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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:53 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by SRG
Oh for the love of God, save me the potential flame-war this time, won't you? How many times have we had this conversation? Looks like you're trying to get some new blood into your "arch-nemesis file" or whatever you call it, that you pick on people when you feel insecure about your own damn city, that is hundreds of miles away from ours. Two differant worlds. Wanna talk Louisville right here? I'm game. The reason you all didn't get it is because your arena is an armpit, whereas ours is a typical NBA arena, that at the time, was just missing the NBA team. We have more of a boom-district in Bricktown, and the other downtown districts, and we aren't scavengers like Louisville was. We didn't want a team, we wanted a chance. We wanted New Orleans to get their team back, unlike Phil Hardberger, but we knew that they needed a place, and that this would just be a major win-win for us.

Get it? Now stop bringing that up.
Dont get mad, I only pointed out facts. Louisivlle is bigger in every regard and has been for over 200 years. Louisville's arena is not an armpit, its just old. And FYI, the city never pursued a team, nimwit. A local attorney did, but he did so without city help or approval. NBA teams were interested but they wanted a new arena (as you said) and would not bargain if city officials wouldnt even TALK to them.

Why the FUCK does everyone get so defensive on here? What part of my message said anything bad about OKC?
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 04:56 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by shane453
Haha, I actually had to try really hard not to say anything when he put the message about Louisville being so much bigger than OKC. I just thought "Wow, that's a really passive agressive way to get back at me for complimenting your city and noting similar ongoing projects."
Yeah well meat gych. This will probably be our 100th flame war now, so put some popcorn in the microwave, and enjoy the show.

Gych, what are you smoking? 'Cause I want some of it. Did it ever reveal itself to you that Louisville may not be the center of the world. Don't get me wrong, I love Louisville, so now you can go back to the pot-addled commune that you live in and jump up and down "Sooner loves Louisville!! Wippee!!" or whatever it is you do when people side with you, seeing as you have no friends, especially so on this forum.

And here's another thing. The next time that you pop up in an OKC thread of mine, or the very same thread which as memory recalls, we've already had a couple flame wars in itself, I'll start switching around the letters in your user.

And please don't start a boondoggle with your co-Loo ah vul posters, if we're lucky the only flame war today will be between me and you.

Thank you and have a good day.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 12:03 AM   #83
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Ive got a question for you...why does it irk you that I post in your thread. Why does it piss you off even farther when I point out facts? FYI, I disagree that Louisvilel and OKC are "rivals" like Louisvilleplaya said over there, but its really no big deal. Half the people around here dont even know where OKC is, and its named after a state! I am sure OKC ppl could care less about Louisville too. So just leave it at that!
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 12:25 AM   #84
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I'm actually a fan of Louisville.

And I don't think they're rivals-- but I do think they're similar cities, despite the small population difference.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 08:54 PM   #85
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$8 million mixed-use development planned for Automobile Alley

$8 million mixed-use development planned for Automobile Alley
by Brandice J. O'Brien
The Journal Record
12/23/2005

OKLAHOMA CITY - Another mixed-use development is planned for downtown Oklahoma City. Investors David Box, Roddy Bates, Mike Dillard and Chris Bolding intend to renovate 1101 N. Broadway, formally the Buick Motor Co. building, into high-end lofts above retail or office space.

The Urban Design Committee approved the estimated $8 million project Wednesday and construction documents are 85 percent complete.

Inspired by Greenwich Village in New York, 35 units are planned ranging in size from 500 to 2,400 square feet, the largest being a penthouse, and will cost between $1,000 and $5,000 per month.

"It's going to be all first class with stainless-steel appliances, moldings and a garden on the second floor on the north side just like you see in Greenwich Village," said Box, an investor and one of the developers on the project. "It's New York City meets Oklahoma."

"I'm a little stunned at those high residential rental rates; it's by far the highest I have heard in Oklahoma City," said Marva Ellard, co-developer of The Hill at Bricktown. "I heard the finishes (will be) very, very nice and it would set a new high for residential rent rates in the Oklahoma City market.

