blair Humphreys, who started out going in a different direction than his brother and father by going into planning, is now using that background in creating Wheeler.
West Village is another ambitious project that involved the Hall family putting together one piece at a time, starting with 21c Museum Hotel, then the amazing Jones Assembly, and finally the apartments and retail.
The Uptown revival has been a joy to follow. I love The Pump. I love the transformation of the Tower Theatre and everything surrounding it. I love The Rise. We have so much going on in Uptown and so much yet to follow.
BAR K is planning to be built just north of the river rapids facility. Due to limited land space around the River facilities, if and when more private investment happens on the OK River, where do you expect it to happen? Further east closer to the FAM? On the south side of the river? West of the current facilities?
There is more land than one might realize. There is ample space for BAR K, a hotel, housing and retail. It's all about site planning.
What's Midtown Renaissance's next move?
They're currently continuing the conversion of the old Mercedes of Oklahoma City dealership at NW 13 and Broadway into a mix of offices and retail. They also are building the Boulevard building across from the Plaza Court building.
They keep their cards closely held on future moves. But drive past the west side of the parking structure adjoining the Monarch Building. Construction is complete, yet it appears that while building the garage some foundation work was prepared for ... something ... on that empty lot.
Are building owners getting nervous with the large amount of vacant office space downtown?
It's been worse. And there are still a lot of moves taking place. I've been around long enough to know that these trends are never forever. But the growth of the energy sector employment is over, and it may not return. That's why diversification remains a priority.
JFK resident/homeowner here. Love all the positive movement with Page Woodson, we even have Culture Coffee open and serving great java at 6th/Stonewall now. Any idea on Lincoln Square/Braums/OnCue timeline south of 4th St? I think this will be critical to our neighborhood's continued revitalization.
Lincoln Square is ambitious and will require a lot of pieces, both public and private, to come together and I'm not sure of how that will end up or when it might come to a point of seeing actual construction.
The Braums and OnCue, however, are very real at this point and I suspect things will start moving this next year.
I could be crazy, but in your story about okc growing out not up you said something to the tune of "I highly doubt we see anything above 12 stories" ...... way too specific..... time to kick up the #mysterytower rumors
No. No. No.
I went with 12 stories as simply a safe number. ... We obviously have a couple of projects on the drawing boards like the eight-story Boulevard Place planned for E.K. Gaylord next to the new Omni Hotel.
We have a 10-story Renaissance Hotel being built in Bricktown.
And yes, it's possible we might see more buildings being built that might be six to a dozen stories high. But that's it. I just don't see the skyscrapers being built anytime soon.
I think in one of your recent columns, you mentioned Park Avenue one day returning to being a shopping district as it was in the past. Does that mean street level stores and store windows? Or will it be back to those cave-dwellings under the buildings again?
I'm talking about retail filling up the ground floor of a renovated First National and retail filling out the empty spaces at City Place Tower.