BEFORE AND AFTER: McDonald’s changed designs for its proposed Bricktown restaurant after meeting resistance from the Bricktown Urban Design Committee.
“Urban designer? I’m not an urban designer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”
-Brett, Oklahoma City, at www.newsok.com
Today’s story about the owner of the Quality Inn at 1800 E Reno and his plans for a Bricktown Holiday Inn Express isn’t sitting well with all readers, if online comments today at www.newsok.com ,www.okctalk.com, www.okmet.org/bb are any indicator. The Bricktown Urban Design Committee, tasked with approving such projects, will consider the project at its next meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the second floor conference room at 116 E Sheridan Ave.
The criticism seems to focus on two different aspects of the application: the demolition of the old Steffen’s Ice Cream building, parts of which date back to 1917, and the construction of a new Holiday Inn Express that would have what appears to be about half of its facade consisting of a sythetic stucco.
Bob Blackburn advises to consider the first action very carefully – read his arguments here. It might be informative to look back at previous projects in the past couple of years that also clashed with standards set by the Bricktown urban design ordinance.
It was just last summer that McDonald’s pitched plans for a restaurant across from Bass Pro Shops. Officials claimed the restaurant was designed specifically for the entertainment district. But it didn’t take long to find the same design recently used on new McDonald’s in Mustang and other suburban areas. The design was even featured in a national advertisement. The McDonald’s folks tried to lecture the Bricktown Urban Design Committee on what they could and couldn’t require from the fast food giant. But with an hour-long special airing on cable that same month on how McDonald’s had constructed special restaurants to match historic districts, the company had a change of heart, hired a local architect, and came up with new designs that won unanimous praise throughout Bricktown.
When a Hampton Inn was proposed for Bricktown, it too was to include some synthetic stucco in its facade. The committee required the facade consist of brick, and the developers agreed without any argument.
Here are some questions not pondered: is the design of the proposed Holiday Inn Express, shown below, an example of franchise architecture or does it appear tailored to Bricktown?