"The more quality housing in downtown, the better for everyone," Ellard said. "We'll almost have instant neighborhoods in downtown. I think that's healthy."

Although rents will be high, project officials said there is a market for upscale apartments downtown.

"They're that much better than anything offered in downtown right now," said Bruce Bockus, president of Bockus Payne Associates Architects and an architect on the project. "The attention to detail is very much scrutinized. The level of finish and its quality sets them apart from what's available."

Project investors are applying for historic tax credits. There are also plans for a restaurant-bar known as The Chandy.

The investors, doing business as BBD Investments, bought the 59,500-square-foot building in 2004 for $950,000. An additional 4,500 square feet will be added for the project.

Box credits his high-rise dreams for the four-story building in Automobile Alley to the developers with prospective projects that came before him. Without projects including The Hill at Bricktown, The Triangle and Block 42, downtown Oklahoma City wouldn't be a developing market, he said.

The building at 1101 N. Broadway was built about 14 years after the original Buick Building at 508 N. Broadway to increase space for the dealership.
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Old December 25th, 2005, 02:59 AM   #86
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Rendering for the Chandelier project in Midtown:

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Old December 26th, 2005, 12:01 PM   #87
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Looks nice. Hows infill picking up in that Midtown area shane?
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Old December 26th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #88
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Things are really getting going. This is the second residential conversion for Midtown in the last two weeks or so. Right now most Midtown developments are conversions and renovations. There are two residential and at least one commercial that I know of.
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Old December 26th, 2005, 07:42 PM   #89
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Personally I like what they've done in the Plaza District in Midtown better than residential renovations, and the hopes that Plaza Court will come back.
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Old December 27th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #90
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Personally I like what they've done in the Plaza District in Midtown better than residential renovations, and the hopes that Plaza Court will come back.

Cool, you guys expecting any big retail developments in this area? An upscale grocer or maybe trendy boutiques or sushi lounges?
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Old December 27th, 2005, 10:30 PM   #91
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Here's Midtown's main intersection:

.

Being a 5-way intersection with a roundabout, it's experiencing a bit of a pre-boom right now. There is particular interest in the Plaza Court building:



Which is being renovated for commercial and retail space.

There had been a few restaurants in Midtown prior to the installation of the Roundabout at the Plaza Court intersection, and now the area is expected to gain more retail and entertainment presence. I'm not sure on any specific announcements for new retailers, but there are a few restaurants established already, including the popular Cafe do'Brasil which features a rooftop dining area with a view of the downtown skyline. In OKC we have seen a popular restaurant spark entertainment booms before. (Wasn't Chelino's in Bricktown before Bricktown was cool?)
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Old December 28th, 2005, 04:06 PM   #92
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You're thinking of Spaghetti Warehouse.
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Old December 30th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #93
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Bricktown is Full

The last few properties in Bricktown that were still undeveloped have been purchased and plans are ready.


-------


Old core area nears transformation into lofts, offices, retail on East Main


By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

The last undeveloped block in the old core of Bricktown is about to be transformed into lofts, offices and retail.

The developers include three newcomers to Bricktown: Rob Roberts and Greg Robertson, owners of Orthopedic Products and Services Inc., and Michael Brewster, an Air Force captain stationed at Tinker Air Force Base.

“I think if somebody had come down here 12 years ago and heard the pipe dreams that were coming up, nobody would have invested,” Roberts said. “But today, looking at where they are, with the improvements, the canal, the ballpark, the hotels, Bass Pro Shops, the Hornets, everybody wants to be a part of it.”

That enthusiasm is shared by Roberts new neighbor, Brewster.

Brewster, formerly a New York resident, didn’t know what to expect when he was stationed at Tinker six years ago.

“The only real experience I had was old western movies or the Oklahoma City bombing,” Brewster said. “I was afraid there wasn’t an area like Bricktown, that it was just a country town.”

