I’m working on a story for Tuesday about two potential developments in Bricktown. I say potential because after talking to involved parties, neither deal is ready to go. Gary Berlin has desired to convert the upper floors of his Oklahoma Hardware Building for a couple of years. Chris Johnson, who has gained control of the vacant land across from the JDM Building and along Mickey Mantle Drive (across the canal from each other), is looking at creating parking and retail – a proposal that may or may not encounter some difficulty at this week’s Bricktown Urban Design Committee. Anderson owned land in Bricktown before, even once spoke of going a canal side hotel or retail development, but never seemed to get beyond the business of doing paid surface parking.
Both projects are being proposed as a means to see whether they are financially feasible, and this step does not, by any means, guarantee that either will be done.
Count me as one who will be surprised if both plans proceed as fully envisioned at this moment, within the next year. Of course, I could be wrong.
I don’t like doing stories about lists. Lists are generated by publications like Newsweek, which are dying, and they try a cheap list like “top dying towns” to get people like me to write about their stupid lists and then prompt more people to read their dying publication.
That’s exactly what Newsweek did to Grand Rapids, Mi. Clearly they screwed with the wrong city. Watch this video. It’s incredible. And it shows a town that IS NOT DYING. It’s not dead. It’s not close to being dead. It’s very much alive. And if I ever make it to Michigan, I’ll visit Grand Rapids just to see this wonderful city for myself.
I’ve always loved this song since I was a little kid… (yes, I’m old enough to remember when it first became a hit)
And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.
And they were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
An intriguing idea came up in the comments on my post yesterday on downtown housing. Let’s run with it. If I were to “host” an “OKC Central chat” on downtown for-sale housing, maybe after work over dinner, drinks, with some of you tagging along. Now, if we do this, who would be the ideal guests?
Here’s my list so far, with no significance to the order:Jane Jenkins, Cathy O’Connor, Nick Preftakes, P.B Odom, Richard McKown, Anthony McDermid, Jeff Click, Ron Bradshaw, Blair Humphreys, Dick Coyle, Marva Ellard, Mickey Clagg, Paige Gregory, more???
What I’m looking at, essentially, would be a really great dinner conversation that would welcome “spectators” to listen in, and maybe ask questions at the end. I’m really just winging it here, making it up as I go along, so ideas are welcome as I think this through.
I’ve been a fan of William Hider since getting him last month during one of his downtown filming expeditions. I do believe he’s doing more to document this great moment of change in this city’s history than anyone else I know. This film showcasing Devon Energy Center is the finest I’ve seen to date. I fully expect it will get a few viewings Thursday at 20 N Broadway.
The following comment was just left on my post about Twitter reflecting attitudes toward downtown:
Comment by Shelly on June 1, 2011 @ 11:23 am | Edit This
Again, I am not in my 20′s or 30′s but my husband and I would love to live downtown. But for our life style there seems to be nothing in our price range. We need more than 1000 sq feet and less than 250,000 grand. Where is our spot? And I am sure there are more of us!!!
Shelly, you’re not alone. I count at least a couple dozen of you who have expressed this frustration to me. I’ve heard all the reasons and excuses, but truth be told, with all that the city is doing to revive the urban core, I struggle to understand why it can’t team up with the private sector to address this market need. I know some of THE CITY’S (change as correctly suggested by Jeff Click) best and brightest builders and developers are daily readers of this blog. Guys, gals, what will it take to get you to build a home for Shelly and dozens like her?