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Transcript for Monday Evening "Towers" OKC Central Live Chat

3:55

NewsOK:
Hey everyone. Steve will be logging in at 7 p.m. to discuss competing proposals submitted to the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority for property south of former Stage Center site.

You can start submitting your questions now.
6:55

Steve Lackmeyer:
Good evening everybody! So who wants to talk about whether we can get a Waffle House downtown? Or would you prefer to talk about the latest tower proposals? Let me guess….
6:55

Comment From Hurley
Tweeting earlier you hinted at hotel other than the convention center one, where might it be located ?
6:56

Steve Lackmeyer:
Yep. The Clayco proposal suggests that a hotel tower might be built between the two residential towers fronting Walker Avenue. It’s clearly a less certain prospect, but if the Clayco proposal moves forward, I suspect it shouldn’t be hard to get a hotelier added to the mix.
6:56

Comment From Chase P.
With the two proposals for 1-2 towers of mixed-use residential and commercial, is the commercial-use expected to be used by OGE (in place of the drafted images of the headquarters) or is this a separate development entirely with the headquarters to be developed on the stage center site and these on the south end of the block?
6:59

Steve Lackmeyer:
OK. Let’s step back a minute. Remember that Rainey Williams bought the Stage Center property – the north half of the block – a year ago. Stage Center clearance pretty much wrapped up last week. And Clayco is the developer and builder for the property and is free to pretty much move forward with the residential tower and OGE headquarters proposed for that north half of the block. So what’s uncertain, really, is whether Clayco gets to build a second residential tower and a second office tower on the south half of the block, or whether the south half of the block will be developed by Indianapolis-based Milhaus which proposes a 20-story apartment and retail tower with a garage on the south half of the block.
6:59

Comment From Dennis
Thank you Steve for hosting this special chat. I/we are bursting at the seams wanting to TALK about this big day!
6:59

Steve Lackmeyer:
Cool, huh?
7:00

Comment From GaryOKC
Although I don’t know all the details, from what I have seen it look to me like Clayco’s proposal is a much better investment in okc that Milhaus. What do you think?
7:00

Steve Lackmeyer:
I think, and I think Milhaus must know this, that Clayco’s proposal will be very difficult to beat.
7:00

Comment From Guest
Probably going to be a popular question but when will we know which proposal OKC goes with?
7:00

Steve Lackmeyer:
We will likely find out in November, potentially as early as Nov. 4.
7:01

Comment From Hurley
Of all the buildings on main and Hudson which ones are the least likely to be demolished? Ones that come to mind are like the bus station or hotel black.
7:02

Steve Lackmeyer:
I am certain the old Hotel Black will survive. I’ve also been told by folks of influence that the bus station will also survive. Beyond that, we’re looking at everything potentially coming down other than 420 W Main the Coney Island Hot Dogs building on the northwest corner of the block.
7:02

Steve Lackmeyer:
I also am not alone in expecting to hear about a development for the Main and Hudson property very, very soon.
7:02

Comment From Joe
This was obviously huge news for people who have followed downtown development for a long time. I remember many people speculating we could have up to 5 towers built over the next 5 years, and then all of a sudden we have a proposal to build 4 all at once. Do you think this is just a sign of greater things to come?
7:03

Steve Lackmeyer:
Yes. If the economy continues on the current track locally and our energy industry continuing to thrive, yes, I see nothing to slow things down.
7:03

Comment From Snake
Is the proposed office tower on the south half a speculative build or does ClayCo have a tenant lined up?
7:04

Steve Lackmeyer:
They’re not indicating they have a tenant lined up for the south office tower. But I can’t believe they don’t have a prospect quietly lined up that they don’t want to lose to a competing developer.
7:04

Comment From Nick Emenhiser
Will this development preserve sight lines of Crystal Bridge looking down California Avenue?
7:04

Steve Lackmeyer:
Good question. To some extent yes, but I’m not sure how much that sight line will survive in the Clayco design.
7:05

