View Full Version : Bricktown getting old

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03-04-2006, 04:57 PM
After a long day of training and clinic today (Saturday) I decided to take a detour through Bricktown on the way home to relax after a long day at work. I do this quite frequently since OUHSC is so close to Bricktown. I must admit, each time I go I'm just getting more and more disappointed of Bricktown. Today, I stopped for an ice cream at Marble Slab. It was good, I'll admit. But, as I walked around I saw pretty much the same thing I've always seen along the canal. Tons of For Lease Signs, lots of empty spaces, etc. As I walked through Lower Bricktown, I was actually amazed to see as much brick on the buildings as I did, but again I looked around at the seas of parking surrounding the canal, and in my mine only wondered what it would look like with more density along the canal. What about a 20 story tower between Sonic and Residence Inn? How about nice 3 story retail buildings on either side of the water fall? How about a nice 4 story mix use building between the Sonic HQ's and the Sonic restaurant?
On walking around the theater, I didn't really feel like it was much different from walking by Tinsletown in East OKC.

I must admit, I'm really disappointed in what Bricktown has become. I really expected so much more.

03-04-2006, 05:37 PM
Good points Patrick. Maybe some of your feelings had to do with today was a dreary day and many people weren't out and about - they probably stayed home .. I think it always looks better filled with people milling about before a concert or a Hornet's game.. it's always exciting and fun with crowds ..

03-04-2006, 06:34 PM
On walking around the theater, I didn't really feel like it was much different from walking by Tinsletown in East OKC.

...except since you weren't near Tinseltown, you didn't have to don your kevlar vest. ;)

03-04-2006, 06:36 PM
Patrick, it seems like you're critical a lot these days. If you want Bricktown to be better, what are you going to do about it? Are you involved in the young professionals? Or the arts? Or OKC Beautiful?

03-04-2006, 07:35 PM
Well Patrick don't fear in a couple of years you can just come to Tulsa and see what the new Downtown Tulsa will be like I think you will like it alot.

03-04-2006, 08:52 PM
Patrick, it seems like you're critical a lot these days. If you want Bricktown to be better, what are you going to do about it? Are you involved in the young professionals? Or the arts? Or OKC Beautiful?

I've already done all I can do. I've complained to Randy. I've given Randy suggestions. I was extremely vocal over the Moshe Tal/Randy Hogan feud. Simply put, we lost.

I've put my share of time and effort in when I had the time back in my undergrad days. Felt like I was hitting my head against a wall. Everyone I know at city hall, with Mick being an exception, has deaf ears. I've talked to Jim Brewer and he's promised so much over the years, I've stopped believing anything that guy has to say.

Those of us backing Moshe Tal told the city what they'd get from Randy. And we were absolutely 100% correct.

I'm just sick of fighting the good ole boy network in this city. I don't think the fight is winnable. How much money did Moshe shell out and he still lost?

03-04-2006, 08:54 PM
Well Patrick don't fear in a couple of years you can just come to Tulsa and see what the new Downtown Tulsa will be like I think you will like it alot.

Tulsa is making even dumber decisions than building a smaller arena, and tearing down historic structures. Tulsa is just about 15-20 years behind OKC. That's the only difference.

03-04-2006, 08:56 PM
Are you involved in the young professionals? Or the arts? Or OKC Beautiful?

Concerning Young Professionals, it's been found out that that organization is nothing more than a country club.

The arts....beautiful? I do my fair share of volunteering in the community through my church, working in our inner city schools that so desparately need it.

Hopefully in the future when I become a doctor I can do even more monetarily.

03-04-2006, 09:37 PM
I agree with you Patrick. Hogan has turned Bricktown into just another ordinary development. There's nothing really special about it. Harkins is no different than any other movie theater. In fact, I think AMC is actually nicer. It isn't like Earls is the best BBQ in town. It's just another chain. Other than that, there's not much interesting going on down there. They need one of a kind restaurants.

03-04-2006, 10:30 PM
Would a 5-story canal-front building with 30 residential units and retail space spice things up for a while, maybe?

Wait we're already getting that. ;)

03-04-2006, 10:33 PM
Actually for me it wouldn't. I've seen that building. It's going to be all stucco, little brick. And I don't see why everyone is getting so excited over 30 units. Big freakin deal. Now 130 units would be something to get excited about.

