Questions and Answers with Marsh Pitman
Q: You’re one of Bricktown’s leading developers, having built the Power Alley Parking Garage and the Hampton Inn. What is your reaction to the Urban Land Institute report on proposed Core to Shore development?
A: The ULI did an amazing amount of work in the week they were here. I’m glad OKC had the foresight to have them come and to help with the cost. It was well worth it I thought.
They recommended that we choose the new convention center site quickly and that it should go on the lumberyard property south of Bricktown. I’m in total agreement with both recommendations. That site is much closer to existing hotels, bars, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. It makes total sense to me.
Q: Are you comfortable with discussion to date on where a convention center should be located?
A: No, I am not. There has been no word from City Hall since the ULI report, neither negative nor positive. I think the issue is more important than that. For those of us to whom this issue is of major importance, the silence is deafening.
From the marketing campaign for MAPS 3 it appears the city has decided the park location south of the Ford Center is the best site. I noticed it was located at that site in the model the city had set up for the ULI presentation. It needs to be explained in a public discourse why the city prefers this site. It is further from all the amenities already downtown.
Q: The Hampton Inn is reportedly one of the region’s best-performing franchises. Why haven’t there been any more hotel projects announced in Bricktown?
A: Two reasons really. To be fair, a couple of hotels would have been built, Candlewood and Holiday Inn Express, if financing weren’t so hard to obtain. It’s a very tight credit market out there.
I know of one hotel shovel-ready, but the developers are waiting for the convention center site to be chosen. If it is on the (Core to Shore) park, the hotel won’t be built. They think it is just too far from them.
BY STEVE LACKMEYER, BUSINESS WRITER