Comment From Guest
Do you think this ambitious development will spur the development of more residential towers downtown? Or do you think this could be a wait-and-see situation, where developers wait to see if these towers succeed before the proceed with their own residential tower?
7:06

Steve Lackmeyer:
This is a huge gamble being taken by Clayco and Milhaus, and if either one succeeds, I believe that will soften the risk considerably and proves up the market for even more high rise housing.
7:06

Comment From Andrew
What do you think of Milhaus trying to found another spot for their tower?
7:06

Steve Lackmeyer:
I think you’ll be interested in reading my OKC Central column tomorrow!
7:06

Comment From Christine
Long live Coney Island!
7:07

Steve Lackmeyer:
Yeah, no kidding! I am very happy Bill, the owner of Coney Island, has survived the turbulence of Project 180 and has not bowed to pressures by developers to sell his charming old place.
7:07

Comment From Guest
La Luna , Coney Island, and a reborn lunch box in a food court?
7:09

Steve Lackmeyer:
I fear Lunch Box is gone forever. Yes, I mourn it’s loss even now. As for La Luna… I have no idea what will happen to them. I quit eating there when they tried to charge me $2.50 for a couple of ounces of shredded cheese to put on some chicken fajitas. I don’t think Coney Island is at all threatened by any of this development.
7:09

Comment From Guest
When all of the downtown residential development proves successful, and neighborhoods in NW OKC are left virtually deserted, would you consider going in 50/50 with me to buy said neighborhood(s) and develop a paintball course?
7:10

Steve Lackmeyer:
No. Because I don’t agree with the premise of your question. A success urban core does not automatically lead to a failed suburban circle.
7:10

Comment From Pat
Hi Steve, Are these residential towers considered high rise or mid rise ? Who’d have thought we’d get these in 2015.
7:10

Steve Lackmeyer:
I’d call 26 stories high rise, especially in Oklahoma City.
7:10

Comment From Hurley
Is there still a possibility of hotel or another tower on the stage center site like Rainey Williams hinted at before or is two towers the max on the site?
7:11

Steve Lackmeyer:
Keep in mind, we’re actually looking at a potential of five buildings with the Clayco proposal, which suggests a hotel could be added to the mix.
7:11

Comment From Forrest
What’s a realistic completion date for these towers, assuming approval comes in early November?
7:12

Steve Lackmeyer:
Clayco wants to have the entire development completed by 2017. I’ll be a cynic and predict surprises underground, etc., will delay that to 2018.
7:13

Steve Lackmeyer:
I will add, however, that initial ground studies by Clayco are so far pretty encouraging.
7:13

Comment From Tim
Is this the development that would make other cities jealous?
7:13

Steve Lackmeyer:
Nope. So now this must REALLY drive you nuts.
7:13

Comment From Hurley
What more can you tell us about the main and Hudson site.
7:15

Steve Lackmeyer:
Devon Energy has publicly stated they will not be building another tower. But Super 8 ball suggests Hines, which developed Devon Energy Center on behalf of Devon, could build a tower at Main and Hudson teaming up again with Pickard Chilton as architects. I would if Devon Energy might be interested in leasing any space in that building. I also wonder if a major statewide bank might like its name at the top of a tower that could be between 20 and 40 stories tall…..
7:15

Comment From Mark
Steve, I am confused. Are these renderings final from RAMSA or still conceptual from Clayco? Are these heights final? What from today is certain and what is still flexible?
7:16

Steve Lackmeyer:
These are the real deal Mark, subject to response by Urban Renewal and the Downtown Design Review Committee. This is the equivalent of the day the renderings for Devon Energy Center were unveiled at the downtown library way, way back in 2008.
7:17

Comment From jb
Any idea who the other tenants might be in the OGE building? Any indication on what the retail use might be?
7:18

Steve Lackmeyer:
I do have an idea on other potential tenants, but I’m not at liberty to say other than I wouldn’t be surprised if “visitors” are welcome and “commerce” is valued.
7:18