Brewster, like Roberts and Robertson, saw Bricktown as the top spot for staking their claim in downtown Oklahoma City’s renaissance. Main Street included the last stretch of original, unimproved warehouses left in the growing entertainment district.

The three agree the timing is right for development of the block. The west border is the rebuilt Walnut Avenue bridge, which when completed will be a new two-way entry into Bricktown from Interstate 235. The city is also renovating and expanding the former Rock Island freight depot on the north side of Main Street, making it the new home of the Bricktown police substation.

Main Street itself has been rebuilt. New sidewalks, vintage-style lamp posts and landscaping replaced crumbling curbs and gravel walkways. All four buildings along Main Street sold last summer.

Roberts first tried to buy a two-story building at 224 E Main built in 2002 at Main Street and Central by veteran Bricktown property owner John Freeman.

Al Sahli, who also owns the Bricktown Marketplace at 401 E California, got a contract for the building first, and closed for $387,500 on June 28. Roberts and Robertson hoped to get the building next door, 222 E Main, but Freeman sold it to Brewster for $325,000 on June 30.

“We thought it might fall through,” Roberts said. “Not only did it close, it closed 10 days early. And that left 214 and 218 E Main. So we put bids on them ($450,000 each), and we were successful.”

All three property owners have renovations about to start. Sahli last week completed a lease with the Hampt, Brooks and Vandruff law firm to occupy all 9,000 square feet of the unfinished building at 224 E Main, with a move-in by July.

The Bricktown Urban Design Committee recently reviewed plans for Roberts renovations, which include new main entries, conference rooms, surveillance cameras, and a basement which he hopes to leave to a restaurant. His two adjoined buildings - renamed Bricktown Plaza on Main - were both built about 100 years ago.

His firm, Orthopedic Products and Services, will occupy part of the property, with the remainder to be leased next year.

Brewster, who got to meet Roberts and Robertson last week, likes the emerging mix of tenants. Brewster is renovating his 98-year-old warehouse into four 1,000-square-foot apartments, one of which will be his new home, and wants to lease the first floor to a coffee shop or wine bar. Improvements will include a roof patio and rear balconies.

“With residential, we won’t have to worry about a huge club keeping people up late,” Brewster said. “And if we get a coffee shop downstairs, well have an instant market for it.” Frank Sims, director of the Bricktown Association, said the only question left for Main Street is what homebuilder Jeff Moore will do with the block at Main Street and Oklahoma Avenue that he bought last month from the McLain family.

“There are some really cool buildings there, with the police substation and new parking north of Main Street, it has some real positive amenities that should help the area develop quickly,” Sims said. “When we see what Jeff Moore does with the former McLain property, we’ll see it all get tied together. It should really finish the core district.”
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Old December 31st, 2005, 09:35 PM   #94
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It must be Skirvin Day... Two articles about the renovation of OKC's 93-year-old downtown hotel.



-------


Skirvin developers expect opening by March 2007 event

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

The Skirvin hotel has a new owner today - and developers say they are on target for opening as a Hilton before the March 2007 Big 12 basketball tournament at nearby Ford Center.

Skirvin project team tours hotel for glimpse of ongoing restoration

The three-month sale closing on the hotel by Oklahoma City to Dallas-based Skirvin Partners concluded Thursday with the wiring of millions of dollars by both the city, investors and banks to make the $51.3 million project a reality.

“The deal has been completed, all the documents have been signed and all the money has been wired to the correct places,” Urban Renewal director JoeVan Bullard said. “What a glorious way to end 2005.”

John Weeman, the lead developer, said downtown Oklahoma City is a different market than it was when his team, which includes Milwaukee-based Marcus Hotels and Resorts, first bid for the project three years ago.

Renovation of another historic property, the Colcord building, into a boutique hotel, began in September. A Residence Inn is being built in Bricktown, and a Hampton Inn is set to be built in Bricktown this spring.

