Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
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 Metropolitan Area Projects, the rebuilding of north downtown, the rebirth of the Skirvin Hotel, the rise of Bricktown, Midtown and Automobile Alley, and the city's courting of the NBA.
Steve's family came to town in 1977 when his father led construction of the Sheraton Century Center Hotel. He roamed the brand new corridors of the Conncourse tunnels (now The Underground). He saw the final last gasp of the old downtown and witnessed the destruction of the 26-story Biltmore Hotel. He spent his teenage years watching construction of the Myriad Gardens and a new skyline including Mid-America (now home to Continental Resources), Oklahoma and Corporate Towers, and Leadership Square.
Steve was once referred to as a “downtown partisan” by The Oklahoman's real estate editor Richard Mize. It's a beat Steve enjoys, and his column, "OKC Central," can be read every Tuesday in The Oklahoman’s business section. Lackmeyer also hosts the downtown blog "OKC Central."
Lackmeyer spent two years visiting Main Street communities around the state, documenting their preservation efforts and the return of commerce to the heart of the state’s small towns. This effort was recognized in 2007 with a “Friend of Main Street” award by the Oklahoma Main Street Center. That same year he also was honored with the B.H. Prasad Award given in recognition of his coverage of architecture by the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. His coverage of downtown Oklahoma City was recognized with a first-time “Presidents Award” given to him in 2014 by Downtown OKC Inc.
Lackmeyer is author of five books about the city’s history, "OKC Second Time Around," Skirvin,” “Operation Scissortail” and “Cornerstone” (all co-authored by Jack Money) and "Bricktown." Lackmeyer also authored "Foraging in Oklahoma," a travelogue and recipe book about produce found at Oklahoma farms and ranches. In 2012 he authored a 1,500-word cover story about the history of development and architecture in Oklahoma City for the magazine Architectural Record.
Lackmeyer’s involvement with Retro Metro OKC began as a founding member and officer of the group, which started with organizational efforts in 2009 and an official launch in 2010. The group is a non-profit organization that has helped or organize displays on the history of city government, the city’s vintage restaurants and Bricktown. The organization’s key effort, however, is the scanning and display of privately owned photographs and materials. The website www.retrometrookc.com is home to thousands of such materials, including original video documentaries and videos of monthly speakers.
Steve is a frequent speaker on Oklahoma City development and history, with appearances on television stations OETA, KWTV, KFOR, KSBI, radio stations KTOK, KGOU, KOSU, WKY, KOKC and NPR, various newspapers including the New York Times and the Seattle Times, local Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis clubs, the 2010 National Main Streets Conference and the 2013 Oklahoma Preservation Conference.

  • Developer unlocks deals for downtown properties

    Developer unlocks deals for downtown properties

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: 1 day ago

    David Box just wanted to buy the Momentum Building, which at 1111 N Harrison is a prominent connection between Deep Deuce and Automobile Alley.

  • Texas concert operator invests in Tower Theatre

    Texas concert operator invests in Tower Theatre

    From Staff Reports | Updated: 1 day ago

    Tower Theatre, a music and movie venue in Uptown, is teaming up with Dallas-based The Granada Theater.

  • Bye Bye Cotter

    Bye Bye Cotter

    Steve Lackmeyer | Updated: 1 day ago

    James Cotter and his horse, or rather the sculpture of the pair erected years ago in front the renamed BancFirst Tower, were removed from the property over the weekend, ending the last visible trace of the late Texan and former owner of the 36-story tower. Cotter, who named all of his sons after...

