UPDATE: THE LIVE FEED IS RESTORED! (11:30 a.m.)
Yep, that’s my reaction too to waking up and finding out the Skyline Cam is offline. All hands are on deck trying to resolve this matter. Best bet – the winter storm has caused us some headaches.
Hopefully I’ll have good news for you soon.
In the meantime, if you have trouble logging in as a subscriber, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and they will assist you (and yes, there is a person monitoring this email today!).
The Oklahoman is unveiling this project this weekend, but I’ll give you loyal readers the scoop here first. With the roll-out of www.newsok.com/okcskyline we’re delivering to Oklahoman subscribers live video streaming of the Devon tower site, Project 180 and other downtown improvements.
Oklahoman subscribers wishing to obtain the account number needed to log in and view the OKC Skyline Cam can do so by going to www.newsok.com/settings, emailing email@example.com, or by calling 1-877-98-PAPER (1-877-987-2737).
Looks like a decision won’t be made today – the Downtown Design Review Committee is wanting to tour the buildings targeted for demolition. A tour is scheduled for April 8.
Meanwhile, Nick Roberts, who operates www.downtownontherange.blogspot.com, had a letter read at today’s meeting that is a blistering critique of SandRidge Energy and its architects at Rogers Marvel Associates.
Hopefully Nick will provide a copy of the letter.
The ongoing coverage of the SandRidge application to tear down several buildings on its downtown campus has me reflecting on the following argument: if some of these buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, which is when one structure, the former Braniff headquarters, was listed, why would they be deemed historic now?
Isn’t it convenient that I delved into the history of the Braniff building being listed in the following December article? After reading it again, I’m left to wonder if there was even a chance for the other buildings to be listed considering the opposition Kerr-McGee attempted to the listing of the Braniff building. Read on:
The placement of the Braniff building on the National Register of Historic Places 30 years ago didn’t hurt its chances of surviving the wrecking ball — especially now that such status is taken into account by Downtown Design guidelines passed three years ago by Oklahoma City that govern the central business district.
Documents show the placement of the building on the register in 1980 was unsuccessfully disputed by its then owner, Kerr-McGee Corp.
The 10-story, 75,584-square-foot building was built in 1923 by Thomas Braniff for his insurance agency and was later home to the airline he founded, Braniff Airways, until he moved operations to Dallas in the early 1940s. The 1970 application to the register by historian Bob Blackburn cited that legacy, noting Braniff was one of the city’s most “successful and influential businessmen,” and also noted it was designed by the city’s foremost architect of the early 20th century, Andrew Solomon Layton.
P.A. Puttroff, vice president at Kerr-McGee, argued the company never received mailed notification of the building’s placement on the register and also questioned its historic significance. By that point the company had already erected a false concrete covering to hide the formerly ornate facade of the former India Temple building that, having been built in 1902, was one of downtown’s oldest surviving structures.
“Numerous buildings which were the product of Mr. Layton’s various firms, including the Skirvin Plaza Hotel, the Oklahoma Capitol, the Oklahoma Historical Society Building, Central High School, that are of more architectural merit are already on the National Register,” Puttroff wrote in a Sept. 25, 1980 letter. “This assures that future generations will be able to view the work of one of Oklahoma’s premier pioneer architects without the necessity of placing one of his lesser works on the National Register.”
H. Glenn Jordan, then director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, was not impressed with such arguments.
In a response to Puttroff on Oct. 14, 1980, Jordan wrote:
“Kerr-McGee claims never to have received our notification letter but we are not held to account for the U.S. Postal Service. Furthermore, in our opinion certain comments made by Kerr-McGee to demonstrate the building is not significant are very weak.”
Questions and Answers with Marsh Pitman
Q: You’re one of Bricktown’s leading developers, having built the Power Alley Parking Garage and the Hampton Inn. What is your reaction to the Urban Land Institute report on proposed Core to Shore development?
A: The ULI did an amazing amount of work in the week they were here. I’m glad OKC had the foresight to have them come and to help with the cost. It was well worth it I thought.
They recommended that we choose the new convention center site quickly and that it should go on the lumberyard property south of Bricktown. I’m in total agreement with both recommendations. That site is much closer to existing hotels, bars, restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. It makes total sense to me.
Q: Are you comfortable with discussion to date on where a convention center should be located?
A: No, I am not. There has been no word from City Hall since the ULI report, neither negative nor positive. I think the issue is more important than that. For those of us to whom this issue is of major importance, the silence is deafening.
From the marketing campaign for MAPS 3 it appears the city has decided the park location south of the Ford Center is the best site. I noticed it was located at that site in the model the city had set up for the ULI presentation. It needs to be explained in a public discourse why the city prefers this site. It is further from all the amenities already downtown.
Q: The Hampton Inn is reportedly one of the region’s best-performing franchises. Why haven’t there been any more hotel projects announced in Bricktown?
A: Two reasons really. To be fair, a couple of hotels would have been built, Candlewood and Holiday Inn Express, if financing weren’t so hard to obtain. It’s a very tight credit market out there.
I know of one hotel shovel-ready, but the developers are waiting for the convention center site to be chosen. If it is on the (Core to Shore) park, the hotel won’t be built. They think it is just too far from them.
BY STEVE LACKMEYER, BUSINESS WRITER