View Full Version : OCURA meeting

08-17-2005, 11:56 AM
Downtownguy reports that OCURA is meeting today. If anyone has any updates or info on the content of the meeting, let us know!

08-18-2005, 07:23 AM
I wasn't there, but according to the Oklahoman, they stood firm on the use of brick in two proposed Lower Bricktown buildings. :congrats: I am surprised Hogan didn't know any better:

Panel wants more bricks on buildings

By Ja'Rena Lunsford
The Oklahoman

Insufficient amounts of brick in two proposed downtown projects drew concerns Wednesday at the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority.
Designs for John Q. Hammons' 150-room Residence Inn and a housing and retail project by developer Randy Hogan were presented to the authority, which in turn asked both groups to consider adding more brick to the projects to coincide with the overall look of Bricktown.

Commissioner Jim Tolbert said the east and west side of the Hammons project were waning because of the lack of windows and brick.

"I think these facades are important," Tolbert said.

Mark Steele, an architect for Hammons, said the authority was asking for more brick than he would usually use and the addition would be a cost issue for the project.

"You can over-brick a building, in my opinion," Steele said. He asked commissioners if there were guidelines for how much of a brick surface wall was required.

"Our guideline is as much as we can get," Tolbert said.

The reaction was the same when Hogan stepped up to unveil his designs. Although the agency complimented Hogan on his clean design, commissioner Larry Nichols said the insufficient amount of brick could not be ignored.

Hogan said the lack of brick on his project has nothing to do with money and everything to do with style.

"It's not really a cost issue," he said. "It's just where we're headed with the look."

Design approval for the Residence Inn was deferred until a later date, but commissioners approved the schematics of Hogan's 30-unit residential area, which also will include a two-story retail area and an underground parking garage.

Hogan agreed to take another look at the plans to see where additional brick could be placed.

08-18-2005, 09:16 AM
Who currently has brick? Sonic, and the two strip properties with firefily and Earl's in them, right? Does Bass Pro have any brick?

08-18-2005, 09:23 AM
Who currently has brick? Sonic, and the two strip properties with firefily and Earl's in them, right? Does Bass Pro have any brick?

It may have some. However, Harkins and Toby's do not. Club row is all brick as well as the center where the Dungeon is.

08-18-2005, 09:31 AM
Club row is all brick as well as the center where the Dungeon is.

Which are above Reno in traditional Bricktown, right? Maybe I'm confused. Are these properties for south of Reno in Lower Bricktown or in Bricktown proper?

08-18-2005, 09:36 AM
Which are above Reno in traditional Bricktown, right? Maybe I'm confused. Are these properties for south of Reno in Lower Bricktown or in Bricktown proper?

Sheridan, mostly. the northern portion which may also be known as upper Bricktown.

08-18-2005, 09:52 AM
I don't suppose anyone has any news on the discussion regarding the Summit at Arts Central?

By the way, can anyone tell me what is being planned for the building on Colcord street across from the Civic Center? I've seen construction on that building for the last 3 months. The front looks like a residential development.

08-18-2005, 10:17 AM
Sheridan, mostly. the northern portion which may also be known as upper Bricktown.

OK. I go out there a lot and hadn't heard that. I was just confused because floater was talking about Lower Bricktown and you were talking about Sheridan.

08-18-2005, 02:06 PM
It does seem to be sending mixed signals when you demand brick for some and allow its absence for others. Yeah, Bass Pro has some brick, and Harkins has a brick-like cover for its lower walls. I don't know why they let Toby Keith's get a free pass. If anybody might be willing to work with the urban design committee or OCURA, you would think it'd be a locally based restauranteur. Who knows what happened during the negotiations.

I last heard that the design committee's purview was north of Reno between the railroad tracks and 1-235, but I don't know if that's still the case. In this regard, maybe OCURA is adopting the role of design committee, and rightly so. Bricktown is past the stage of anchor searching and enjoying a level of success, so it's about time we be more demanding of the developments that are proposed. Even a city fighting to revitalize its downtown like Cleveland isn't afraid to negotiate design elements. If the developer isn't willing to play, then maybe that says something about their future stewardship of that property.

08-18-2005, 03:55 PM
What is the development that Hogan was proposing? I've never heard anything about it before.

