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Thread: BOK Park Plaza

  1. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by dankrutka View Post
    Per Steve's article, who is this Chuck Ainsworth fellow who "argued in favor of the demolition, saying the targeted buildings 'are functionally obsolete.'"

    Weren't these buildings being fully used before tenants were kicked out? How are they "functionally obsolete?"
    Unfortunately, some of the people who are on these committees don't really have the mission of the committee has their guiding principle. They participate in these groups as a stepping stone to something else or for the business connections they facilitate and so are easily influenced (often willingly) by people and companies that the committee is essentially supposed to be regulating. I wish these committees were stacked only with people who actual believed in the core mission the committee is tasked with. Alas, these people are political appointees so what can you do.

  2. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    You assume a lot. Unless you know someone you can't really know their motivations, can you?

  3. #128

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I'm happy to hear that Jane spoke at the meeting and voiced, rather closely, the same opinions that I would have voiced.

    Hopefully the developer and designers take some of the suggestions to heart and come up with the best solution(s) for this part of downtown.

  4. #129

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I would encourage people to watch the video from the meeting yesterday rather than rely on my account or Steve's:

    SIRE Public Access

    Click on video on upper right corner; right click and you can zoom to bigger size.

    Pickard's presentation starts at 39:00; KayneMo's letter is read at 1:19 and the committee makes comments after that.

  5. #130

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    You assume a lot. Unless you know someone you can't really know their motivations, can you?
    But didn't you know? Debbie Downer is all knowing!

  6. #131

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Unfortunately, some of the people who are on these committees don't really have the mission of the committee has their guiding principle. They participate in these groups as a stepping stone to something else or for the business connections they facilitate and so are easily influenced (often willingly) by people and companies that the committee is essentially supposed to be regulating. I wish these committees were stacked only with people who actual believed in the core mission the committee is tasked with. Alas, these people are political appointees so what can you do.
    I may not agree with some (even a lot) of their decisions but this is taking things too far IMO.

  7. #132

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    i may not agree with some (even a lot) of their decisions but this is taking things too far imo.
    ^this

  8. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Geographer View Post
    I'm happy to hear that Jane spoke at the meeting and voiced, rather closely, the same opinions that I would have voiced.

    Hopefully the developer and designers take some of the suggestions to heart and come up with the best solution(s) for this part of downtown.
    I agree. I'm proud of Jane for standing up to defend walkability and good urban planning principles. She did so at some personal risk, as it is no secret her board members are largely comprised of people who - while largely much better-intentioned than some give them credit for in this forum - will generally always come down on the side of business over optimal urbanism. I think a huge task over the next few years is to convince some of these people that great urbanism in your downtown IS great for business, and that the two are not somehow mutually exclusive.

  9. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    You assume a lot. Unless you know someone you can't really know their motivations, can you?
    Absolutely correct. All you can really do is look at what a person does in respect to what they are supposed to be doing. If one is tasked with ensuring downtown development complies with design requirements and long-term objectives but yet support companies NOT complying then that individual's motivation needs to be questioned. Non-compliance is only supposed to be granted when no other alternatives are available, not just because the developer doesn't want to comply.

    Anyhow, this isn't unique to OKC.

  10. #135

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I actually like the tilt of the building. It makes it interesting. Also the current building design can't go out to that corner. With out a total redesign. A simple rectangle is uninteresting this building is not.

    I also don't really see this as a set back "plaza". It is more of an expanded sidewalk.

  11. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    I actually like the tilt of the building. It makes it interesting. Also the current building design can't go out to that corner. With out a total redesign. A simple rectangle is uninteresting this building is not.

    I also don't really see this as a set back "plaza". It is more of an expanded sidewalk.
    ^^^ I have the same sentiments ^^^ It's not a box, it's not a square and it's not a rectangle. The Western side is also offset to break it up. I think when the crown is lit it'll be outstanding.

  12. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Reading the downtown design committees response has put me in a great mood today. Gives me a strong sense of hope! I like how they pointed out all the flaws, and while not all of them will be fixed, they were surely be used to negotiate a better outcome.

