The original plans – click on image to enlarge
From time to time I hear grumbling about the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and whether it really holds developers to the plans that get them selected against other competitors.
What’s wonderful about The Oklahoman’s archives is we can see for ourselves whether there is any validity to this complaint.
Today we start this new series with a look at developer Mike Henderson’s original designs and compare them to what was built. I pick Legacy at Arts Central because it by far the one most mentioned by critics.
The last time I heard people in Oklahoma City envying Tulsa or trash talking the city was … well, I can’t remember.
After all, it just isn’t a topic of conversation here in the capital city. Sure, the editorial pages of The Oklahoman and Tulsa World sometimes have some exchanges back and forth. But when you get out on the streets, out in public, you’ll hear Tulsa discussed in terms of having nice museums, its cool Art Deco downtown, or the aquarium (which is actually in the Tulsa suburb of Jenks).
Yes, my friends from Tulsa, there is no animosity toward you here in Oklahoma City.
The last time I heard people in Tulsa envying Oklahoma City or trash talking the city was … today, a couple days ago, and just about anytime positive news about Oklahoma City reaches Tulsa.
Today I had a story about how the NBA is drawing new restaurants and clubs into Bricktown. The story was reprinted at www.tulsaworld.com and quickly drew sarcastic and negative responses.
Here’s a sample that is a big theme in Tulsa right now:
Townsend, (12/3/2008 10:03:45 AM)
That’s great for them. It’d be nice if they kicked back some tax income to NE Oklahoma since NE Oklahoma is helping pay for their basketball team.
Yes, Tulsans are, as my friend Ryan would say, “et up” with the notion that they helped pay for the team. Yes, the team did qualify for the state’s Quality Jobs Act – the same incentive fund that has been tapped for economic development across the state, including Tulsa. Not sure if that means Tulsa paid for the team. But if it makes Tulsa happier, yes, by their logic, they are getting some money back via state sales taxes being generated from the game crowds.
Visit Tulsa World’s web site or Tulsa Now and you’ll see the same theme – an online community obsessed with finding fault with what’s going on in downtown Oklahoma City as if that’s going to somehow make every challenge facing their own downtown go away.
I can still recall the online reaction in Tulsa to news of Devon’s planned new 54-story world headquarters – “it will never get built” and “it’s not that big a deal,” etc.
Yes, some grudges and chest beating aren’t without some basis. I understand wanting to make the Turner Turnpike free; OKC isn’t at odds with you on this matter. Tulsa wants to Amtrak to travel northeast? Great - rail fans here in OKC are on board. Tulsa believes its BOK Center is stunning and more beautiful than Ford Center? Yep, OKC agrees. Tulsa’s skyline is more stunning than OKC?
Odd. Weird. Maybe Michael Bates or David Arnett, two Tulsa bloggers I follow with great interest, can explain this to me. Is the online Tulsa community representative of the city as a whole?
Let’s begin with one point to make clear: nobody is suggesting that the Academy of Contemporary Music being launched by UCO in cooperation with the London-based academy should open anywhere but in Bricktown. It’s set to open next year in Bricktown’s Oklahoma Hardware Building. This discussion is about a permanent, long-time home for the school once it outgrows Bricktown, which is expected to happen.
Film Row is a popular target amongst downtown advocates. The competition? The empty Lincoln Plaza Hotel at NW 45th and Lincoln, shown above. The property is self-contained and is part of no community other than a sprawling state bureaucracy that fills up the remainder of the Lincoln Boulevard corridor. AND TO BE CLEAR, THIS PROPERTY IS NOT MY SUGGESTION – ITS BEING CONSIDERED BY PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH THE PROJECT.
Rumors have been circulating at www.okctalk.com that Homeland is looking at closing its store at NW 18 and Classen and building a new, modern downtown store. This is more than rumor – sources tell me it’s true.
Homeland has been ramping up of late, improving its stores and buying up all but one of the former Albertsons stores that were briefly owned by Williams Discount Foods.
Imagine the possibility of Homeland building a flagship store in the heart of Oklahoma City – one that could serve Heritage Hills, Mesta Park and all the historic neighborhoods circling downtown, as well as downtown’s own growing residential population.
For Homeland, a new downtown store would be great hit publicity wise. Open a store at NW 178 and May Avenue and it will do well, but won’t be a big news story. Open a unique store downtown and expect it to be covered by local print, tv and radio news before and during construction and then after it opens.
Homeland knows from the old store it has now at NW 18 and Classen that a grocery can operate downtown or near downtown. And Byron Gambulous, owner os Byron’s Liquor, can provide some great stats on retail patterns overall.
So, I ask you the readers: where should a downtown grocery locate, and what would you do with the old Homeland at NW 18 and Classen?
Just got this press release from the Prohibition Room at the Gold Dome. I can’t say I’m totally surprised. The restaurant seems to be doing well at night and on weekends, but the lunch hour has been dismal. This is not a reflection on the food quality or service. From my own visits and observations from others, some would say the problem is with the menu: too expensive for lunch, and too long of a wait. Hopefully the overhaul will include a menu that caters to the downtown/uptown lunch crowd. The restaurant is a nice addition to the Gold Dome at NW 23 and Classen, and it would be shame if it failed.
Prohibition Room Restaurant/Lounge to Close for Lunch for 2 Weeks to Reorganize and Open Under New Kitchen Management.
Effective Monday December 1st the Prohibition Room Restaurant/Lounge located at 1112 NW 23rd St in the Historic Gold Dome in
North Oklahoma City will close for lunch for 2 weeks for reorganization and new kitchen management. The lunches will re-open again December 15th.
Prohibition Room will be open for business at 4pm until 2am everyday during this process serving dinner service nightly. Prohibition Room will be open Saturday’s and Sunday’s during normal business hours.
This decision is to improve the lunch service providing higher quality and faster service during the lunch period. Prohibition Room has been open for six months providing a relaxing atmosphere for patrons to have dinner and drinks. The small independent restaurant group made this decision to try to fix problems with kitchen issues and succeed in helping the 23rd street area continue the redevelopment process that began years ago.
Co-owner Joe Rosati was quoted “this is an unfortunate turn of events but necessary to the survival of the restaurant in the future and to re-focus on the guest and their needs”
That’s what I’m hearing about the two finalists for president of Downtown OKC Inc. Rumors have been floating around on the street for a few weeks about the search narrowing down – I’ve got it on good authority we’ll likely hear something soon. The two finalists I’m told both have extensive downtown experience and are no strangers to the challenges and opportunites facing downtown OKC.