Thanks to Kim Searls, Marketing Director at Downtown OKC Inc., for sharing photos of today’s noontime chaos at downtown’s Oklahoma Tower. It appears as if the Mercedes backed into the former, and empty, Hornets gift shop.
Randy Hogan, “Bricktown Entertainment Center,” now “Lower Bricktown,” 2004, Oklahoman Archives
The original concept.
That’s the question as plans change once again in Lower Bricktown. More than a year ago developer Randy Hogan was planning on building this two-story retail complex between Harkins Theater and Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill. Now we know from a story in today’s business section that plans have changed.
The update has posters at www.okctalk.com upset – they’ve typically not been big fans of Hogan. One longtime poster and visitor to this blog commented that the latest changes are a reminder of why he preferred one-time Hogan rival Moshe Tal.
Over the past decade, Tal has sued more than two dozen city officials, at least three of his own former legal teams and several judges who heard his cases – all of this pretty much related to his complaints over not being selected for the Lower Bricktown project.
Before any construction can take place, Hogan will need to obtain design approval from the Urban Renewal Authority – a board whose members are selected by the mayor and where deliberations are required to be conducted at a public meeting.
Keven Carl, with “Mr. Roberts” shows the kitchen and dining room she decorated in one of the townhouses at the Brownstones at
Park, by Paul Hellstern
Christie Morrow decorated the balcony of this townhouse at the Brownstones at
Nice job done by all at the Brownstones at Maywood Park. Developers were very, very, very lucky to be chosen as this year’s showcase for the fundraiser.
In case you missed the Saturday story…
Downtown spreads out
Housing developers tackle their projects on small lots of land
By Steve lackmeyer
|Saturday, April 19, 2008
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS, Page 1B
The days of large, undeveloped tracts of downtown land cleared by Urban Renewal awaiting a developer are over. But that’s not inhibiting some housing developers from seeking out opportunities in less likely spots — even if it means pursuing projects on smaller lots.
Tom Seabrooke, who to date has been a suburban home developer, admits he admires the work that has been completed so far— projects like The Centennial, Block 42 and the Brownstones at Maywood Park.
“I saw them and I thought, I’d like to get in on some of this,” Seabrooke said.
A shifting downtown market
Finding the right spot for downtown housing, however, is more difficult than it was even a few years ago. Seabrooke discovered most swaths of land in the Deep Deuce and Flat Iron districts — where most downtown housing is being built — are already controlled by developers or are up for sale at extravagant prices.
MidTown, with its scattered 25 by 25 foot lots, has a history of attracting smaller infill developments. Along NW 7, west of Shartel Avenue, architect Randy Floyd renovated a series of territorial homes and was then followed by other architects who bought nearby lots and built new houses.
And so it is that Seabrooke is entering the downtown housing market with 21 units, instead of 80, at the corner of NW 7 and Dewey Avenue. He is also planning to build another set of condominiums on a center lot across the street. While the lots are surrounded by older homes, Seabrooke thinks sales, with prices ranging between $220,000 and $320,000, will go well thanks to proximity to St. Anthony Hospital.
“There is really nothing over that way,” Seabrooke said. “This is close enough to downtown, and I can also cater to the people at the hospital. I’ve had people approach me about these and if I had contracts ready, they’d be signing now.”
Brett Hamm, president of Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., said the emergence of such a development is an indicator that the downtown market is shifting.
“This may be an area where the city has a bit of a learning curve,” Hamm said. “It’s similar to when downtown residential development first started – many of the projects were new to city planning and zoning. But permits for this sort of development are being turned around a lot quicker now.”
Seeing the big picture
Hamm acknowledges that while the opportunities for larger scale downtown housing development are currently limited. But he adds more wide open spaces will open up in a few years as the city pursues the Core to Shore plan for blighted land between the Central Business District and the Oklahoma River.
The advent of smaller infill development such as Seabrooke’s project is welcomed by Hamm, who wants to see more density downtown.
“These guys are a whole new brand of pioneers,” Hamm said. “The developers like Grant Humphreys (Block 42) and Anthony McDermid (Brownstones at Maywood Park) — they are pioneers too. These guys that do infill, while it’s a smaller product, it’s no less important in the big picture.”
Steve Lackmeyer: 475-3230, firstname.lastname@example.org
Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne, left, carries the Flaming Lips Alley sign while Michael Ivins follows behind as they make their way through the crowd of fans during the official dedication of the Flaming Lips Alley at the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, in Oklahoma City. Photo by CHRIS LANDSBERGER
At www.okc talk.com, the latest news is that Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips, was seen enjoying coffee with his equally talented artist wife Michelle at Coffee Slingers, the new “fundamentalist” coffee shop at NW 10 and Broadway along Automobile Alley. Gee, if this were US Magazine, we could boast “he’s just like us!” (Groan).
But seriously, it should be no surprise when one sees Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips out and about. He’s a proud OKC resident, and part of his appeal is that he’s stayed pretty down to earth despite his band’s worldwide success and fairly new celebrity status here in his hometown.
I was first introduced to their music a couple years ago by Chad Huntington, operator of the Bricktown Water Taxis. I’m still not sure I can describe their music – I’m not religious about it like some fans, but I like it. It’s fun, uplifting and the fans are part of the entertainment. And hey, what other city can boast an appearance by Santa Claus and Martians at a street naming dedication?
Yeah, I’ll name drop now… yep, I’ve met Wayne Coyne – got introduced by Chad when they were all at LIT during one of those ice storms in early 2007. I ineptly asked how OKC might attract more folks like Wayne to stay in Oklahoma City. I wanted to know what kept a clearly creative class person like him to stay in what has traditionally been a conservative city. After all, Wayne Coyne didn’t just stay in OKC – to this day he lives in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods just west of downtown – Classen 10 Penn – and is helping stablize the area from deteriorating any further.
So how do I summarize Wayne’s response? Things are as they are ….
Oddly, looking back now, that actually makes sense.
304 NE 3 – The heart of Deep Deuce and nominated for Worst Downtown Eyesore.
Let’s see now… it’s been boarded up since at least 2002, it has broken windows and the siding is peeling off. I know it was placed at least once on the city’s “long-term boarded-up buildings” list but not sure if any action followed.
Oklahoma County Assessor records show the building was built in 1915 and is owned by Melvin F. Luster.
If you were hoping to get some fried chicken tonight at Half Time Sports Grill (I’m not too sure many of you are out there), you’ll need to pursue another venue.
Yes, it’s closed. Gates are locked. The place is empty. Elvis has left the building.