“We started out looking at being in the very top of the market, and we remain at the very top of the market,” Weeman said. “The Colcord is going to sit in the market much as the Ambassador Hotel does in Tulsa. It’s a nice, small boutique hotel, and we’re a big full-service hotel. We’re totally different breeds.”

Weeman said the Skirvin sale was the most complicated in his career, with a city loan agreement involving historic tax credits, tax increment financing, new market tax credits and Community Development Block Grants. The city participation totals up to $18 million, all of which is expected to be repaid to taxpayers through ground lease and loan payments.

Marcus Hotels and Resorts, which is both the operator and equity partner in the project, already is fielding calls in the company’s Milwaukee office to book events, Weeman said.

He said a sales office should open in the first floor of the attached Santa Fe Parking Garage by spring.

“I don’t think Oklahoma City can wait for the Skirvin Hilton to open,” Weeman said.


-----

Skirvin project team tours hotel for glimpse of ongoing restoration
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

Demolition is almost complete, and construction is expected to begin next month as renovations continue at downtown Oklahoma City's Skirvin hotel.
Developer John Weeman was joined by Richard Horton, project manager with Duncan and Miller Design, and Vern Busse, director of design and construction with Hilton Hotels, in touring the project Friday -- the first day the property was under new ownership.

Tulsa-based Flintco began work over the summer as part of an early-entry agreement provided by the city.

Inside the hotel, Weeman, Horton and Busse saw a gutted open area on the building's southwest corner where offices and the front desk once were. That area, facing Broadway and Park Avenue, will become a new lounge when the hotel opens in late 2006 or early 2007.

The removal of those offices also revealed ceiling arches once hidden by dropped ceilings -- arches that match those in the main lobby. Tile found in the basement will be used to replace any broken sections of the hotel's original flooring.

Daylight pours into the second floor, where windows were covered by a stucco facade added about 30 years ago. The area, just above the future lounge, will become a "situation room."

"It will be a series of conference tables flanked by two board rooms, primarily designed for firms that are in arbitrations, mergers and negotiations -- maybe where you will have two teams working on a project," Weeman said.

Horton said the area also will include a private bar, a game room with pool tables and a reception area.

Another meeting area on the east end of the second floor includes original fixtures and engraved ceiling borders -- an area Weeman said will be among the hotel's most accurately preserved rooms.

The nearby ballroom where President Reagan once spoke is gutted, with only plywood covering the west wall. When complete, the ballroom will have a new facade, complete with a drive and grand entry for weddings, balls and special events.

Weeman said the $51.3 million project is both a restoration job and also "building a new hotel inside an old building."

It comes at a time when most Hilton hotels are opened in new buildings. But Weeman said Hilton is no stranger to historic properties.

"Hilton spent a billion dollars restoring the crown jewels in the Hilton family," Weeman said. "So Hilton's heritage with historic properties is significant."

Horton, whose Dallas firm is challenged with presenting the Skirvin's history, was challenged with determining which era best represents the property's heyday.

"You're going to see the Skirvin from 1912 all the way through 2005, from the furniture and fabrics and all the pieces we're bringing into it," Horton said.

-----

AND a little more Skirvin info, if you're still curious.

(From The Oklahoman)
Skirvin timeline

1911: William B. Skirvin opens the Skirvin Hotel, featuring neo-Georgian architecture, oak paneling and Venetian crystal chandeliers. The hotel is considered one of the finest in the Southwest.

1988: Skirvin Plaza Hotel closes with owners promising it would be reopened after a $1.2 million renovation. Laid-off employees say the hotel is in financial trouble and won’t reopen.

2002: Oklahoma City Council buys the hotel for $2.875 million after determining the property won’t be renovated and reopened without public subsidy.

