On February 17 I posted the following:
So is there really going to be an open and unbiased look at where to build the convention center? As I pursue this question, let’s look back at what we were told during the campaign. First up, a video and quote from Mayor Mick Cornett at an Oct. 21, 2009 “Breaking Through” luncheon:
We have a really good site picked out in Core to Shore planning. Put it on the boulevard, right next to the park. We’re going to continue to revisit the site because this is a pretty big decision. I want to make sure we have a strong concensus in the community that this is the best site. But the things to keep in mind is where are the hotels, where is bricktown? Do not get too far away from either of those two entities. I think the current site addresses that adequately. But there are other sites we can consider and we’ll do that on the other side of the vote if it’s successful.
See video below:
Now, after watching this and hearing this, it appears that we have two messages that came out: yeah, the mayor had a favored location, but he was promising it wasn’t a done deal.
In case there’s any confusion over this, let’s look at what was reported in the Oct. 21, 2009 Gazette:
Regarding the convention center’s exact location, Williams said four possible sites are being considered: south of the existing Ford Center, at Producers Cooperative Oil Mill facility, the lumberyard north of that facility or the Deep Deuce area north of Bricktown.
Cornett said the community will have input in public discussions for all potential sites if MAPS 3 is approved.
Will there be a real discussion of where the convention center will be built? And what will that discussion be?
Marsh Pitman, who developed the Bricktown garage and Hampton Inn, posted this comment in the Convention Center Report post thread:
There is no rational reason to put the convention center on the park. I think the city has decided if they don’t put it there, nothing will develop there for years to come.
Proximity to hotels, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other entertainment should serve as the criteria for selecting a convention center site. Period. We should not simply consider what is best for convention business, but consider what is best for the City as a whole.
After reading the HOK Convention Site Study, it is clear that there are only two sites worth considering. The #1 ranked site on the Lumberyard south of Bricktown and the #2 ranked site on East Main Street north of Bricktown. While the Lumberyard site might be better from a purely convention business perspective, the East Main Street site, with improved proximity to the CBD and existing hotels, including the Skirvin, might be the better choice from the OKC community’s perspective.
Have a look for yourself and see what you think. Here is the HOK Study obtained from the City: HOK Convention Center Site Study – January 2008