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Very interesting proposals have been released for the 590-acre area that will be created by the relocation of the Crosstown Expressway 5 blocks south of its current position. The existing elevated structure is well over capacity, dangerous, hard to navigate, and has been a boundary to downtown expansion. They are currently somewhat vague proposals, so I'm really not sure if these are prototype proposals or something that is under planning stages already. But either way, construction can't begin until the completion of the relocation project in early 2009, so it could change anyway.


Proposals include:

- Residential Towers
- Proposed Downtown Shopping (Nordstroms +)
- Proposed Corporate Campus
- Convention Center Expansion
- Five Star Hotel (Across from Ford Center)
- Transformation of Old Post Office distribution center into a 200,000 sf museum of contemporary art
- Light Rail Station

and South of new Crosstown:
- Mercado Hispanic Market
- Mixed-use neighborhood.



A companion article said that the Crosstown is scheduled for completion by late 2008 or early 2009, about 3 years from now. It has been under construction since November of last year and in planning/deliberation since 1996.


Transforming the I-40 corridor
Compiled by Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

Planners propose a new gateway

A 590-acre area between the Oklahoma River and downtown could be transformed into a new gateway under a plan discussed Wednesday by architects, engineers and civic leaders involved in construction of the new Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway.

The presentation, hosted by Leadership Oklahoma City, included an update on the planned highway, which is to partially open in late 2008, and a challenge to develop land previously ignored.

Among the ideas were drawings and proposals by students at the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, led by architecture professor Hans Butzer.

"It seems as if we're always focusing on one piece, and not giving the impression that it's related. We have all this great stuff going on in the city. We just don't allow people ways to get there from here," Butzer said.

Here's a look at the plans.

River link: Downtown would be linked to the river with a green path from Myriad Gardens across a boulevard on I-40's current route.

The path would continue past the current U.S. Post Office and the Union Train Station, and across the new highway. It would end at the north shore of the Oklahoma River.

Senior options: The proposals suggest seniors could enjoy museums, ball games, parks and movies all within a short walk or ride on a downtown Oklahoma Spirit trolley.

Mercado district: The Harvey Avenue pathway would include a "mercado" Hispanic marketplace as it passes through the Riverside neighborhood. Development could include new housing and retail.

Other proposals

Linking downtown to the river. That would involve aligning a green path along Harvey from the Myriad Gardens, across a new boulevard that will be built along the current highway route. The path would continue past the current U.S. Post Office and the Union Train Station, and across the new highway. It would end at the north shore of the Oklahoma River.

"Why can't this be the Guggenheim of the Midwest?" That's what students asked as they considered what to do with the 200,000-square-foot postal distribution center that will be abandoned when operations are moved to west Oklahoma City. Plans suggest the building could be a museum.

Create new assisted living centers. Seniors could enjoy museums, ball games, parks and movies.

Investment

City planner Russell Claus estimated public and private investment downtown, estimated at $2.4 billion, could double if the city succeeds at promoting development in the 590 acres. OU architecture professor Hans Butzer said, "If we think about this carefully, and work together, we can do great things with this new front door and lay the groundwork for new investment."
 

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Task force met last month, and will meet again in March. This won't even closely resemble the plan. There will be a ton of pocket parks, a boardwalk along the river, light rail, and we hope, lots of infill medium-density development. Anything over 10 stories probably won't be recommended for the area ... north of the avenue for that.

I have my quaffs with the Butzer suggestion.
 

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lagom
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Yea man it's a win-win situation but I read the new freeway is going to demolish the rail yard that was considered to be a part of the light rail plan for the OKC-metroplex is that still an issue?
 
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