  • Newly discovered photos show how original streetcars shaped Oklahoma City

    Newly discovered photos show how original...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 days ago

    After previously using the same limited number of images in presentations and writings about Oklahoma City's original streetcars, state historian Bob Blackburn now is sharing a newly acquired set of photos that shed new light on a system designed for development. The photos are part of a portfolio likely assembled by the Oklahoma Railway Co. whose founders Anton Classen and John Shartel built and operated the city trolleys starting in 1903. The trolleys ended operations in 1947, leaving locals sharing memories and dreaming of a day when streetcars might return. “It looks like it was a presentation used by Shartel or one of his agents,” Blackburn said. “We don't know the purpose of it. It's not an album people would have

  • Residents to move into West Village as construction continues

    Residents to move into West Village as...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: 4 days ago

    The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in Friday's OKC Central Live Chat with Congresswoman-elect Kendra Horn stopping by to take a question. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Q: What's next for Bricktown? It seems to be faltering lately. Will the streetcar help? A: The challenge in Bricktown is what it has always been — property owners who are not developers and who have inflated expectations on rent and sale prices. With all the new hotels and apartments and office activity, Bricktown should be ready to boom. I've been covering Bricktown for almost a quarter century and I've written two books

  • OKC Central Chat transcript, November 9, 2018

    OKC Central Chat transcript, November 9, 2018

    Steve Lackmeyer | Updated: 4 days ago

    You can join Steve Fridays at 9:30 a.m. to discuss all things Oklahoma City.

  • OKC Central: New approaches can make closed schools community assets

    OKC Central: New approaches can make closed...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Mon, Nov 05, 2018

    Steve Lackmeyer, OKC Central: New approaches can make closed schools community assets

  • The Tale of JFK: How the plight of closed schools can make or break a neighborhood

    The Tale of JFK: How the plight of closed...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2018

    With another round of Oklahoma City school closures being eyed amid shrinking enrollment, the John F. Kennedy neighborhood is emerging as an example of the rebirth that can occur with successful redevelopment of closed campuses. The former Page Woodson school, previously home to the historic Douglass High School, stood boarded up and blighted for 25 years but now is winning accolades from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Another closed school in the neighborhood, the former Dunbar Elementary, is being converted to a new development to be named Dunbar Commons, apartment-style living reserved for income-qualified tenants. Dunbar, built in 1932 at 1432 NE 7, was still open when the revival of the John F.

  • Insurance Commissioner candidates differ on experience

    Insurance Commissioner candidates differ on...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2018

    Voters on Tuesday will be given a choice between two Tulsans for Insurance Commissioner in the race to replace incumbent John Doak, who is term-limited. Kimberly Fobbs, a Democrat, says her experience as a claims investigator and manager at Metropolitan Life Insurance is an advantage because her career has focused on representing customers, while Glen Mulready, a Republican, says his 35 years representing both sides will best help Oklahomans by expanding coverage options. “I've been on both sides as a broker, as an insurance executive,” Mulready said, listing a career that includes working as an agent and broker in property, casualty, health and life insurance and as an executive at some of the state's largest health

  • Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to anchor First National

    Ruth\'s Chris Steakhouse to anchor First National

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2018

    Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, an internationally top-rated chain, is set to anchor First National Center when it reopens in 2020 as a mix of upscale apartments, retail and a Marriott Autograph hotel. The announcement of the lease on Friday coincides with the completion of model hotel rooms in the historic Art Deco tower and the steel structure along Broadway set to start coming down to make way for structured parking. Gary Brooks, who with partner Charlie Nicholas is developing the 1931 tower, said the steakhouse will face Park Avenue and will be located on the first floor underneath the tower's Great Banking Hall. “My vision has been to have one really high-end restaurant,” Brooks said.

  • OKC Central Chat transcript, November 2, 2018

    OKC Central Chat transcript, November 2, 2018

    Steve Lackmeyer | Updated: Fri, Nov 02, 2018

    Join Steve Lackmeyer Fridays at 9:30 a.m. to discuss all things Oklahoma City.

  • Landmark decision: Walcourt owner plans full restoration

    Landmark decision: Walcourt owner plans full...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Oct 31, 2018

    Redevelopment of the historic Walcourt east of downtown is set to resume this winter with plans to convert the landmark into offices. The Walcourt was an upscale 12-unit boardinghouse when it opened in 1927, but it fell into disrepair after closing in 1974 and has remained a visible reminder of the struggles faced by the surrounding Classen North Highland neighborhood. Preservationists cheered when the longtime owner sold the building to developer Brent Swift in mid-2017, but his work halted when he chose to sell to fellow preservationist Steven Morris.

