View Full Version : Lower Bricktown update from Hogan

08-26-2005, 05:17 PM
I asked Hogan for an update on the retail/residential structure to be built west of the theater. Here is his response:

"I am a big fan of spring creek. On the site west of the theatre just went through schematic approval for a 5 story retail/ residential building with canal frontage. Retail is the target for the bottom 2 levels. The national retail tenants still have concerns re downtown markets our size. However our first retail tenant, firefly, is off to a great start-sales exceeding projections. This helps in our recruitment of other retail. Randy"

I suppose 5 stories is better than the one level buildings where Sonic and Earls are. But, taller would still be nicer.

08-26-2005, 06:54 PM
Cool ... Patrick, anything that gets retail where we need it is good. I know a lot of people/tourists have expressed a desire to have more shopping options.

Here are a few ideas that I would like to see in a retail environment in Bricktown: (Keep in mind I'm from California so this is what I know, but I would love to see some of this here in OK.)

Gourmet coffee shop/bookstore with reading section and fireplaces for ambience.

An upscale dessert shop with imported chocolates and specialty desserts (homemade fudge, caramel apples, even ice cream) might appeal to others.

A specialty cigar shop selling humidors with a smoking room (leather couches, music etc ) would be attractive to some.

Art gallery with local artist's work displayed.

A name brand outlet store/mall that carries discounted designer clothing and accessories (leather purses, wallets, luggage etc) - a great hit with most tourists.

A toy store where business travelers might buy last minute unique toys for the kids at home.

Oklahoma Winery - offering wine tasting, offering cheese and engraved glasses and souvenirs & local music offerings - cd's etc

Souvenir OK sports shops - similar to the Big Twelve at the airport.

Souvenir shops that might offer items that tourists will actually use while here in Bricktown - umbrellas for the scorching heat on the river ride, visors, sunscreen, water misters and personal fans for summer events.

Supervised Arcade to keep younger teens busy while parents shop (think Vegas).

Can you imagine what it could be??

I'm excited for the future of OKC - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will get some of the above....

08-28-2005, 02:52 AM
Im actually in the city right now with my girlfriend and the lack of shopping/retail options downtown has cast a great shadow of disappointment on the city. This is her first time to the South and OKC did very poorly on impressing her. :(

I myself truly hope that you all address the retail aspect of downtown (STOREFRONTS)!!! Like I said, when WE tourists come to OKC we want to be able to shop in downtown storefronts and restaurants, not closed up office towers.

08-28-2005, 08:30 AM
HotRod, take her shopping at Penn Square - head over to Lake Hefner for lunch and then onto North Mall and Quail Springs Mall for a movie, you're sure to drop some serious cash in those places ... they may not be downtown but OK does have some nice shopping and plenty of places to spend money. Until we get our retail, if she likes to shop and you want to make her happy, show her some of the nicer malls and maybe she'll think fondly of OK after she leaves.

08-28-2005, 09:35 AM
I'm afraid in our self-congratulations in how downtown has developed, we forget the fact that some things should be a given in a major city's downtown. MAPS, in some ways, was just a stopgap measure. But Bricktown does offer some women's retail, and of course, there is Bass Pro. Some excellent clothing stories are open during the weekdays.

I can only imagine the shock of coming to OKC from Seattle. When I visited a few years ago, I was astounded at the level of retail there. Nordstrom's, Bon Marche, Macy's, two malls (I believe), plus dozens of standalone stores like Niketown, Banana Republic, etc. Well, Seattle has it better than most American downtowns -- a great number of professional, wealthy residents live downtown. OKC isn't there yet. Hopefully, with the expansion of housing, downtown can boost its wealth numbers. Expansion is all it takes; the recent housing study shows that the education levels of downtown residents (not in jail or homeless, of course) are far above city and state norms. 43% have a postgraduate degree.

And I second Karried's recommendation of Penn Square. Try to stop by 50 Penn Place too, for some unique shops and Full Circle Bookstore, OKC's major independent.

08-28-2005, 11:59 AM
Hot Rod,

For actual storefront shopping in this part of the US is going to be very hard. Most large cities are not like the larger metropolitan cities of up north or the coasts. When I've been in those cities you can just walk down the streets and have tons of different storefronts with great shopping areas (I noticed this especially with Boston).

Down here however everything is spread out more and most shopping centers and malls are where you go shopping (unless you need groceries). There are two primary malls in OKC with a couple other smaller ones but the major ones are Penn Square closer to downtown (50 Penn Place is nearby also) and the other is Quail Springs in the north (Edmond/OKC border).

