There’s certainly a lot of disagreement as to what he has to say about this project. I’m not seeing him in the chamber….
“As part of this we’re going to take some buildings down.
We understand the history of these other buildings. We are sympathetic. And we are not careless in the destruction of these buildings. But we are saying: how historic? How much? Is there a use in the bigger master plan?
Says you need landscapes that move with the wind, not just petunias that just come out with the spring. Says design will create an open space that will be used for children’s birthday parties.
“This becomes a place that is part of the corporate life and the city life.”
Says “This is a highly specific site” with buildings situated like no other.
Points out the former Kerr-McGee tower (now SandRidge Tower) was designed to be one of multiple towers on the block.
Talks about the need to reorient the entrance to the tower.
Says there is a lot of open space on the site, but not very successful. Hot, windy, not ideal…
Says did significant wind studies, designing the open space to be used.
Notes Preservation Oklahoma never appeared or spoke at Downtown Design Review Committee meetings.
Denies arguments by Preservation Oklahoma.
“The components of the ordinance are subjective, and require the good judgment of the ddrc, which I feel they exercised.”
All to this material would not have made a difference to DDRC.
Denies SandRidge misrepresented opinions of Bob Blackburn, State Historic Preservation Office.
“They told us in advance there were big problems with that building. We did extensive work with the properties.”
“Did have structural engineering provided by longtime employee, but not independent….”
Said buildings not used in quarter of century. (note: poster at OKCTalk says he worked at India Temple in the late 1990s, early 2000s)
says no fatal flaw in following ordinance.
Each building was discussed separately….
Single resolution proper….
Says many in design community are opposed to the SandRidge demolition plan, but are afraid of reprisal by company if they speak out.
Notes Melvena Heisch of historic preservation office was misrepresented by SandRidge in its application. Is presenting a list of buildings like India Temple building where cladding was successfully removed, and the building was restored with federal tax credit assistance
Says there were no structural engineering reports provided to Downtown Design Review Committee, other than one done in 1987 for the India Temple Building.
“Economic viability not in the ordinance…. Most of the discussion centered on this topic, which is not in the ordinance.”
Also accuses SandRidge of misrepresenting talks of city staff and opinion issued by Dr. Bob Blackburn, director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the state historic preservation office
Catching some things being said by Downtown Design Review Committee member Jim Loftis in the replay of the April 8 meeting that didn’t occur to me when I covered it.
He said the buildings went 20 years without any interest by the development community.
Doug Loudenback, in his blog www.dougdawg.blogspot.com, points out that I interviewed Kerr-McGee CEO Luke Corbett in 2006 and in that interview Corbett noted he had fielded numerous development offers for the Braniff and Kermac buildings but turned them away due either to “timing” or that they “didn’t fit.”
Not sure that lines up well with statements by Loftis on April 8.
The tv replay of the April 8 meeting shows city council chamber that has virtually no opponents to the demolition plans and only the 8-10 member SandRidge team arguing for the demolition.
Today is far different…. I estimate there are at least 60 more folks here allied with Preservation Oklahoma. It may be more, but I don’t know everyone in the crowd or how they stand. I’m going on who and what I know.
It’s my experience, however, that crowd size tends to matter more with design review committees and less with the judge-like Board of Adjustment.