  • Photo discoveries may spark new round of preservation

    Photo discoveries may spark new round of...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Mon, Oct 29, 2018

    Thousands of new vintage Oklahoma City photos and slides have hit the Gateway archive at the Oklahoma Historical Society website, giving local history buffs a chance to discover new stories and views of a city that has been extensively photographed since it was settled by 10,000 people on April 22, 1889. On social media, visitors to the history website have been giddy with the discoveries they've made among 17,000 newly posted images of Oklahoma City from The Oklahoman Archives Collection. Archivist Rachel Mosman has been a part of this conversation, posting her favorite discoveries and sharing stories.

  • Taxpayers may pick up tab for dissolving of All Sports Association

    Taxpayers may pick up tab for dissolving of All...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Sun, Oct 28, 2018

    Oklahoma taxpayers may be asked to help cover expenses related to the dissolving of the All Sports Association as its responsibilities are transferred to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and other longtime collegiate sports hosts. Details of the failure of the All Sports Association, the city's amateur sports commission, were first reported by The Oklahoman as the nonprofit unsuccessfully sought a $275,000 bailout from the city. Tom Anderson, special assistant to the city manager, confirmed Friday that All Sports still owes $108,000 to the NCAA. “All Sports has agreed in principal to work with the city and partner organizations to provide information on what they can do,” Anderson said.

  • Canal liability and MAPS 4 proposals lead OKC Central chat discussion

    Canal liability and MAPS 4 proposals lead OKC...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2018

    The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer fielded questions during his weekly OKC Central chat on Friday. This is an abridged transcript of that conversation. To see the full transcript or to participate in next week's chat, go to NewsOK.com. Q: What are your thoughts on the potential lawsuit regarding the canal incident where one man died and another was seriously injured? Will the city be held responsible? The contractors? The manufacturers of the ground-fault circuit interrupters? What changes do you see being made to the canal? A: After reading the story today, I was struck by the records showing the contractor blamed the decision to stop removal of the light posts on the owner of Brickopolis.

  • OKC Central Chat transcript, October 26, 2018

    OKC Central Chat transcript, October 26, 2018

    Steve Lackmeyer | Updated: Fri, Oct 26, 2018

    You can join Steve Lackmeyer Fridays at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Oklahoma City development.

  • Space Tower to come down at State Fair Park

    Space Tower to come down at State Fair Park

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Oct 24, 2018

    The Arrows to Atoms Space Tower — the last reminder of an era when State Fair Park was home to futuristic attractions and tributes to the city's past — is set to come down this winter, ending 50 years as an iconic part of the city's skyline. In an interview with The Oklahoman on Thursday, Oklahoma State Fair CEO Tim O'Toole said the 330-foot-high tower and ride has stood dormant since it was damaged by flooding in the spring of 2010. The same high waters also led to the closing and ultimate demolition of another landmark — downtown's Stage Center. “It's an old structure,” O'Toole said.

  • Changes underway at major downtown properties

    Changes underway at major downtown properties

    By Steve Lackmeyer Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Oct 17, 2018

    Some of the last views from the sculpture of the late James Cotter are of a rapidly changing skyline that includes the demolition of the 1971 annex of First National and the end of Cotter's legacy at the renamed BancFirst Tower. In the early 1970s, the two addresses represented the financial and political power of Oklahoma City's two biggest banks, First National Bank and Liberty Bank. First National started to decline first with the failure of its anchor in 1986. Liberty Bank was taken over by a series of out-of-state megabanks that resulted in a shrinking operation that finally moved to a small Chase bank drive-thru down the street.

  • Shortfall dooms OKC’s All Sports

    Shortfall dooms OKC’s All Sports

    By Steve Lackmeyer Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, Oct 17, 2018

    The city's athletic commission tasked with recruiting and assisting minor league sports officially called it quits Wednesday evening just hours after an email was sent to members with an urgent plea to contact the mayor and council members to win support for a taxpayer bailout. The All Sports Association, a nonprofit in charge of recruiting amateur and collegiate events to Oklahoma City, notified City Manager Jim Couch on Oct. 4 the group was going to dissolve without a bailout of $275,000 — to get through the end of 2018 — and more money for 2019.

