Steve and Jack, on the job live blogging Wednesday. Photo by Doug Loudenback, www.dougdawg.blogspot.com (be sure to check out Doug’s great account of yesterday’s Devon tower announcement) .
Yesterday’s reporting on the new Devon Tower was a lot of fun, if simply because it allowed the repairing of what editors used to refer to as “Lack-Money.” Yep, that could also probably describe my financial situation – and that of Jack Money. But back at the newsroom, the phrase “Lack-Money” was usually uttered by an editor amused at our latest bit of trouble-making or excited over our big scoop.
Jack started at The Oklahoman in 1988, I started in 1990. That means that in the early 1990s, we were a couple of kids who didn’t have any life (well, at least I didn’t) and journalism was a fresh adventure. Our earliest collaborations involved mostly crime stories. Investigations into Asian gangs, a brutal slaying in Edmond, etc. Jack was moved to the City Hall beat just as MAPS was being launched. We worked together again reporting on the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and we were paired as a real reporting team in 1996.
We won the lottery getting to cover not just MAPS, but also the recovery from the bombing and the development of Bricktown and the Skirvin. In the late 1990s it seems as if we were getting on front page on a daily basis. And just as the Bricktown Canal was about to open, I dared to suggest we were witnessing history – so why not write a book? Jack, almost always the more level-headed half of this team, looked at me and didn’t hesitate calling me crazy. But seven years later, we published an in-depty history on downtown, “OKC Second Time Around.” The response to it has been flattering.
We were separated as a team a few years ago – editors wanted me to try my hand at full-time investigative and special projects reporting. Jack was sent to the State Capitol and then promoted to assistant city editor.
I moved to the business desk first, in 2005, after I expressed an interest in covering more of the business angle to downtown development. It also didn’t hurt that editors agreed to let me have a weekly column – part of the job I truly enjoy. After spending a couple of years as a highly-regarded editor, Jack desired to move back to writing and reporting, and he took over the always-busy energy beat just as the ice storms were tearing through the state in December.
Anyway, just know that yesterday’s blog reporting was a two-man effort. I continuously posted play-by-play as Jack outlined interesting factoids in the press release and uploaded photos for us to post. Maybe along the way, you noticed an early error or two – construction starting in 2008 instead of 2009 (typo) or a quote attributed to the wrong person. We corrected both ASAP – such problems are the downside of reporting this way. But I’ve heard from quite a few of you that you enjoyed sharing a seat in the auditorium via our postings. We had fun, and I hope you did too.
Well, you get the drift. It’s tall. Here’s a video from this morning:
Pickard says they never set out to build what is certainly the largest building in the city, maybe in the state.
“Height is fleeting. Beauty is not.”
Started with number of employees, then came up with 1.9 million square feet to house them.
400,000 square feet for the “podium.” And then 1.5 million square feet for the tower.
My laptop is about to lose battery power now. I just want to make note that Jack Money and I have been working together on this coverage. We’ve been tag-teaming on downtown coverage in one way or another for a dozen years.
Architect Rand Elliott Mayoral aide David Holt just commented the tower will the 21st highest building in the United States.
Larry Nichols wants to double the size of the west City Center garage from five to 10 stories. Make it exclusively for Devon employees
No surprise, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority just unanimously approved the Devon project.
There is so much to this project. Employees will be up in the upper rafters of the dome of the atrium. An elaborate park. A public space for restaurants. The footprint makes it look as if the building is set atop a water garden. There is way, way too much detail here to rush out in a blog right now. But wow…. stay tuned
Larry Nichols: We didn’t just wnat to build a big corporate highrise that was highly secured and wasn’t embracing the city.
Nichols would like to see people visiting the National Memorial walking along Harvey to walk through the atrium on their way to the Myriad Gardens.
Nichols hopes the money this project will generate (I assume TIF) will be used to improve the Myriad Gardens and “the entire neighborhood.”
Veteran Urban Renewal commissioner Stanton Young:
I’ve always felt that every great city in the world had a great heart, a great center. I think what we’re seeing today will in the future be considered the heart, the strength, of our city.
It’s the most thoughtful design we’ve seen.
Curtains just pulled from models. Crowd applause. Oohs and ahs. People are pretty happy right now.
Pickard: “We are endeavoring to build a beacon.”
925 feet tall
1.9 million square feet of space
“it’s one of the most substantive projects Mr. Hines and Pickard and Chilton have ever been involved in.”
Pickard says they’re trying to create a building that speaks to the culture of Devon. Pointed out Devon is committed to the community, and design needs to serve entire community.
Pickard said his team looked at existing buildings, traffic patterns, plans for Core to Shore.
“There is an important north south axis. It connects from downtown Oklahoma City to the river.”
Pickard said the building is designed to accentuate that axis.