Same routine. Questions and comments can start posting at OKC Central Live Chat on the NewsOK business page starting at 9:30 a.m. with the chat starting at 10 a.m. Topics? I can tell you now, I have nothing new to share on the “mystery tower,” so let’s focus on new material, shall we? Maybe east Bricktown development, Deep Deuce, the Main Street garage and housing, NW 23, or the latest on the boulevard….
The proposed compromise redesign of the downtown boulevard was posted tonight on the city’s web site. Michael Kimball will be working on a full write-up Thursday. Quick observations on my behalf: the recommend option (A), provides far better access to the Farmers Market area than the original ODOT elevation would have given. The road, from what I can see, is still designed as a limited access boulevard that would seem to discourage the development of businesses fronting the street.
We’ll learn more this next week. In the meantime, here is the press release from the city:
Conceptual designs for the western end of the Oklahoma City Boulevard available for review
Residents can review conceptual drawings of the future Oklahoma City Boulevard where Classen, Reno and Western intersect through December 17 on www.okc.gov/okcblvd.
The drawings will be presented during a community meeting at 5:30 p.m. on December 3 at the Coca Cola Bricktown Events Center, 425 E California Ave. Attendees can park free in the lot directly south of the events center. Everyone is invited to attend.
Those who can’t attend the meeting can watch it live on Ustream. The meeting will also be posted on www.okc.gov by 4 p.m. the following day (Tuesday, Dec 18).
Comments about the project will be accepted during the meeting and through an online comment card posted on www.okc.gov and http://www.okladot.state.ok.us through December 17.
A short description of each option is below:
Alternate A is an east-west bridge on the Oklahoma City Boulevard over Western Avenue.
Alternate B is a north-south bridge on Western Avenue over the Oklahoma City Boulevard.
Alternate C is a signalized intersection at Western Avenue and the Oklahoma City Boulevard.
Alternate D is a roundabout at the interchange of Western Avenue and the Oklahoma City Boulevard.
The meeting will be facilitated by Stantec, Inc., the traffic and planning consulting firm hired by the City to study options for the Western end of the Boulevard. The meeting is co-hosted by the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The 2.4-mile Oklahoma City Boulevard, to be constructed by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, will run from Pennsylvania to Byers along the former Interstate 40 route.
The Boulevard will be a premier entryway into Oklahoma City and include on-street parking, 15-foot sidewalks and landscaping. The project is expected to be constructed in phases beginning in 2013.
An OKC Central Thankful List:
- A re-invigorated Myriad Gardens with a great upgraded skating rink, amphitheater, children’s play area.
- Devon Energy Center. Enough said.
- Cool renovation of the Braniff Building at SandRidge Commons.
- Rising hotel skyline in Bricktown.
- The emergence of Deep Deuce as a true mixed-use urban neighborhood.
- Continued evolution of MidTown.
- Ongoing progress along NW 23, promise of it unifying surrounding historic neighborhoods, Paseo, state capitol and Oklahoma City University.
- Upcoming move of the Oklahoma City University law school to the old Central High.
- Ongoing community involvement in planning of downtown, including the design of the future new boulevard.
- Evolution of Film Row.
- Emergence of retail along Automobile Alley.
- Emergence of NW 9th as an urban hub (complimenting the 16th Street Plaza District) for our city’s younger generation.
- Better Block OKC
- Downtown in December
- Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts.
- All of the great museums, including the National Memorial and Oklahoma City Museum of Art
- An engaged up-and-coming civic leadership of 20- and 30-somethings.
- Major downtown employers including Devon, SandRidge and Continental (which all contribute heavily toward downtown’s ongoing renaissance).
- Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
The emails and calls came, as expected. Where, they asked, was the Wonder Bread/Hostess bakery downtown? The truth was it disappeared long, long ago – though the union turmoil that led to the collapse of the company today was clearly evident when the Oklahoma City operation shut down in 1986. The plant itself stood empty for a dozen years until it was razed in 1998 to make way for the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Here’s the story that was done on the closing:
Wonder Bread’s City Bakery Closes Down After 75 Years
By Tim Chavez
Saturday, February 8, 1986
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS
Raltson Purina Co. Inc. closed the Wonder Bread Bakery in Oklahoma City on Friday after 75 years of operations, scattering the 160 workers here toward different futures.
“I’m getting out of the baking business,” said Greg Coats, a shipping worker with nine years at the bakery.
“It’s all going down,” he said.
The bakery operated under Continental Baking Co., a Ralston Purina subsidiary. Of the 160 workers affected by the closing, 61 have been offered jobs at other bakeries, said Patrick Farrell, manager of corporate information for Ralston Purina.
