View Full Version : Q&A with Downtown OKC's Brett Hamm

08-24-2007, 07:44 AM
I'm glad to see the talk of a jumbo-screen on the Trigen buillding and a Ford Center Marquee have been revived, however since these executive Q&A's are meant to be fluff, Brett dodged a rather easy question.

Fri August 24, 2007

Q&A with Brett Hamm

Q: Four years have passed since a series of meetings with downtown merchants, developers and real estate professionals resulted in a downtown strategic action plan. Has there been any measurement of the performance benchmarks set in the plan?

A: The plan established goals to achieve in downtown by 2010 so we've continued to track our progress in conjunction with all downtown stakeholders. To date, we've seen over $3 billion of public and private investment, far exceeding the plan's goal to at least match the $350 million from the original MAPS program. Another priority was to attract 3 million visitors to downtown which was nearly tripled last year with 8.5 million visitors. Downtown housing is a top priority with a goal of 2,000 new units. Currently, we have 1,400 complete or under way. Finally, on another key objective to increase downtown hotels; the spring '08 completion of the Bricktown Hampton Inn will put us at 1,615 rooms, well on our way to the goal of 2,250 downtown hotel rooms by 2010.

Q: How does the new downtown zoning ordinance measure up against the plan's goals?

A: Part of the objective was to raise the bar on design criteria. The new zoning standards, enacted this year, represent stronger standards and also created a Downtown Design Review Committee to ensure these higher standards are implemented throughout the three separate design districts in downtown.

Q: Discussions during the strategic planning sessions included suggestions that a large digital promotional screen be added to the exterior of the Trigen plant at E.K. Gaylord and Sheridan and that an events marquee should be added to the entrance at the Ford Center. Have these ideas received any further consideration?

A: During the planning sessions, a number of ideas were put forth on ways to highlight downtown events. Since, the Civic Center Foundation has added a marquee to highlight events at that venue, while pedestrian kiosks and increased event and parking signage has been added to aid downtown visitors. Improved signage will continue to increase under the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan which will be funded through the 2007 G.O. Bond campaign.

Q: What is the most important target of the strategic action plan yet to be met?

A: Recruiting new business to downtown and improving development incentives towards this effort continue to be priorities, as will expanding and recruiting national retailers to downtown. Visitors will enjoy improved parking options with now over 20,000 parking spaces available downtown: enough to park in a new space, seven days a week for the next 55 years.

Business Writer Steve Lackmeyer