Comment From Guest
So what will have a bigger impact on visitors to okc in 2017: Clayco towers or The Factory?
7:19

Steve Lackmeyer:
Yeah, the Factory and all the other retail assembling along Automobile Alley are pretty cool. But still…. we’re looking a vastly improved skyline…
7:19

Comment From Luke
Very early to speculate, but do you think rental rates in these buildings would be on par with the current market? Or, would they push rates a bit higher, especially with the views?
7:21

Steve Lackmeyer:
No, these rents will not be on par with current prices at other downtown apartments. This housing will be high-rise, between the Myriad Gardens and the John W. Rex Elementary, and in walking distance of Bricktown, major corporate employers, and oh yeah, the home of an NBA team. I doubt a reporter like myself will be among those enjoying those fantastic views.
7:21

Comment From Mark
Do you think this project will outshine the main/hudson one?
7:23

Steve Lackmeyer:
I don’t know…. Stern is a damn good architect. Clayco got a big name firm here. But if the Main and Hudson building pops up with Pickard Chilton, well, it’s really just a matter of preference at that point. Do you prefer Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills or Park Avenue in New York City?
7:24

Comment From Chad
Considering the residential already on tap downtown plus the hundreds of units this would add, what are the chances Rex Elementary is maxed sooner rather than later? If so, was it planned in such a way that would allow for easy expansion?
7:25

Steve Lackmeyer:
I believe John W. Rex Elementary was destined to max out with or without this development. I’m not sure it can be easily expanded, but really, I just haven’t explored this question enough to answer it.
7:25

Comment From Pat
Steve, Are you in awe with this development as the rest of us are ? I too believe the Biltmore had some kind of influence in the design.
7:27

Steve Lackmeyer:
For the past couple of years I’ve been hinting at big things to come. I was accusing of teasing and hyping without substance, so I backed off a bit. Now here’s your substance. And at the risk of getting hit again with the same response … we’re not done yet. More cool things are ahead. And yeah, it’s pretty stunning. The Biltmore influence was suggested to me today on Twitter. I will ask the architects about whether this is indeed a factor in the design.
7:27

Comment From Aaron
Not just a magic 8 ball? But a Super 8 ball?!?
7:28

Steve Lackmeyer:
The old Magic 8 Ball blew up when it saw the Clayco renderings so I had to go out and buy a less wussy Super Magic 8 Ball.
7:28

Comment From Guest
will this be enough density to attract a downtown grocery or drug chain?
7:28

Steve Lackmeyer:
One must wonder if the folks at CVS are realizing they made a big mistake getting cold feet over a store they were hoping to open at Century Center.
7:29

Comment From Forrest
Somewhat off-topic, but considering all of the retail space set to be available with the Edge, the Fassler/Dustbowl development, this new development from Clayco/Milhaus, etc., what can we expect to see downtown by 2018? …and do we know who will fill those vacancies at the Edge and the Fassler/Dustbowl?
7:29

Steve Lackmeyer:
Ii really have thought about this a lot. I just don’t know. But I plan to ask Allison Bailey on as a future OKC Central Live Chat guest – because she should have some good insight on what’s ahead.
7:30

Comment From Chad
Steve, does a development of this quality and scale, combined with recent interest in the market from well-known out-of-state players hasten redevelopment of the Cox Center site post-convention center build?
7:30

Steve Lackmeyer:
Potentially.
7:30

Comment From jb
When will we get any interior designs?
7:30

Steve Lackmeyer:
I don’t know.
7:30

Comment From Pat
Can we say Devon Tower set the bar very high, but Clayco is on par with Devon ?
7:30

Steve Lackmeyer:
I’m impressed.
7:30

Comment From Guest
I am so excited about this! Thank you for your excellent reporting and for this chat, Steve!
7:31

Steve Lackmeyer:
Thanks Guest. And thanks to all of you for making this a fast moving, lively special edition of OKC Central Live Chat! The 30 minutes is now up.

Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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