  13. #138

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Good to see the downtown review committee cares about the lack of underground parking and the blatent disrespect for preservation. I could care less about height this is basically a nice filler the design is decent it obviously doesnt stick out. It think this would be a lot better if they didn't have to demolish the former black hotel the rest of the buildings could go it would still bother me but at least we saved one of them(the best one). I do hope they opt for more under ground parking. As always Devon tower will keep telling everyone in to **** off for awhile.

  14. #139

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Here are some new images that show how they hope to integrate some of the old building elements into the new project:










  15. #140

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    And a ton more new images:
























  16. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I would rather eat at a retro 1950s style diner in an existing building than pass by and look at the blue exterior after I park my car.

  17. #142

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I love how they put all of the pedestrians in the street, and not in the skywalk. It's like they now they are bad for urbanism, put deceptively make an active street in the renderings when we all know those people will be in the Skybridge.

  18. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    What is the deal with replacing irreplaceable structures with bushes and grass?

  19. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I wouldn't mind the Carpenter Square Building as a parking garage at all as long as the kept the entire original facade. Why couldn't they do that? That's a perfectly good compromise.

  20. #145

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I for one like this tower. It will be even better after there are modifications to the parking garages per the downtown design review committee's request.

    This tower, no matter what changes are made, will never meet JTF's impossible standard of urbanism. Nor will any other project proposed in OKC.

  21. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    If there is LED lighting similar to what Devon Tower has, it would go a long way to make it more appealing at night. Pete, do you know if they are focusing on the crown lighting more than any on the outside surface?

  22. #147

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    I actually like the tilt of the building. It makes it interesting. Also the current building design can't go out to that corner. With out a total redesign. A simple rectangle is uninteresting this building is not.

    I also don't really see this as a set back "plaza". It is more of an expanded sidewalk.
    Ha, rotating a building by a few degrees all of a sudden makes it interesting? I guess I dont see how some slight rotation takes something from uninteresting to interesting. Its just wasting space IMO and adds nothing to the look of the building. Is the Colcord uninteresting? Would it become that much better if it was "cranked" a bit? I'd say its lazy designing if they are relying on turning it slightly to make it "interesting."

    And you have the entire Myriad Gardens for your expanded sidewalk and plaza, you dont need it on the NW corner of the intersection. As Jane said at the hearing, make the gardens your plaza.

    As I said before, I wouldnt be too thrilled with this if I were Clayco. This does nothing to enhance the desirableness of their residential towers. Not sure I would want to pay $300/ft for something surrounded by parking garages.

  23. Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    Post # 139, 3rd pic from the bottom. OGE Tower will also be impressive.

  24. #149

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by how the DDRC reacted to this project. I'm not expecting that it will change very much, and I certainly don't think any of these buildings will be saved, but just the fact that that the DDRC is considering the impact the parking massing will have on the area is encouraging. The skeptic in me still thinks this block will ultimately be mostly a parking monolith with little character or human elements, but this could be the project that motivates the DDRC and other committees tasked with design review to come up with some standards for parking garages that insure future downtown development does not result in over 50% of the real estate being comprised of lifeless parking garages and that the garages that do get built contain elements to mitigate the fragmentation of the urban landscape that occurs when large chunks of real estate are committed to parking.

    I understand that these projects need parking, but as people continue to lament that it's not a bigger building, I'm truly beginning to think these things should be smaller if things of this scale require this much destruction of existing assets and the dedication of over 50% of the land to parking. I'd much rather see walker and hudson be a contiguous string of low rise buildings from SW 3rd to NW 10th, than it just be a scattering of one mid rise building each block with the rest being parking garages.

    Despite the encouraging thoughts by the committee as a whole, Ainsworth's comment that the buildings are "functionally obsolete" is very disappointing, but not surprising. This is basically the default justification we hear anytime anyone wants to tear something down. Meanwhile we have had several buildings in worse shape that were unused for longer periods of time that have been or are currently being made functional. Most of these buildings on this block were in use less than 5 years ago. I really don't know what it is going to take to eliminate this kind of thinking from the city's development oversight bureaucracy. Downtown's resurgence is in large part due to the buildings formally thought of as obsolete being turned into vibrant functional facets of Oklahoma City's downtown scene and identity. I mean, if you just don't care about the city's past or simply think this is a better use for this land, then say that, but don't tell me they're obsolete.