03-04-2006, 11:05 PM
I'm hoping that the reason it's taking so long for them to break ground on that project and the reason it has not been talked about for a few months is that they're thinking about making it taller...

03-04-2006, 11:19 PM
That one really has me laughing. I've talked to Randy...we'll be lucky if we get the 5 story building.

03-05-2006, 12:24 PM
The main issue with Bricktown is basically it is the metro condensed into a smaller area. I can eat at most of the restuaraunts down there by driving 5 minutes from my house(I live in west Edmond btw). I can go to Quail Spings AMC within 5 minutes, and there is just not that much to do in general. This is even more true if you are under 21. Bricktown needs to be developed as an all-encompassing unique urban entertainment area, and that is just not happening. But I still have hopes for Bricktown, I think as all this major league publicity spreads around developers will have more faith in OKC.

03-05-2006, 01:55 PM
Patrick, it seems like you're critical a lot these days. If you want Bricktown to be better, what are you going to do about it? Are you involved in the young professionals? Or the arts? Or OKC Beautiful?

In defense of Patrick, I think he's done more for OKC with the advancement and promotion of this forum than most of us on it. I swear I'll see an idea, thought, or discussion here (and the Hornets and it turns up in newspapers. I am grateful for the existence of the AEP, but their age restriction does make it seem like an exclusive networking club (which is valuable) than an agenda-moving organization (which Tulsans do have).

I like the landscaping of the canal. It's a pleasure to walk through. But don't you want to be able to shop right on it? Or step right into a restaurant and join the other alfresco diners? Or step right into your hotel's doors (we'll see)?

The pad site approach doesn't cut it for an urban canal. What makes Bricktown so great is the continuous street wall that's so much more engaging for pedestrians. The canal along the California is one of the most photographed shots in the city, because you have that density.

Doug Loudenback
03-05-2006, 03:02 PM
Patrick, I understand what you are saying, but you're not old enough to understand what some of us who have been around a LONG time are seeing as a marvelous thing, generally, and I'm talking about "regular" and "lower" bricktown. I mean, how old were you when the Biltmore was imploded in 1977, signaling the end of "old" downtown as it once existed? The void in downtown that occured during the 70's, 80's, and 90's was powerfully numbing.

Personally, I remain thrilled at the developments that have occurred, are in the mix, and are yet to come. I don't have a model as to what would be "just right", and I don't want to have one. I'm just enjoying every minute of it.

Idealism is great, and it keeps thoughts and consciences active ... but ... as for me, every time I go to Bricktown, upper or lower, I enjoy it more. Balance is good.

03-05-2006, 03:59 PM
I can agree to the fact that what we have now is better than what Bricktown used to be. But all the same, there should be more reasons to go to Bricktown besides concerts, sporting events, conventions, and the clubs. There should be more attractions that would lead to Metro residents having a consistant reason to come to Bricktown, something they can not find in suburbia and something not based around special events.

Doug Loudenback
03-05-2006, 04:40 PM
I can agree to the fact that what we have now is better than what Bricktown used to be. But all the same, there should be more reasons to go to Bricktown besides concerts, sporting events, conventions, and the clubs. There should be more attractions that would lead to Metro residents having a consistant reason to come to Bricktown, something they can not find in suburbia and something not based around special events.
While my comment focused on Bricktown (formerly a nothing), in my senses as I wrote it was the WHOLE of downtown Oklahoma City in the dismal period. But, sure, everything can be made better and we should all try. None of us will be totally pleased with all facets of the total product, but that doesn't mean that we ought not appreciate to its fullest what marvelous things that have occured, and, I expect, will continue to occur in the months and years ahead... it's all going so fast ... and, personally, I'm a happy OKC camper, and I'm excited.

I ain't gonna let Patrick, or anyone else, take that excitement, pride, and expectation of things to come, away from me! :ohno:

03-05-2006, 06:48 PM

I wholeheartedly agree.

The only thing that'll save Bricktown is Hogan's early retirement or at least someone competent stepping into the picture. It's hard to believe that Humphries was willing to sign over the city's most valuable commodity to someone with no experience and an unrealistic master plan. If you start to look at how things unfolded and who received land there, it all makes sense.

