If the leather-bound proposals weren’t the first hint, have no doubt, Gary Brooks and Mike Henderson are out to win the MidTown site and are surprising their competitors at each and every stop.
“We try to create a wow factor, and you’ve got to do that from the beginning” – Gary Brooks, describing the designs for their project, The Edge at MidTown.
As an aside, I’m curious as to whether the relative lack of questioning we’ve seen so far with the Ellard and Wiggin proposal will continue throughout the morning.
I’m not taking sides on which is the best proposal. But in terms of quality of presentation (commanding voice, no fluff, directly tackling the issues), Gary Brooks is coming off as Kevin Durant competing against a basketball players at the University of Central Oklahoma. And he clearly isn’t going to go short on his proposal time allotment as did Wiggin and Ellard.
“We wouldn’t change a thing … it doesn’t mean we’re not inflexible. but we spent a lot of time on this, and we’re very pleased with it.”
Brooks is fielding a lot more questions from Urban Renewal commissioners than Wiggin and Ellard. Being questioned on lack of retail, track record of holding/selling projects, exterior facade materials. Important clarification just popped up – parking for Unitarian church across the street would consist of just 45 spots for staff from church, nearby Villa Theresa school, not for congregation. This is not something that addresses concerns of church.
Another wow moment: presentation over, Mike Henderson, quiet throughout, speaks about Legacy complex as break begins. Tells commissioners: “When I drive by that project, I don’t feel as much pride as I wish I did. This is a nice step up.”
An observer in the audience, someone I consider one of the leading experts in urban planning and design, quietly whispers: “It’s in the bag.”