  • Energy company latest to develop headquarters on Automobile Alley

    Energy company latest to develop headquarters...

    BY STEVE LACKMEYER Business Writer slackmeyer@oklahoman.com | Updated: Tue, Oct 16, 2018

    Automobile Alley is set to see another headquarters added to the growing district with plans underway to redevelop two decades-old warehouses and build a new three-story addition. About 70 employees with Circle 9 Resources, now working at Oklahoma Tower, are set to anchor the development at 11 NW 8. Renderings submitted Tuesday for presentation to the Downtown Design Review Committee show the project includes a rooftop restaurant and a corridor lined with space for shops and small cafes that could potentially link up with Steve Mason's Ninth Street development. Circle 9 CEO North Whipple said plans for the full use of the property still are evolving.




Steve's OKC Central Today at 8:39 PM Oh sure. Why wasn't this photo to be found when @jackmoney48 and I were writing our Skirvin book? Sun Suite at the… https://t.co/xg15SZg1Q1
Steve's OKC Central Today at 8:07 PM RT @NewsOK: BREAKING: OKC district names building after Clara Luper https://t.co/KMDwneSb6p #oklaed https://t.co/ujMrRy54Dy
Steve's OKC Central Today at 8:05 PM RT @martypeercy: Tuesday 11.13 & Wednesday 11.14 overnight temps are expected to be below freezing. Overflow shelter will be available. htt…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 8:00 PM RT @rachaelreally: Finally set up the @GoFundMe for my family at the request of many. https://t.co/UufSgmN43A Thank you everyone. #CampFire
Steve's OKC Central Today at 7:58 PM And it's just a coincidence vape shops are opening next to schools... https://t.co/yUeLOhoVha
Steve's OKC Central Today at 7:10 PM @MetroLibraryOK local history and periodicals
Steve's OKC Central Today at 7:06 PM RT @davidsirota: BREAKING: New York Democratic lawmaker @RonTKim moves to block Amazon deal with legislation to take $1.7 billion of taxpay…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:52 PM RT @eriechtapia: Major meeting tonight for the Edmond City Council. Issues include: • The rezoning of the former Coffee Creek will be up…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:51 PM RT @WILLIAMCRUM: Nikki Nice sworn in as Ward 7 councilwoman. #OKC https://t.co/TQvK5GdUlO
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:10 PM RT @haileybranson: "The irony is that Paradise was one of the few Sierra slope towns built in a tinderbox that tried to change its fate." D…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:07 PM For the win. https://t.co/8deIFoLmZ3
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:03 PM RT @JoeD4OK: @OKFosterWishes The wish lists for this year go live tomorrow morning at https://t.co/i8LCeEfMap at 10am! Be sure to request y…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:03 PM @ShamsCharania All of OKC right now: https://t.co/Ame9xHG6Sz
Steve's OKC Central Today at 5:00 PM RT @UCOBronchos: TOMORROW: Join us on our Facebook (uco.bronchos or https://t.co/seho9l7MuE) for a livestream of the Donald Betz STEM Resea…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 4:59 PM Amazon continues to take from cities.... https://t.co/HrrahHLPZx
Steve's OKC Central Today at 4:59 PM RT @OHPtraffic: OKC: I235 SB JN 6th is a non-injury accident...teg OKC: I44 WB JW Penn is an accident ...teg OKC: I44 EB I35 SB is an accid…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 4:35 PM RT @Dishman5: REI. OKC. https://t.co/wmI9IXWfri
Steve's OKC Central Today at 4:35 PM RT @OkCountySheriff: *UPDATE ON MISSING GIRL* 16 Y/O Sianna Gillespie (goes by Sisi) has been missing since Oct. 27. Her parents have not h…
Steve's OKC Central Today at 3:17 PM RT @OKCityRescue: It's bitterly cold and time for us to hit the streets! We're launching an outreach truck to meet the immediate needs of t…