I would have to say if you want to go shopping in any midwest/southern city you will have to spend some time to find out where the shops are first due to the cultural and regional differences between the places.


I think one of the biggest problems for most areas in the southcentral US (and midwest generally) is that most people and places prefer to have space and not a smaller storefront on popular avenues. There are much less people that walk by and just stop in than in alot of other areas (coasts and northern cities) from what I've seen. I think until OKC/Tulsa have a much better mass transit system it will remain harder for people in storefronts along areas to stay in business due to the differences in how the cities are built along with the cultural and regional differences of the places.

However with the raising gas prices (even with us being near the lowest in the US) I believe mass transit may become a more viable option for OKC to look into doing. The problem is that with how spread out the metro areas are here there will be many longer trips on any type of transit vehicles which means you have to make more infrequent stops. Without a higher centralized population centers (more people per sq mile) it would be hard to justify much mass transit in OKC in my opinion. I do hope they will end up creating something that will help the mass transit which in turn could very much help the storefronts in the popular areas such as Bricktown / etc. However, this level of commitment would means perhaps millions of dollars for sidewalks (to walk to the mass transit centers) and much more to build the mass transit itself.

08-28-2005, 01:10 PM
Ohhh, mass transit such loaded topic altogether. I wonder what might be proposed when the Fixed Guideway study partly sponsored by the Chamber comes out. Hopefully, it won't come out with the stock conclusion - that OKC has too low a population density for it to work, and that our freeway system is supremely efficient to meet transportation needs.

In the meantime, downtown can do its best to become a regular destination in itself -- in effect, another mall. And it CAN be a neighborhood people of all stripes and incomes want to live in.

I agree that residents in this part of the country are brainwashed, er cultivated to driving to their activities and that pass-by traffic is practically nonexistent. But downtown is becoming increasingly pedestrian-friendly, with more lights, benches, art and some storefront retail. There are more reasons to just walk around. For decades, people haven't had the opportunity to enjoy a public space. With Bricktown, they're beginning to appreciate the value of people-watching outside of events and malls. When you walk around Bricktown Saturday nights, you see dozens of examples of people making nooks and crannies within the neighborhood their own -- getting soaked by fountains, sitting on benches, using plazas for group activities. These people are being cultivated to desire a real city. It will take years, if not decades, for people to enjoy these spaces and decide, "This is the way it should be.". But with more housing, they'll have the opportunity to enjoy it everyday. When that critical mass of residents approaches, I think the case for more retail will be there. Downtown OKC will then just have to go out and get it.

BTW, gbyte, welcome to the forum.

08-28-2005, 02:26 PM
thanks floater,

I believe there are currently some good areas that OKC could definitely use to try and hook in a mass transit system as if they do not start thinking about one now it will become more problems in the future. I think that a mass transit system and more storefronts will go hand-in-hand. If there's easier ways (especially for the party spots) it will make it more desirable for those that do not want to drive there which will increase pedestrian traffic :)

I agree that there are alot of people starting to be pedestrians in the bricktown area especially with the limited parking (I think some more parking structures needs to be in the mix also to try and help get more people to show up).

Personally I would like to see a transit system like that of Boston where you have certain major stations that are for both a train and bus. To me this would be ideally located basically outside current Bricktown probably a bit closer to downtown with spurs heading off to both locations.

To me the metro area is getting to the point where certain mass transit lines (maybe not 24 hr service quite yet) do make sense. For example, north OKC / Edmond -> downtown/bricktown. While there are lots of other areas that make great sense I think that until some of them reach a certain density it would be hard to convince the transit system to put a stop there.

Wherever they would put this they would increase the pedestrian traffic greatly bringing in great revenue and new opportunities for smaller businesses.

One other thing to note when comparing OKC to many of the other metro areas is how much younger it is than alot of these other cities that have been around for at least 100-200 years longer than the New England metropolitan areas.

I agree in time it will end up going to a similar type of city with tons of storefronts I just do not envision it being to much extent outside of a few areas any time soon :(

08-29-2005, 11:04 PM
Mass Transit, huh? Sounds nice, but I have a hard time believing Oklahomans will ever give up driving to work in their cars.

08-29-2005, 11:32 PM
Mass Transit, huh? Sounds nice, but I have a hard time believing Oklahomans will ever give up driving to work in their cars.

They will if gas prices continue to spiral out of control. People in OKC will realize that if they want to save a tremendous amount of money each year they will live near downtown or near mass transit and ride it to work, school, etc. Either that or they will start biking which would be great because you get exercise while traveling to work and you don't have to worry about parking, well unless the bike rack's full...

