I’m still reeling from the news that Cathy Rigby is STILL performing as Peter Pan …
So despite that and other stories getting your interest this week, let’s recap, shall we?
We’re getting a good glimpse of what’s to come downtown, and if it all comes true, then we’re looking an office market far more vibrant than its been the past 30 years.
When you read my coverage in the Sunday Oklahoman about Devon, you’ll learn more than 2,000 people will be moving into Devon Energy Center when it opens in 2012. We also know from today’s coverage that SandRidge Energy is looking at an expansion of its downtown workforce that will bring the total to 2,000 in five years, and that it will be building a second tower equal in size to its current 29-story tower.
Contemplate that for a moment. Also add into this equation that Continental Resources is looking at employing about 750 people by 2014 as it completes its move to Devon’s current headquarters at Broadway and Sheridan. And have no doubt, Continental is growing. Don’t be surprised if that 750 figure is low – very low.
Also remember that construction will be starting this winter on an 11-story Hilton Garden Inn in Bricktown. And of course the city is very intent on getting a conference hotel built in conjunction with the new convention center. Doing quick math and considering the foot print, this hotel will definitely go vertical Let’s assume it’s the same sort of footprint as the Renaissance Hotel. Add more amenities into the mix, and double the room count, and it’s easy to see it going up 20 stories or higher.
Still with me?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the skyline isn’t finished yet. And I expect even more yet to be announced. In the meantime, enjoy this latest time lapse video of Devon Energy Center by OKC Central contributor Will Hider.
Consider for a second that we will likely see at least one more mid-rise to high-rise added to this picture and two more boat houses.
Thank you KD.
Live video streaming is available throughout the week to Oklahoman/NewsOK subscribers at http://www.newsok.com/okcskyline
Sometimes comments get posted on older articles at OKC Central and don’t get properly noticed. Such was the case recently when visitor Diane Hooper posted the following comment on an article published two years ago – “Why Downtown Condos Cost More than $250,000.”
Looking back, I think most developers and observers will acknowledge this effort at controlling the market was a failure and the city should have spent the pre-2008 crash encouraging apartments and starter housing at the same time it was pushing for upscale housing.
Here’s Diane Hooper’s thoughts:
I’m originally from OKC. All my family live there and had thought to look for a condo to retire there. However, I am looking at what is on offer and comparing it to other inner city cores I have lived in, in the past. NYC, Chicago, Toronto, among other smaller cities around two hundred thousand people. The BIG difference here is that part of being a condo dweller in the inner city that attracts people is the easy access i.e. walking to everything. OKC still does NOT have this. The prices for the condos on offer are in line with the area in many ways but, the inner city amenities are not there yet.
I’m not sure I’d like to commit that much money to an inner city condo in OKC without the public transportation availability that works so well in so many other cities. Going to the grocery store? You have to drive, going to the pharmacy in the evening? You’ll have to drive. I still don’t see OKC downtown as having the same community spaces as other cities. It’s trying and maybe some day but, not right now. I’m keeping an eye on things though.
It almost looks as if these condo buildings are going in plopped near some amenities but, without actual living day to day amenities in place. The need for a car in most inner city urban centers is eliminated. That and the need for great parks and green spaces being kept in tact. Avenues, with trees etc….OKC could be great in that urban core but, it can’t just be a few condos near Bricktown or one library or one center. There’s got to more of a community core space that people call a “home” than that.
One thing OKC needs to do is REALLY strive for full public transport that is safe, available, reliable and affordable. Most people I know in condos in many other cities don’t even need to own a car! Everything they need is within walking distance of their condo. If they go on a long trip they just rent a car for that purpose or take cabs. OKC, if it wants to urbanize needs to do what other cities that are successfully urbanized downtown do so well. Easy transportation and daily amenities within walking distance of these condos, not just restaurants and bars and arts centers but, real amenities like green grocers, drug stores, flower shops, you know things a “main street” has. Without those the condos will still be in an urban no mans land except for the “eat out” crowd and some amenities for the arts. It has to be it’s own “town” in the core. Right now it’s really not there yet. So I wouldn’t pay three hundred thousand to live down there. More underground parking would help too to get rid of so many unsightly HUGE parking lots. Those things are a no mans land of wasted space and do not contribute to a community gathering space at all.
Having said all that, I am encouraged to see OKC striving to revive that core and make it a real living space. My father owned a store down there for many years and it was discouraging to see how far down the core went for so long. I am so urbanized now, when I come home for a visit my sister laughs at me thinking I can hail a cab to go about anywhere and such. This needs to change. OKC has always been a huge “driving city” and is spread out but, it is NOT impossible for it to become a fully serviced public transport city like others, NOR for the core to be serviced by the same amenities as the suburbs. The reason most downtown cores are more expensive in other cities is that ALL the arts attractions are in their cores BUT you can also live in them. Go to your grocer, your doctor, your hardware store AND have access to the best arts activities, museums etc. OKC does not have the same living attractions in the core of these other cities…….yet.
Add to this that OKC’s core is competing with their suburbs with VERY affordable housing. Solve the transportation and daily amenities issues FIRST before you start adding in more restaurants etc. Each of these buildings would do well with a ground floor grocer for quick access. OR if OKC had an underground like a subway the space under these buildings could be used for shops too. I’m just dreaming and I love OKC but, it’s got a long way to go before justifying the kinds of prices some of these condos are going for.
I adore Block 42 and the townhouses…though they just are not “quite” there yet. If I am living in a condo and trading off having no adjoining walls for “easy access” then there needs to be something there to access besides “entertainment” People have to live day to day. Also, retirees with some cash could be buying up these spaces but, they want to know they will NOT have to drive to everything if they go into a condo space downtown. Why move into an urban area if there’s no “there, there” yet and pay the same as you will pay for a luxury home in the same city? It doesn’t make sense.
All this said, I’m thinking of perhaps buying a space downtown and putting in a green grocer near these existing condo units somewhere. These people need COMMUNITY businesses that they can use every day.
The answer I’ve heard here in Oklahoma City is, without a change in state law, “no.”
And yet Tulsa is preparing to do just that, as you can read in this story in Sunday’s Tulsa World.
Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., under the leadership of its first president Devery Youngblood, tried to make such a change, but without any success. I asked the current president Jane Jenkins a couple months ago about this and she said it was not on the group’s agenda.
But in the past I’ve heard some arguments for making such a change – that the current enforcement is predatory – that the city’s approach is to literally stalk out cars and swoop in with tickets as soon as a meter expires. Others mention that the current meter enforcement officers are unionized – thus there are rules against them doubling up as “ambassadors” who can provide maps and helpful information on getting around downtown.
I’m not one who wants to beat up on the current crew – there are some good folks out there who are helpful and are just doing their jobs when it comes to issuing tickets (I’m friendly with a couple of them who none the less have cost me about $100 a year in tickets).
With Project 180 and changes coming in parking meter technology, is this an issue that should at least be discussed?
As we show images and explain how The Oklahoman’s OKC Skyline Cam works, I also want to bring some love to www.okctalk.com, which has been provided screenshot images from a webcam at somewhat different angle overlooking the Devon tower construction site.
With The Oklahoman’s camera you get live streaming video and at times, close ups of the construction. But the clarity of the images being provided at OKC Talk are superb are definitely worth visiting. The two different cameras are providing viewers with some great images of our changing skyline.
Yes, my friends, the camera zooms are underway through 4 p.m.
At www.newsok.com/okcskyline, between 3:50 p.m. and 4 p.m. today we will be zooming in the skyline cam on the Devon tower concrete pour.