Humprhies - Hogan
Bass Pro - Gaylord Entertainment
Ballpark -- Gaylord Entertainment

There was a better option, but you're right, the good 'ol boys did win out. I think what people will find is that it matters very little who the mayor/city council are. What matters are the nameless, faceless individuals who occupy seats on OCURA, the Airport Trust, the Fairgrounds Trust, etc. If you start to look there, then look at who has the traditionally received all of the juicy contracts and land deals, I think you'll start to see a correlation -- and they don't even try to hide it.

The press ignores the story because the people who own the press are the story. These people and their dealings appear in honest publications all the time (like the Gazette), yet no one who should be doing something (City Hall, the Attorney General) does anything. No one is going to challenge the fifth estate and the good 'ol boys network. To do so is political suicide.

Don't believe it? Look at Moshe Tal -- denied relief at every level, and when he does appear in the news, they try their best to make him look like a fool. It's hard to believe that anyone with a brain would deny that there are shady goings-on here, but it happens. People just don't care enough these days to read between the lines.

03-05-2006, 06:58 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself, Midtowner!

And yes, I do actually remember Bricktown before it was what it is today. I remember back in the 80's when it was only an idustrial area, a decaying one at that. Then Spaghetti Wharehouse moved in, and everyone laughed. Bricktown Brewery followed suit. Everyone still laughed.

So, I do know Bricktown today vs. Bricktown of yesterday is like night and day.

And one thing we have to consider as well is that back when Hogan was chosen to develop Lower Bricktown, we weren't expecting a whole lot, because there wasn't much down there. Back then Randy's master plan (he actually had one supposedly) looked good.

We had also just come out of the failure of the Pei plan and the oil bust, so I'm sure city leaders wanted to go with someone they felt they could trust, not necessarily with the plan that looked the best.

Still many had their questions about the way things were handled in the approval of Hogan. I think the most vocal opponents were Jack Cornett and the elderly lady that served the south side.....her name is absent from my mind right now.

03-05-2006, 06:59 PM
I have a good solution to the problem....expand the reaches of Bricktown to include Lower Bricktown....that way the Bricktown Association and Design Committee has to approve everything. You saw how strict they were with the Hampton Inn! That's what we need.

03-05-2006, 07:01 PM
How is the membership for that committee chosen? Do you know?

I'm thinking that they'd be subject to the same issues that OCURA, the Airport Trust, etc. are.

03-05-2006, 07:04 PM
They're actually selected by the Bricktown Association......Bricktown plays under its own rules. The group is made up of Bricktown property owners. Avis, owner of Nonnas, was one of the biggest players in the changes made to the proposed Hampton Inn.

03-06-2006, 09:48 AM
It doesn't help having a canal that goes absolutely nowhere. What's up with that?

03-06-2006, 12:53 PM
I think Immortal makes great points. The key to sustainability is uniqueness. The West End in Dallas is bricktown's future at this point. It was cool in the beginning because it had density and structures that weren't present in the rest of Dallas, but it filled itself with tenant that didn't add much to the city as a whole. So, now locals don't go there and now it's a pretty sterile place in what was once consider an interesting environment. Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville popped up to provide unique places to go and have much more interesting establishments. I'm hoping this model plays out in OKC as well with Mid-Town and Uptown growing.

I think some property owners, especially those on the canal, have a very inflated sense of importance and limited vision. They only want chains with deep pockets and bland food. It really upsets me when you see these people benefit from a big public risk not return the favor with taking some risk on the public that spent money to add immeasurable value to their property. it has been documented that some locals have wanted to open places in Bricktown, but the owners won't take any risk. I have no idea why they prefer to leave space vacant rather than let some new ideas come in. It seems those off the canal have been more open to new ideas and have provided us with more interesting establishments. Truth is, I hardly ever go to the canal. There's nothing new there.

However, I really do think this is a measure of potential. I think the frustrated people here see much more potential from bricktown and OKC than many of these developers. Yes, it is better. Yes, OKC has bettered itself 10 fold in as many years. But, it has to keep that momentum going and it is time to move past this "whatever we can get" attitude of the old timers and adopt some of the "let's make it really great" attitude of the newer people.

