Over the years of covering this beat, one gets a good grasp of what’s on the downtown wish list for those who work and/or live in the heart of our city. Yes, they would love to see a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (keep dreaming). They really want a Walgreens (someday?). An Ikea would be nice (not in my crystal ball). Clothing stores like Urban Outfitters would be embraced (and Urban Outfitters is aware of downtown OKC and it’s not an impossibility). Turning our attention to local operators, folks are falling in love with Native Roots Market. And wouldn’t it be nice, oh so nice, to get an Old School Bagel Shop downtown?
Oh yes, it would be nice. And it’s going to happen. Mark Beffort confirms Old School Bagel will open by April 1st in the north side of Leadership Square in a space that was previously a card shop, and most recently used by a toastmasters club. Still awaiting word as to whether the restaurant will open on weekends.
Thanks to Downtown OKC Inc. for the photo!
Live chat resumes at the normal time today. You can begin to log in, leave questions and comments, at 9:30 a.m. on the NewsOK business page. Chat will start at 10 a.m.
Construction is starting a few months later than expected, but site work is underway this week for the future KD’s, the restaurant to be opened and operated by the Hal Smith Restaurant Group and Thunder star Kevin Durant. When the project was first announced, it was expected to open by October (the start of the next NBA season) with construction spanning about one year. If the same schedule sticks, we’re likely looking at an opening in early 2014.
The $5 million, 10,000-square-foot restaurant will feature a walk-around bar, seating for 320 people, and private dining rooms. The Hal Smith Restaurant Group has enjoyed a long relationship with Lower Bricktown developer Randy Hogan that dates to the late 1990s opening of Red Rock Canyon Grill on Hogan’s East Wharf development on Lake Hefner. Hal Smith also owns and operates the still popular Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill just east of the future KD’s restaurant.
The following renderings show what the restaurant will look like once it’s completed:
Yes, the new 127-room, five-story Holiday Inn Express, put on hold back in 2008, is about to become a reality.
The site has, for decades, been home to the former Steffen’s Dairy.
I have a 10:30 a.m. staff meeting I have to attend today, so live chat will begin 30 minutes early today. You can begin logging in with questions and comments on the NewsOK Business page at 9 a.m., and the chat starts at 9:30 a.m. and will end promptly at 10:30 a.m. (so get your comments and questions in early!)
I’ve got the story about the latest hotel pitched for Bricktown. Sorry, but I missed the mark on photos I took today. Here’s the “not ready for print” photos I took of the renderings:
Last year we noted that R.D. and Scott Smith, Cosair Cattle Co., had submitted plans for renovation of the Main Street Arcade. It looked like this:
I’ve tried, without luck, to reach the Smith brothers to talk about this project. All I know, at this point, is that the awnings are off and it appears some work is underway:
Here’s the ad in case you missed it last night:
There is also a video on the making of the commercial produced by the folks at Saxum. You can read their full blog here.
Those of you who followed OKC Central for any length of time probably realize that I’ve got a soft spot for the kids who are enrolled at Emerson High School. It’s an alternative education school at NW 7 and Walker where kids with some of the biggest challenges (teen pregnancy, not fitting in) are trying to overcome great odds and obtain a high school diploma.
I was first drawn to the plight of this school when I learned it was possible that those horrible (and they are horrible) run-down metal trailers outside the historic building could be left standing and in use as classrooms AFTER it undergoes its MAPS for Kids renovation.
A “ground-breaking” took place back in October. I’m not sure why that hasn’t translated into the ground actually being “broken” and construction taking place. But such delays happen – we’ve seen a similar silence with the Kevin Durant restaurant in Lower Bricktown.
Believe it or not, there is no clinic for the teenage moms at Emerson. A trailer clinic was provided several years ago, but support for it shriveled up with a loss of funding and/or interest.
Andrew Rice gets it. And as director of Variety Health Care, he’s seeking to have his organization operate a pre-natal/pediatric clinic at the school. The catch is the Oklahoma City Public School Board must approve a memorandum of understanding that would allow for the renovation of the century-old building’s boiler room to be used for the clinic. The school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Monday at 900 N Klein Avenue.
Emerson is downtown’s only school at the moment. Not everyone may appreciate it being an “alternative school,” but it is making a difference for kids. And I’ve met some of these kids. I’ve participated in tutoring at the school. They’re good kids who either struggled in the normal flow or messed up without the safety net many of us had when we were younger. They simply need to see, to benefit, from a community that cares about them. With a lot of the kids coming and going from the school, I won’t lie – helping isn’t easy. But nothing extraordinary is accomplished without an extraordinary effort.