2003: City solicits development proposals and selects Skirvin Partners, which proposes renovating the Skirvin into a Hilton.
Skirvin costs

$51.3 million -- Total project cost

$33.3 million -- Private funding (includes sale of historic tax credits, new market tax credits)

$18 million -- Public funding

Public funding breakdown
$10.4 million -- Tax increment finance district bonds

$700,000 -- Brownfield loan

$1 million -- Economic development initiative grant

$4.816 million -- Section 108 loan

$653,000 -- Urban renewal close-out funds

$431,000 -- Sale proceeds
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Old January 5th, 2006, 09:57 PM   #95
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A new restaurant and a nightclub for downtown Oklahoma City in the Colcord hotel have been announced.

From Newsok.com

----

Restaurant to anchor renovated hotel

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

After a decade away from downtown Oklahoma City, Michel and Alain Buthion are returning with a restaurant that will anchor the Colcord Hotel when it opens in one year.
The Buthions, who operate La Baguette Bistro, 7401 N May Ave., lost their downtown operation on the city's darkest day -- April 19, 1995.

Their restaurant in the Journal Record Building was destroyed that day by the bombing of the nearby Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building -- and the eatery never reopened.

"We had a lot of people asking us to go to different places like Bricktown," Michel Buthion said. "But Bricktown didn't fit for us."

Buthion was interested in reopening in the Skirvin. Buthion worked at the Skirvin from 1979 to shortly before it closed in 1988, overseeing its food and beverage operations.

Buthion could not reach a deal with the developers turning the Skirvin into a Hilton Hotel -- so the French chef continued to entertain offers from various downtown interests.

Paul Coury, meanwhile, was one of four competing developers who pitched plans to renovate and reopen the Skirvin three years ago. When the Tulsa developer's plan to turn the Skirvin into a boutique hotel was declined by the city, he turned his attention to downtown's other historic jewel, the Colcord building.

The Colcord, he said, was a better match to his successful 55-room Ambassador Hotel in Tulsa.

And the Buthions, he determined, were best suited to open a locally-owned hotel restaurant similar to The Chalkboard Restaurant that anchors the Ambassador Hotel.

"When I started looking around town, I had people mention a few restaurant names to look at," Coury said. "I went out systematically, met the people, and Michel and Alain clearly had the most panache and the best team."

The courting would last two years before a deal was reached. Coury said the Buthions are a critical part of establishing the Colcord's new life as a boutique hotel.

"The recipe for this concept started with the Kimpton Group in San Francisco," Coury said. "They're leaders in boutique hotels ... and they brought in people like Emeril and Todd English and other top renown chefs. And that's what we're trying to do in Oklahoma City."

Coury and Buthion promise "Soleil" will be unlike any other restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City.

The 130-seat restaurant will anchor the first floor of the Colcord, space occupied by the Department of Tourism until last summer, visible to traffic along Sheridan and Robinson Avenues.

Designs by architect Don Beck call for the bay windows added during a renovation 25 years ago to be removed and replaced with plate glass more in keeping with the building's original 1910 construction.

Seating will line up the east, west and south windows, with a corner "party" table at Robinson and Sheridan that will seat eight to 12 people.

From that corner, diners will have a view of the Myriad Gardens across the street.

"That will be the place to be," Michel Buthion said.

In the middle of the restaurant will be an oyster bar. Alain Buthion said the restaurant will offer a seafood menu not found at any downtown eatery.

Life will also return to the Colcord's basement, which in the building's early days was home to the Savoy. In the 1920s, the Savoy was the city's social hot spot, Michel Buthion said, a restaurant that also featured live entertainment and dancing.

The basement, used in modern times for storage, will be converted into "XO."

"It will have private seating, it will be a sophisticated lounge with adult music -- nothing like it downtown, nothing like it in Bricktown," Coury said. "The feel will be very big city, very urban, with appetizers served late, and staying open until 2 a.m."

Michel Buthion, excited to work again at a historic hotel, said he barely recognizes downtown from when he left the Skirvin in 1988 -- or even from when his restaurant was destroyed in 1995.