I think we'll see the real innovation and interesting additions to our city as its undervalued areas begin to develop. Bricktown has locked itself in an overvalued position, where it has to bring tenants with lots of capital and little imagination. Bricktown has begin to positioned itself outside of Phase II of the city renaissance, which usually happens much more organically with much more interesting results. They could change that, but the Hogan approach will have to abandoned.

03-06-2006, 03:20 PM
Here's an encoraging PM okcpulse sent me. I think he's right on the money.

I see you are becoming a bit discouraged, Patrick. It's okay, I've been in your place. You've done your fair share, but Patrick, you can't go at it alone. It takes a city. A few voices will raise eyebrows, but the buck stops there. Several thousand voices will move a herd, and that is the only way sweeping changes are made.

Ron Norick did it because he was in the right position. He was a mayor that used his powers the right way. But a shining star isn't common.

Councilors, organizations and even developers will all have their own agenda. Randy hogan is not a shining star, nor a politician. He is a business owner, and his only agenda is money.

Don't let the powers that be dicourage you. Oklahoma City doesn't belong to them. It belongs to you. Lower Bricktown will not always be Randy's property. Someone with more vision and influence in the right place will come along. I promise.

It will happen as suddenly as the Hornets did to our city. Randy's mistakes will either be enhanced or demolished. The OCURA will be asked for answrs they don't have, and their positions be extinguished.

Everything gets old before it booms. You will always have ups and downs. Just get through the downs, because there days in OKC are numbered.

I joined OKCTalk because it can be used as an engine for change in Oklahoma City. That, is actually, the purpose of a forum. To discuss, digest, brainstorm, colaborate and put into action. But someone has to lead the charge. Not everyone will get on board. You have to pick and choose the ones with the right energy, the same passion and the same goals for our city. That is how you build an army.

03-06-2006, 03:55 PM
Thank you, okcpulse, for sending that to Patrick. He needed it. I have noticed a lot of discouragement from Patrick and understand it, but we must remember that the good ole boy network is leadership is on the horizon. I also think we need to keep things in perspective as far as what's happened in the whole of downtown. Doug is right, the progress is unbelievable. Things aren't perfect. Things aren't exactly as we want it. Right now. Keep your head up, Patrick!

03-06-2006, 04:31 PM
Wow. Depressing thread. I must say, Patrick, that overall I disagree with you. I've been spending a lot of time downtown/Bricktown taking pictures and even though I am disappointed with Lower Bricktown, I don't feel that Bricktown is getting old. You should have seen all the people down there on Sunday afternoon. Photographers taking pictures of the land run monument. Couples taking walks on the canal. Families taking carriage rides.

I, like okcpulse, am optimistic that empty spaces on the canal will be filled and surface parking will be replaced with buildings and parking garages.

Bricktown--even Lower Bricktown--is not as boring and suburban as some on this board like to say. Spaghetti Warehouse, Mickey Mantle's, The Mantel, Nonna's, Makers, Bricktown Brewery, Firefly, Harkins, Toby Keith's, The Biting Sow, Da Boat, Daddy Hinkles, Bourbon Street, and Tapwerks are all unique to Bricktown and most are local. It's not like all we have down there is Olive Garden and Red Lobster. It's not as overrun by chains as you guys are always saying. And the landscaping throughout Bricktown is maturing and looks really good. Although I am disappointed there is little canal level shopping/dining in LB, the landscaping on the canal and the fountain and the bridges look really nice.

Urban Pioneer
03-06-2006, 09:41 PM
The problem with "lower" Bricktown is that it is planned like a suburban development. There is copy of the master plan in my studio. It is completely designed with cars and mostly low - medium rise buildings in mind. You have to understand that districts that you people have written about in other cities- that they love are "naturally" created and are "mom and pop" oriented. You cannot lay down the law one day and say "This is going to be a diverse, eclectic environment." and have it become one over night.

No, the real problem is that property values and rental rates or so high that very few people can afford them. The development that you do see is expensive and separated. Businesses are spread apart and seas of parking divided them.

We have basically created a modern pedestrian mall that happens to have a canal instead of a street entirely surrounded with wasteful surface parking instead of efficient parking garages connected by Public Transportation.