Any renderings available for Hogan's proposal? 5 stories seems alright to me with retail on the ground (canal?) level and 4 floors of residential apartments.

08-30-2005, 01:05 AM
We went to Quail and her mood improved significantly. We are currently staying downtown at the Sheraton Hotel and I think she has gotten used to the fact that southern big cities are a little bit different than the northern ones.

Believe me, we have been to cities that are way better than Seattle and I guess she was expecting OKC (with 1.3M) to be more like northern cities. I informed her that what OKC has to offer lies in the inner city with downtown as the centre. In Seattle, there is not much in our inner city - just residential with downtown having the shopping. Here, shopping lies around downtown (especially cultural).

Being Taiwanese, we went to the Asia District and we were quite impressed. We also went through Heritage Hills/Mesta Park and I took her through Nichols Hills - she was VERY IMPRESSED!!! And Very comparable to Seattle!!!

We will be here through Wednesday. I informed her that OKC can be a bit quiet when there is no convention or festival or concert downtown. But then too, I encouraged her to rest and relax here and enjoy this fine southern city.

Nonetheless, I think you all can learn from our constructive criticism of your city. Not even expecting OKC to be like Seattle or another large city - we notice issues that MUST be addressed.

I will detail them as well as our trip here (we actually drove here from Seattle!!! for a vacation by the way) as well as things we think you all can improve upon. I will start a new thread once I return home.

In the mean time, we will enjoy ourselves in your fine city (and my hometown).

08-30-2005, 08:30 AM
It's great to have you in town, Hot Rod. That is quite a drive for a vacation. Hope you guys are making the most of it.

I assume you've been through Bricktown, the arts district, and the Paseo. You might also want to check Lake Hefner and the trails there, on I-44 and Britton Rd. You'll see a lighthouse there (alas it is not a functional one). Enjoy the sunset at one of the restaurants.

Did you guys do Stockyards City? Now (Tuesday morning) is one of the best times to watch a cattle auction there. Plus you can check out Cattlemen's, Langstons, and other western wear shops.

Lincoln Blvd. south of the capitol is a nice drive. The OU Health Science Center has a nice park called the Stanton L. Young Walk (located on its namesake street). You have the new capitol dome, the nice homes of the Lincoln Terrace neighborhood (including Harn Homestead on the west side of Lincoln on 16th.) The Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park and Oklahoma School of Science and Math is also on the west side.

I'm not sure of when you were last in OKC, but Auto Alley (Broadway in north downtown) makes for a nice walk-through. You have Java Dave's on 10th (jsut east of Broadway), CD Warehouse, and the Individual Artists of Oklahoma gallery. The Untitled Artspace is in a building on NE 3rd just east of the railroad tracks. If you want to flex your muscles, you can get a single-day pass at the YMCA on 4th Street, just east of Broadway. It has a pool & sauna, fitness equipment, basketball courts, running track, and free weights, all in a cool industrial-looking building.

You can indoor climb at that silo just south of Harkins in Bricktown, or just watch a movie there.

Finally, there are some nice dining and retail options along North Western, as I'm sure you've heard (if not seen). Start on NW 36th with Bruno's Furniture and work your way up to Nichols Hills. Tour on this site:

These should give you more than enough to do for your remaining moments in OKC. Looking forward to your report. Have fun.

Dungeon Master
08-30-2005, 08:52 AM
All the mentioned ideas are great, BUT if the building owners don't get off their high horse and lower rental prices (and with the price of gas going up), it makes it very hard for any owner to start or branch off to bricktown. There shouldn't be any EMPTY buildings/spaces with the boom for bricktown but there is.
Remember, bricktown is seasonal and makes it hard for even the larger companies to justify being down there. OK, there is the Sonic headquarters - not much for the retail district. Plus Bass Pro - not much for the non-outdoorsman type. Bars - not much for the families with kids.
I'm not saying to give away the space, just make it more inviting for really good companies to see they can make a profit even with the slow winter season. Instead of the rent being so high, why not have a set percentage from sales. When business is slow it would give a break to the occupant. When business is high, both the building owner and occupant see the profits. Right now, if the building/space is empty, the building owner isn't making nothing and not benefitting bricktown.
Look at Crossroads mall. Lots of holes to fill.

08-30-2005, 09:18 AM
...BUT if the building owners don't get off their high horse and lower rental prices... There shouldn't be any EMPTY buildings/spaces with the boom for bricktown but there is.

You make some good points there. And when you consider how much the owners have directly benefited from public investment, it gets even more frustrating. No doubt that many of these owners are holding bricktown back.

09-01-2005, 11:50 AM
As many good things as I have to say about Jim Brewer, he's part of the problem here.