Sorry for the lack of posting this week. Everything is moving pretty fast, and I’m spending a lot of time keeping up with changes – changes in who’s doing what downtown, changes in what’s happening next development wise, and in case you’ve not seen the ads, some big changes coming to The Oklahoman.
I’m fortunate to have you, the readers of this blog. It’s easy to brag on you – I learn as much from you and your posting on this site as you do from anything I might add on a daily basis.
So what changes are ahead? Once upon a time, downtown was content with simply trying to attract more people. I recall a time when the announcement of any new housing or hotels downtown was a really, really big deal. I’m certain a decade ago the Embassy Suites announced for the Oklahoma Health Center could likely have been front page news. But now, it’s one of several downtown hotel projects in the works – and dare we say, something we simply expect?
The same goes for housing.
So our expectations have changed. Core to Shore is clearly moving from just being another plan to a fairly ambitious endeavor to be implemented, using eminent domain, if necessary.
Keep an eye out on who’s running things downtown. The Greater OKC Chamber is still looking at having Downtown OKC Inc. become a tenant in its new headquarters. That doesn’t sit well with some downtown property owners I’ve visited with, and yet, with no president at the helm, is this the time when the organization will lose its independence?
At the same time, the Bricktown Association is continuing to evolve under the leadership of Jim Cowan – and it’s clearly moving away from the days of fighting over beer and soft drink sponsorships and who might get to sell turkey legs at a street festival. These days, the association is delving into the world of how best to attract more retail, spur development and dare I suggest, make parking a pleasant part of a visitor’s experience.
The Bricktown Association is growing up to be like the much quieter and sophisticated Automobile Alley Association (sometime soon, I really must shine a light on these folks and their accomplishments).
And then we move onto MidTown. What’s next now that Greg Banta is gone? We still don’t know. We also still don’t know how the new Devon Tower will reconfigure the Central Business District, though some hints of the future are beginning to emerge.
Finally, what will my coverage of all this look like in a few months? I don’t know. Stories will be written differently. I’ve experimented with the new story formats in recent weeks with my coverage of Shepherd Mall and Coyote Ugly. Online videos will be more and more commonplace. And this blog – which was the most read of the NewsOk blogs this past month – will apparently become a bigger part of my coverage of downtown.
So yeah, forgive me for my infrequent posting this week. I’ve been slightly distracted.