THE GOOD NEWS IS- People reference how they like the West End. The West End "has" evolved into a exciting urban environment. Or rather, the area AROUND the West End and along the DART line has grown in the exciting fashion that we all want. Bricktown's greatest achievement is that it is wetting the appetite for "REAL" spontaneous and eclectic development. I warrant that when I-40 is relocated and Walnut is re-opened, you will see the urban ciaos and excitement that people want.

However, when Urban Renewal chooses a developer (whether that is Moshe or not), that developer cannot create the natural environment that individual entrepreneurship can.

REGARDING BRICKTOWN URBAN DESIGN- The commission members are appointed by the mayor. They have no plans to enlarge their district to encompass "Lower Bricktown" as the design features, layout, and aesthetics are controlled by Urban Renewal and they have so far felt out of their jurisdiction. That could change with the I-40 relocation.

However, there is talk of a new Urban Design District that encompasses most of downtown.

Urban Pioneer
03-06-2006, 10:00 PM
V-A. On February 14, the City Council confirmed the Mayor’s reappointments of Committee members Pitman, Wilson, and Yoeckel, for two-year terms ending July 1, 2006.

It looks like we missed our chance.

03-06-2006, 10:02 PM
You're right about Bricktown Urban Design...sorry for the mistake....most of the members on it are Bricktown property owners though.

03-07-2006, 08:20 AM
I think Patrick is experiencing one of the common lows that come upon true civic boosters (and I put everyone on this thread in this category) due to unrealized dreams and general frustration.

I would bet everyone here feels the same way from time to time, especially when you become emotionally invested in a particular issue or development and it fails to meet your personal vision.

My particular issue has to do with unchecked urban sprawl at the direct expense of older, prettier neighborhoods. But that's for another thread. :)

Then I remember how far OKC has come in the last 10 years and try not to be so fatalistic in realizing (as okcpulse wisely pointed out) that people like Randy Hogan will fade away and be replaced by more McDermids and the like, especially as critical mass is established and areas start to get the attention of developers and investors outside the area and the local 'network'.

This is already starting to happen and I call it Phase II of the renaissance... The Skirvin and the Colcord are fantastic examples and their success will pave the way for (hopefully) many others. There are some great things happening in the Arts District, Automobile Alley and the Triangle that quickly come to mind.

We're all dreamers and that's very much needed but sometimes you have to ground yourself by taking stock in how far we've come and not getting too discouraged you've done all you can do and things still go wrong (like Lower BT).

Patrick, Doug makes some very good points about a longer-term perspective. Sure, you may remember the days when the first businesses moved in east of the train tracks, but you didn't live for decades in OKC where downtown was being systematically destroyed and was a very depressing place to be. Or go a good 20 years without *any* new civic development, disappointing or otherwise.

But for every frustrating project, there's a great one and IMO we're already starting to see more of the latter and less of the former.

03-07-2006, 12:10 PM
You guys are right. At least we are getting establishments like Bass Pro and Harkins which actually have an interest in downtown. Several years ago retailers wouldn't have even considered Bricktown.

Bricktown will continue to grow. I only hope it doesn't go the way of Dallas' West End.

03-09-2006, 01:38 PM
Here are some new things going on.

I will say, like Patrick, I would like to see the vacant spaces and parking lots taken up by retail and other establishments.

Many of you may disagree, but I would like to see a casino erected. I know most of the money would benefit the tribes and not OKC, but a casino would be something to bring people downtown and it would be unique. ( did a story on this)

I'm originally from OKC, but I've been away for a while. I come back every year or so and I am impressed with the new additions everytime I return, however, I still get annoyed at seeing the open land and parking lots near the canal.

I am excited about the prospects of "Riverside" though. Anyways, if any of you are downtown and happen to have a camera can you snap a couple shots of OKC and Mustang (my hometown)? My address is I still have a few more months left in Iraq and I'm terribly homesick. OKC is a very nice place and it's only going to get better. I just wish the pace would pick up.


03-09-2006, 02:50 PM
Many of you may disagree, but I would like to see a casino erected. I know most of the money would benefit the tribes and not OKC, but a casino would be something to bring people downtown and it would be unique. ( did a story on this)

But would it really be unique? What is so unique about a casino? It's not unique to Oklahoma and it's not unique to large cities. It would only be considered small time because we don't have full-scale gambling in this state. Just my opinion.

