I’m not going to get into the debate over the pending relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Ford Center. But you’ve got to wonder if J.A. Adande at ESPN has ever stepped foot in Oklahoma City when he suggests at the end of this video that it doesn’t have enough hotel rooms to be home to an NBA team.
Say what? I didn’t see anyone resorting to using sleeping bags outside Ford Center on nights when it hosted Hornets home games. For what it’s worth, by 2009 downtown alone will have nine hotels with more than 2,000 rooms. And along I-40 and Meridan Avenue, about 10 minutes west of Ford Center, there’s another 4,000 rooms.
I also don’t recall any major complaints about room availability during recent sold-out Big 12 basketball and NCAA games.
Oklahoma City has taken a lot of hits in this debate – “dust bowl,” etc. – but it’s difficult to understand how this comment has any connection to reality.
- Thanks to OKCTALK for bringing this to light
If you haven’t cruised along Sheridan Avenue lately, the Hampton Inn is really beginning to take shape. The nine-story, 200-room hotel will be the tallest building in Bricktown when it opens later this year. But that honor may be surpassed by the Cotton Exchange, a 12-story building proposed for the corner of the Bricktown Canal across from the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark. I talked with developer Gary Cotton today and he says plans are proceeding, and schematic designs are underway.
Have no doubt, McDonald’s is coming to Bricktown. Site work began this past week. So, with that underway, one has to wonder if the blue metal building next door, last occupied by the now defunct Fox Collision, might soon disappear and be replaced by a more ambitious commercial venture. Imagine … a huge pad, next to McDonalds and across from Bass Pro Shops and within eyeshot of the highway … and big enough to include its own parking.
Interesting tidbit from this week’s Bricktown Urban Design Committee. Jim Cowan, director of the Bricktown Association, and Avis Scaramucci, owner of Nonna’s and a member of the committee, both acknowledged receiving emails concerning the proposed Holiday Inn Express. And a partner in the development team for the hotel, John Sweeney, reported reading comments at www.okctalk.com. Sweeney spent part of his interview with me answering questions and comments registered on the online forum.
BEFORE AND AFTER: McDonald’s changed designs for its proposed Bricktown restaurant after meeting resistance from the Bricktown Urban Design Committee.
“Urban designer? I’m not an urban designer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”
-Brett, Oklahoma City, at www.newsok.com
Today’s story about the owner of the Quality Inn at 1800 E Reno and his plans for a Bricktown Holiday Inn Express isn’t sitting well with all readers, if online comments today at www.newsok.com ,www.okctalk.com, www.okmet.org/bb are any indicator. The Bricktown Urban Design Committee, tasked with approving such projects, will consider the project at its next meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the second floor conference room at 116 E Sheridan Ave.
The criticism seems to focus on two different aspects of the application: the demolition of the old Steffen’s Ice Cream building, parts of which date back to 1917, and the construction of a new Holiday Inn Express that would have what appears to be about half of its facade consisting of a sythetic stucco.
Bob Blackburn advises to consider the first action very carefully – read his arguments here. It might be informative to look back at previous projects in the past couple of years that also clashed with standards set by the Bricktown urban design ordinance.
It was just last summer that McDonald’s pitched plans for a restaurant across from Bass Pro Shops. Officials claimed the restaurant was designed specifically for the entertainment district. But it didn’t take long to find the same design recently used on new McDonald’s in Mustang and other suburban areas. The design was even featured in a national advertisement. The McDonald’s folks tried to lecture the Bricktown Urban Design Committee on what they could and couldn’t require from the fast food giant. But with an hour-long special airing on cable that same month on how McDonald’s had constructed special restaurants to match historic districts, the company had a change of heart, hired a local architect, and came up with new designs that won unanimous praise throughout Bricktown.
When a Hampton Inn was proposed for Bricktown, it too was to include some synthetic stucco in its facade. The committee required the facade consist of brick, and the developers agreed without any argument.
Here are some questions not pondered: is the design of the proposed Holiday Inn Express, shown below, an example of franchise architecture or does it appear tailored to Bricktown?