08-18-2005, 05:36 PM
The housing and retail project is probably the building to occupy the empty pad site just northwest of Harkins Theater. It was reported that it would be three or four stories, with first floor retail and the upper floors filled with condos.

08-19-2005, 12:30 AM
DowntownGuy reports it as a five story building in his blog today...

08-19-2005, 07:58 AM
How about adopting some sort of formal standard, requiring a minimum percentage of brick on all facia?

Good night, most housing associations have these sorts of things, why can't OCURA be at least as sophisticated as them?

08-19-2005, 09:21 AM
It's probably about time they do that, Malibu. Even beyond bricktown. They should identify the defining characteristics of every area they deal in and try and set quantifiable guidelines for each. But I think it's just hard for them to shift out of the idea that any development is good development.

08-19-2005, 11:13 AM
It's true they seem to be happy with anyone that happens across their properties and submits a proposal.

Yet, in the one instance of real competition (The Hill) they paid for a consultant to do an evaluation but ended up ignoring his recommendation.

I used to think most were too hard on OCURA but having read the meeting minutes and following some of these stories, I now believe the opposite to be true.

08-19-2005, 01:45 PM
This is a little off topic, but I'd like to see the city fork over the money to brick all of the streets in Bricktown. Currently, only Oklahoma Avenue and Micky Mantle are bricked.

08-19-2005, 02:52 PM
I actually don't mind absence of brick in Lower Bricktown. It's almost to the point where bricking places South of Reno looks contrived. But I do mind the lack of originality and creativity. Unforatuntely, it's hard to quantify that. If Hogan wants to build a modern looking mixed use complex there, I'm fine with it (though I have no real idea of what the proposal looks like, so I can't really judge it). When it comes down to it Harkins, Bass Pro, and Toby's wouldn't have been fixed with brick. They'd just look like hokey tilt ups with brick instead of just hokey tilt ups. :)

But I do think there must be a brick quota in everything above Reno.

08-19-2005, 03:29 PM
This is a debate in the design world. Some argue that new buildings shouldn't be made to look like older ones, that its fake, sacrilege, inauthentic. I personally welcome older looks for new buildings, if done well. Look at some of the newer ones on the OU campus and you'll see a good flow between old and new using the same Cherokee Gothic design.

It's like the talk of New Urbanism. Is it new urbanism or new suburbanism, when you look at the incomes required to live in one of these communities, like the Kentlands, near DC? Older community design yes, but a vastly different neighborhood character.

08-19-2005, 03:53 PM
This is a debate in the design world.

And it's a valid one. It's a tough call. It's not really realistic to say you want the new buildings to look like old ones when they can't use the same building materials and methods in many cases. And new brick doesn't look like old brick. I think the Coutryard by the Ford Center is a good example. They put some brick on it, but did that really add any character or tie it into bricktown. Not really, imo.

I think preservation is very important and building in a preserved area needs to be done very respectfully, but I don't know if lower bricktown qualifies. I think if they did some cool cutting edge work down there, it would be a nice compliment to bricktown's old century feel. The real tradgey is that Harkins, Toby's, and Bass Pro were pretty much allowed to bring the worst of today's suburban designs into the bricktown area. Anyone being design concious down there is an improvement, whether it has brick or not.

I think the empty corner lot on the canal across from JDM PLace and the lot next to the parking structure need to be brick.

hmmm, maybe my vague and unquantifiable vision will earn me a spot on the OCURA :)

08-19-2005, 05:18 PM
OU has done a fantastic job (of late) of building structures that draw heavily from the much older architecture, but in a slightly updated way, like the newly opened additon to the business school (on the right with the very old Adams Hall on the left):

Most colleges face similar challenges and many have managed it well. In fact, I'm sure the school of architecture at OU would welcome the opportunity to help out.

Bricktown and that area is very much like a campus and could easily be handled in a similar way.

08-22-2005, 04:05 PM
When it comes to Bricktown, exactly how many bricks do you need?
by Brian Brus
The Journal Record

When Bricktown construction plans from two major developers were submitted to the Urban Renewal Authority for approval recently, architects were told they lacked some indefinable quality, something commissioners couldn't quite define in numbers.

The buildings needed more brick. But how much?
"At one point initially it would have been useful to have some standards in place to make it simpler for developers. But now it's kind of subjective," said Commissioner Jim Tolbert on Friday. "You don't want the project to look like it was built at the intersection of two interstates."

