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OKC Central live chat: Community leaders recognized at Impact Awards

The Collective at NW 10 and Harvey, once littered with debris and junked cars, is now a community gathering spot in Midtown. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]
The Collective at NW 10 and Harvey, once littered with debris and junked cars, is now a community gathering spot in Midtown. [DAVE MORRIS/THE OKLAHOMAN]

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.

Who were some unsung heroes at the Impact Awards last Friday?

We can not fully appreciate the hard work and commitment being shown by those on the east side to revive NE 23 as an important corridor for the black community. It has a lot to work with and it was great to see the NEOKC Developer's Conference recognized.

I do hope, however, that we remember there were other great finalists, notably Factory Obscura/Mixtape, that are just amazing additions to our downtown.

Speaking of Impact Awards, do you see any obvious nominees for 2020?

Expect Oklahoma Contemporary to be a major contender. The Omni might surprise folks and be a contender as well.

Is it true that Crate and Barrel will be going into the new development at 50th and Penn when it's completed? Another website says it will.

They have some letters of interest, but until the deal is done to even build OAK, it's difficult to see how leases might be secured yet. I strongly suspect there will be a discussion about public assistance in some form whether it's just for streets and infrastructure or for actual retail incentives.

When will we hear more about the proposed developments on NE 4th and EK Gaylord?

The Urban Renewal Authority is reviewing the two proposals and we are likely to see a recommendation made to commissioners at their next meeting. Based on discussion at the meeting on Monday, I'm not sure if that will happen in March or April.

For what it's worth, based on timing and other factors, I strongly suspect Arvest Bank was the tenant envisioned for the original proposal by Rose Rock, which went a different direction in response to the second request for proposals. Arvest Bank chose to consolidate and anchor the former BOK Plaza tower between those two submittals.

When will we see groundbreaking of the Thunder Alley south of the arena? It would be great if it was open for the tip off of the Thunder season in fall of 2020.

They want to proceed as soon as possible and are in the midst of going through all the reviews and permitting steps needed to get started. I see them starting construction this summer and progressing at a rapid pace.

What is the next step for streetcar expansion? It wasn't included in MAPS 4, so are we currently looking at a decade before it could potentially be included in a MAPS 5? Or could we see a separate funding mechanism allow for expansion to areas like 23rd St, the state capitol, OU Med Center, Capitol Hill, Farmers Market, and the Plaza? I know BRT is going to be the major focus in the next 5 years, along with possibly looking at metro rail, but will the streetcar really end up being only what we have now and nothing more?

I'm not sure we will see any further streetcar expansion unless it is tied into a larger regional transit funding plan. The costs for expansion killed it as part of MAPS 4.

What is the latest on the hotel by the Pivot guys in Midtown?

The six-story hotel, to be built immediately south of Elk Valley Brewing on Hudson Avenue, is scheduled for construction to start, barring any delays, by this fall.

Do you know if/when work will begin on Britton road between Broadway Extension and Waverly, particularly near Owl Court and the old Britton business district. The road is in pretty rough shape.

Yes, there is funding to not just repave the street, but thanks to MAPS 4, do some beautification/streetscape/placemaking as well. I really believe we are seeing some momentum underway in Britton, but it is fragile and early. Care must be taken to tackle these projects in a way that they won't kill the businesses that have recently opened.

Crystal ball time: do you see the lot east of the Bricktown ball park being developed in the next 10 years?

I suspect the city will want to see development take place on the land to the east of the parking lot where Champ Patel planned to build three hotels but has since scrapped the development and put the land up for sale.

The block in Deep Deuce that has the Rand Elliot office as well as the gas station to the south, do you ever seen something bigger happening here?

Not anytime soon. Rand Elliott owns some nice property that was last home to a Leo's BBQ before it closed and the building was torn down. And I'm aware of attempts to get the owners of the gas station to consider development as well.

I don't see either party being in a rush to develop. It might require different owners to see the true potential of this area that is actually a part of Automobile Alley.

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 ›

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