  25. #150

    Default Re: 499 Sheridan

    From the Journal Record:

    Cloud in the skyline: Review committee notes problems with downtown tower design

    By: Molly M. Fleming The Journal Record December 18, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY – The newest planned tower in the city’s skyline will have to go through some revisions before it is approved by the Downtown Design Review Committee, though the building already has one prominent tenant.

    Architect Jon Pickard presented the design for the 499 Sheridan Ave. building during Thursday’s DDRC meeting. The project will include a 692,000-square-foot, 27-story mixed-use tower and two parking garages totaling 757,000 square feet. The tower will sit at the corner of Hudson and Sheridan avenues, with one parking garage at Sheridan and Walker avenues, and another Main Street and Hudson Avenue. The tower’s first floor will have retail spaces and the second floor will have a restaurant and fitness center for the building’s employees. The remaining floors are planned for office tenants.

    Pickard said one of the building’s tenants will be Devon Energy, which occupies approximately 250,000 square feet in three buildings outside the Devon Energy Center. Devon Media Relations Manager John Porretto confirmed that the company will occupy space in the building.

    “Due to strong production growth, our employee base has continued to expand,” Alan Marcum, Devon’s executive vice president of administration, said via email. “Leasing this new, high-quality office space across from Devon Energy Center will allow us to consolidate our employees into a more collaborative work environment, without incurring the capital cost of constructing a new building ourselves.”

    But Devon and other future tenants are a long way from moving into the space. First, four existing buildings must be removed from the site surrounded by Sheridan, Walker and Hudson avenues and Main Street. The existing buildings are One North Hudson Avenue, the former Motor Hotel, the Union Bus Station, and Carpenter Square. Pickard’s plan includes integrating architectural features from each building into the new structures, including the blue tile on the Union Bus Station. Betsy Brunsteter, DDRC chairwoman, said she wants to see more consideration given to the existing buildings before they are removed. Pickard’s presentation did not contain any evaluations about costs or feasibility to restore the existing structures.

    “There are a couple of missed opportunities here,” she said. “Even though you make an attempt to save the various portions of the existing buildings, there has not been the truest attempt to save any of the buildings. And I think that is a concern.”

    Brunsteter said she was also concerned about the parking garage at Sheridan and Walker avenues, across from the new John Rex Charter Elementary School. She said the corner is very important in downtown and she would like to see more activity in the area.

    “If there was some way to even create a placeholder for a building in that location, that would really please me,” she said.

    Other DDRC committee members echoed Brunsteter’s concern about the parking garage at Sheridan and Walker. Committee member Connie Scothorn said the new building presents an opportunity to bring the corner back to life.

    Committee Vice Chairwoman Gigi Faulkner said she’s concerned about the amount of parking and its proximity to the planned OGE Energy Corp. parking garage, the existing Devon Energy parking buildings and the city’s new Arts District parking garage. She also wasn’t pleased with how little space was dedicated to retail, with only 6,000 square feet planned in the tower’s first floor, and another 2,600 square feet in the west parking garage. Brunsteter voiced an opinion on the retail space as well, saying the spaces need to be deeper than 20 feet for retail to work.

    “The depth of less than 20 feet is not going to cut it,” Brunsteter said.

    Jane Jenkins addressed the committee, and said she would rather see more connection to the Myriad Botanical Gardens than to create another plaza area that is not utilized. She said many buildings in downtown have plaza spaces that just sit empty. She said she doesn’t want this building to fall in the same pattern since it has a nearby garden.

    Jenkins is the president and CEO of Downtown OKC Inc., but she stressed that she was speaking only as a resident.

    Pickard said she thought the DDRC’s comments were excellent.

    “All of the comments will be carefully considered,” he said.

    Pickard will have the chance to present revised plans for a vote in 2015.

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