A 30-unit residential and retail project by developer Randy Hogan and the 150-room Residence Inn by John Q. Hammons received the authority's general approval last week, but not enough to proceed without revisions. An architect for Hammons asked the authority to quantify how much brick would be appropriate for the job, to which Tolbert replied, "As much as we can get."

Jim Lohmeyer of Lohmeyer-Russell architectural firm in Springfield, Mo., said the Hammons project has since been revised and is expected to be sent back to Oklahoma City for approval before the end of this week. Construction will begin shortly thereafter.

"We all pretty much understood what they're looking for, and I think we've addressed all that," Lohmeyer said. In addition to brick, revisions called for more windows and balconies.

Lohmeyer also was the architect for the Courtyard by Marriott, another Hammons project on Reno Avenue. He said some areas require finesse and familiarity, lacking clearer guidelines already put in place by local authorities.
"It's our starting point to analyze what's there now - the canal is a critical item in Bricktown, for example - and try to be careful that you reflect that without doing something drastically different."

Authority Executive Director JoeVan Bullard said of the diverse construction in the area, "if you look at a couple of the structures over there, it's hard to categorize. If you look at the (Harkins) theater, for example, or Bass Pro (Shops). There is no standard for certain percentages of exterior wall to be bricked."

The lack of matching facades to the south side of Reno Avenue actually helps affirm the historic aesthetic of the red Bricktown warehouses on the north side of the street, he said. New construction should be complementary, not a precise match.

Acme Brick has supplied much of the building material for the area, most of it shades of red, Oklahoma City Acme sales manager Rod Morgan said. Sonic's corporate headquarters is Tuscany, for example; the RedHawks stadium is Ranger Red. The majority of Bricktown brick is one of two standard recipes produced at the Tulsa plant: light Garnet and darker Crimson.

The Hogan project is on the south side of Reno Avenue just west of the Centennial Plaza fountain near the theater. The Hammons hotel will be built south of Reno between Bass Pro Shops and Sonic's headquarters building.
Tolbert said, "The Bricktown Urban Design Committee does a good job of maintaining the standards north of Reno, but they don't apply south of Reno. To the south, it's mostly up to Urban Renewal to maintain because it's mostly Urban Renewal Authority.

"I think it's too late for there to be any standards," he said.


With only two more pad sites available (next to Toby Keith's and at the southward canal turn next to the BP parking lot), perhaps Tolbert is right. But they and Hogan should make it easier on developers and just outright say, "We want it mostly brick" before the design phase commences.

Mr. Cynic says, "complement" is an excuse for saying "we forgot to think about design standards," whereas Mr. Pragmatic asks, "but does 'complement' have to mean 'crappy suburban?'"

To answer Mr. Pragmatic, I say no. I can see the reasoning behind wanting to differentiate historic from modern Bricktown. IMO, they could accomplish this "complementary" reasoning with the philosophy of majority brick facade, but designed in innovative ways that asserts individual character. The best example I have seen of meshing objectives is the new IHOP being constructed in Bricktown. Majority brick, with darker blue paint, but with the trademark pitched tower and some glass. Doesn't look like brick warehouse to me. It's no coincidence this IHOP has to comply with Bricktown Urban Design Committee standards.

It may be too late to devise and enforce new standards, but they could suggest developers follow BUDC standards to an extent new buildings can.

Still, :congrats: to Urban Renewal for requiring brick for LB. I'm anxious to see the new designs. And just because we've let some bad design across doesn't mean the other two sites have to be treated with the same allowance.

08-23-2005, 10:14 AM
It's not too late at all!

There is still a tremendous amount of property to be developed in the area... What does Joe Van Bullard do all day?

How about getting his rear in gear and drafting some design guidelines that can be implemented before the next wave of development?

These are not new issues... Cities and campuses have been dealing with these kinds of things for decades. Why are we starting from zero and only after a big chunk of development is already in place?

I swear, just when I think I'm too hard on OCURA they find new ways of disappointing me.

08-23-2005, 01:11 PM
"I think it's too late for there to be any standards," he said.

I don't agree with Tolbert's comment. We need to create standards now. We haven't gotten too far off the path. Most of the buildings in LB have some brick, with the exception of Toby Keith's. Let's create standards now and not allow more buildings like Keith's and Bass Pro to change the theme of "Brick"town.