The company will help in the relocation, Farrell said. The company has not determined what it will do with the bakery, which made bread, buns, muffins and pies.
The city plant was closed as part of the company’s program to get optimum use from its assets, it said.
Some of the workers will have to scramble quickly to begin their new futures.
Earl Rester, a 20-year worker in the bread shop, has accepted a position in Tulsa. As he completed his last shift here Friday afternoon, Rester said he had to be in Tulsa by Sunday to begin work there.
He has rented an apartment in Tulsa and will move his family later.
Others left Friday so they could report to work today in Dallas, said Norman Booze, an 18-year Wonder worker in the bread shop.
He is one of the fortunate ones.
“I’m going to be manager of the Thrift Store,” said Booze, pointing across the street to the retail shop just south of the plant.
Wonder’s other thrift store in Moore also will remain open.
Booze, Rester and others interviewed Friday say everyone was caught by surprise at the announcement one month ago that the bakery would be closed.
“I heard it on television,” Rester said.
One factor that has led some workers to turn down a transfer offer is that the new jobs are not full-time, said Danny Cranfield, a 12-year shipping worker at the plant.
“I can’t transfer for that,” he said.
Some Wonder workers have already gone to a local dairy to look for employment, Cranfield said. But wages there would be for only $4 to $5 an hour, he said.
Shippers were receiving about $10 an hour.
Delmer Boone, an 11-year sanitation worker at the bakery, said he hopes to stay in this industry. Before joining Wonder, he worked four years for the Rainbo Baking Co. When the Rainbo bakery at 1920 N Broadway starts a third shift, he hopes to be part of it, Boone said.
About 100 of the Wonder workers were represented by Local 173 of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers union. Another 20 drivers and two mechanics were represented by Local 886 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The remainder were represented by Local 850 of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Coats said the closing was part of Ralston Purina’s attempt to break the union.
However, a spokeswoman for the local bakery workers union said the only people making union-breaking comments are the media.
She said workers were not bitter over the transfer situation and non-full-time status, because they understand that such things are based on seniority.
If the situation were reversed and a bakery were closed in Dallas or Tulsa, workers here would not allow those affected elsewhere to come here, jump ahead on the seniority list and take full-time positions, she said.
Local workers will receive full-time positions in Tulsa and Dallas when the positions open, she said.
About 40 of the 100 workers represented by the bakers’ union have 20 or more years experience with Wonder.
Plenty to talk about today, I’m sure. Start logging in with questions, comments on the NewsOK Business page at 9:30 a.m., the chat will begin at 10 a.m.
For those interested in seeing how urban design review can change how a project is developed, consider the latest developments with a proposed Holiday Inn Express.
When the hotel was first proposed in 2008, it was a four-story, 95-room hotel with 41 percent synthetic stucco in the facade and columns unlike anything found in Bricktown.
The design was unanimously rejected by the Bricktown Urban Design Committee.
So then a new design was submitted that did away with the columns and the stucco and featured an all brick facade. The design was approved – though it didn’t draw much excitement.
With approval in hand, the project was scrapped due to the economic crash of 2009. Now the Bricktown hotel market is going full steam, and Holiday Inn Express is back on track with a new developer and new architect.
And on Wednesday, the Bricktown Urban Design Committee was thrilled to see a presentation of the newest designs by Architectural Design Group:
Greyhound May Move to Union Station
By Ellie Sutter
Saturday, April 28, 1990
Edition: CITY, Section: NEWS, Page 09
Negotiations are under way between Oklahoma City and Greyhound Bus Lines to move the bus company from the corner of Sheridan and Walker to the historic Union Train Station.
Steve Klika, administrator of the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, a city trust, has been trying to interest officials of the Southern Greyhound Lines Co. in Dallas in moving their operation to the train station, 300 SW 7.
Klika wants to develop the train station as an intermodal terminal, where city buses, private bus lines and future rail transportation could converge.
Paul Tennant, Greyhound’s real estate director, said, “Where it is possible, Greyhound favors going into an intermodal center.”
To help Greyhound in the move, the city would have to agree to lease the current bus station property at 427 W Sheridan for five years at the current market value rental rate.
Greyhound would move to the east wing of the warehouse at the Union Train Station, Klika said. It would begin operations there March 31, 1991.
Greyhound would lease the property for 20 years with two successive five-year options. The trust would pay for about $735,000 in improvements.
Tennant said nothing is definite yet but that Greyhound is interested in looking at the Union Train Station.
Congratulations and best wishes to Kristen Vails, “plaza mom” and all around great leader of the 16th Street Plaza District (Congratulations as well to the talent who made this proposal, Dusty Gilpin).
You know the routine: You can start submitting comments and questions at 9:30 a.m. on the NewsOK business page, chat starts at 10 a.m.