Urban Renewal board members objected to the building’s orientation being focused on surface parking to the south instead of the Bricktown Canal to the north. They objected to the idea that a nine-foot-wide alley between 17-foot walls of the new building and Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill would be the only pedestrian access in the area to the canal. They objected to the lack of interaction between the building, it’s limited patio, and the waterway.
Randy Hogan and Jason Wint say they don’t know how to design this building differently. They say their priority is to cater to the interests of the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, which they claimed was that customer access be from the parking lot. They say they do not know how to create a site that interacts more with the canal. They say they can’t build a two-story or higher building due to parking constraints in the area. Hogan believes the rendering above is an “outstanding” design – and resisted suggestions that it can be improved upon or made to be more focused on the canal rather than the parking lot.
I know there are many talented architects, designers and students out there who care about our city, and want to see our downtown become something special.
I’ve seen some of you lend your talents to enhancing the public discussion in the past on topics ranging from the downtown boulevard to Stage Center.
So here’s my request: come up with an alternative concept and rendering for Randy that allows for a 10,000-square-foot building (or more if you can show how this works in his interest) with space for two restaurants on the site between Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill and Earl’s Rib Palace along the canal. I’ll post them on OKC Central, and I’ll ask readers to vote on which concept and rendering they like the best. Maybe then I’ll post the winner in a future column in the business section so that it can be shared with Randy Hogan and the Urban Renewal board.
Let’s try to get something going this next week so your ideas can be considered before the next Urban Renewal meeting.