"I'm glad to be going back to the hotel business -- I'm a hotel man, I guess," Michel Buthion said. "We know the room service business, we know the clientele that goes to a hotel. But it's unbelievable how downtown has changed. I can't wait to see how it will look in the next 10 years."
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Old January 6th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #96
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A La Baguette would go REALLY well in B'town. I frequent a couple in Norman near my place, and somehow they find a way to make an upscale shopping center in Norman seem very urban and chic. And what Bricktown needs is sidewalk cafes, and not these damn sports bars. As it is, the food offering in B'town is not much differant than Campus Corner in Norman, which is more packed, especially on a game day.

As for XO in the Colcord Hotel, that's great too. But La Baguette should build an empire in downtown OKC. If they don't Starbucks will, and I would rather have 50 La Baguettes in my POCKET than a single Starbucks on I 240 (the infestation is in process).

Oh gych, I didn't read your question about the grocery store. Yes, we are expecting a downtown grocery store. It's not official, but my office in conjunction with our city's excellant Chamber of Commerce have been working over HEB (they have an urban market format that would be excellant) and Whole Foods. 4,000 people live downtown. A grocery store needs 6,000 in it's demograhpic area to be successful. By the end of next year, I bet they'll have their 6,000. But we want Whole Foods now. So we'd like to get them some sort of initiative package for the first year (if they need it).

Right now there are several grocery stores in OKC's "urban quarter", which extends from the Oklahoma River to I 44, including the Inner Northside. There's a Wal Mart at Pennsylvania Avenue and NW 23 Street, but noone wants to find themselves driving from a downtown that should be walkable, facing brutal traffic on one of the city's busiest thouroghfares (23rd) and then find themselves in the middle of a damn Wal Mart. Downtown living should be about convenience, as well as the lifestyle.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 01:28 AM   #97
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I saw people waiting at a bus stop with groceries on 23rd a couple weeks ago. So I guess some people are fulfilling their dream of an urban grocer. The study on downtown grocery store was in the Oklahoman, and it sounded very likely. I think it even said that they had almost had one moving in a couple years ago? And did I hear something about a grocer in the Legacy Summit development? That is, assuming dirt is ever moved on that one (ha!).

But you're right, they'll have 6000 by the end of the year with at least 4 major residential projects announced in the CBD alone, more than 250 units. (Including the 70 units in 3 Kerr-Mcgee buildings over 270,000 square feet- meaning more than 3,000 sf per unit). Then there's all of the announced Midtown, Bricktown, Arts District, Triangle, Deep Deuce, and Automobile Alley projects. I bet they can make it to 8000 before the end of the year with all of those and whatever they still have to announce/plan.

In October Journal Record said that almost 300,000 sf was being converted in the CBD from office space to residential. The Kerr-Mcgee project I think was announced after that, so that would put the total now to more than 500,000 sf of office being converted. That's 8.3% of all the office space in downtown...

That was a jumpy post...
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Old January 7th, 2006, 07:08 AM   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shane453
It must be Skirvin Day... Two articles about the renovation of OKC's 93-year-old downtown hotel.


When I visited OKC, this was by far my favorite building, its quite unique. Its funny, I thought it was condos, but I must have been mistaken. It must have been vacant?
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Old January 7th, 2006, 07:49 PM   #99
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It's been vacant since about '88 or '89. Closed because it was "haunted" and people didn't want to stay there. But I heard there was a homeless man living in there before the renovation began... So I guess you could have called it a condo when you visited... a very very large and inexpensive one.

The renovation is quite exciting as it will open up a lot more much-needed hotel rooms and so far they have made quite a few beautiful discoveries beneath the various layers of remodeling over the years.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 10:59 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by shane453
It's been vacant since about '88 or '89. Closed because it was "haunted" and people didn't want to stay there. But I heard there was a homeless man living in there before the renovation began... So I guess you could have called it a condo when you visited... a very very large and inexpensive one.

The renovation is quite exciting as it will open up a lot more much-needed hotel rooms and so far they have made quite a few beautiful discoveries beneath the various layers of remodeling over the years.

Its going to be a hilton? Will it be the first Hilton in OKC (besides their lower brands like Garden INN, etc)?
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