03-09-2006, 02:59 PM
I personally feel that if the metro area could somehow get some sort of a mass-transit system started but still allow it to be scaled out for when more population comes to the metro area.

I know that cities like Boston often have tons of the walk-in style of places (stores/eateries/etc.) because most of the travel is from mass-transit. Until something of this nature can happen to the metro area I find it much harder to try and convince people to stop driving in but I think having some parking structures erected and then get some buildings that more support the walk-in type of business would be good.

To me the biggest thing Bricktown does need is more "walk-in" style of business and a much bigger variety such as stores, museums/galleries, and smaller eateries. The only problem with most of these places is that if they are not run by a large company the "risk" associated with letting these people in the buildings is much higher and most of the building owners seem to want to find very low risk businesses to fit into the available spaces.

I believe that eventually Bricktown could become more of an area like that but there would need to be a large change in how people come into the area in order to change how the businesses are situated and used.

03-09-2006, 07:28 PM
The biggest problem we have right now is folks like Jim Brewer charging an arm and a leg for rent. I still don't understand why these guys would rather their properties sit vacant than lower their leasing prices.

03-10-2006, 09:05 AM
I've lived in Bricktown for the last 3 1/2 years. Look out my back door and I can see the movie theatre, Nona's, the ballpark, ect. I don't feel like Bricktown is getting stale at all. There are always people downtown, and every few months something new opens up. Im excited about simply fondue opening next month. As far as price of rental/leasing space getting cheaper, that isnt about to happen, espicially with the possibility of the Hornets staying long term. I've been to many cities in the south, such as Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, N.O., Dallas, and I have to say that Bricktown is one of the safest, cleanest, and cheapest entertainment districts I've been to. Is there room for improvment? Sure, but we do have a very nice, fun place to go out and enjoy a date, a evening at the ballpark, or a night at the bars/clubs with friends.

03-10-2006, 03:32 PM
I still don't understand why these guys would rather their properties sit vacant than lower their leasing prices.

100% agree, especially when they had so much public money invested in the area to give their propeties that value. We put that money in so that the city could have some downtown entertainment options, not just to increase a few guys' net worth.

03-14-2006, 12:50 PM
I agree 100% BDP. Numerous buildings have set vacant and probably still will sit vacant for years because of the high rent. WHile some are paying those prices it is still unrealistic for the majority of businesses. Lowering the rent would only improve the quality of life in downtown OKC and expand the options in Bricktown on so many levels. In fact, it would help fill the vacancies and drive demand for more construction thus creating a greater demand to be in Bricktown. It's the chicken vs. the egg dilemma and apparently the developers think the chicken came first and will pay. History should tell them otherwise.

03-14-2006, 02:29 PM
Revisiting some of the things I've said in the past about what would be good to help grow the ENTERTAINMENT district of Oklahoma City.

1. Casino - yes this would be nice to have down there. I would like to see something modeled after Casino Windsor in Windsor, ON. It is a beautiful facility but simple. You have two floors of your gaming areas and then several nice restaurants, and then a good hotel all in one. It isn't a massive facility, but I think something put together right would definitely be a destination for downtown - especially when combined with the other venues.

To those that say just another casino, that is where it must be developed differently. OKC residents currently venture to LuckyStar, Goldsby, Thunderbird, Remington Park, etc. It must be a facility that is superior to those in both experience and gaming options (given the state restrictions). However, on the flip side - we have Riverwind near Norman opening up this year that will bring a casino to the level of Winstar to the metro area. So all options will need to be weighed, but I would hotel - no casino. It has to be a packaged resort - along the river.

2. Open air shopping - I would like to see a selection of stores similar to what Grapevine Mills down across the border has. Yes it is all, or mostly all, outlet stores - but the options would target such a vast group of people that it wouldn't matter. You also get in several of the theme restaurants to go along as well.

3. Water park resort - This would be perfect for the next hotel to be built. Yes there are those that low White Water Bay, but what better than a water park that is open year round in a nice climate controlled environment? This would be pefect for lower Bricktown and would be another destination spot to draw people in. Some links for those wondering what I'm talking about:

4. GameWorks or Dave and Busters - A large scale gaming facility would be another huge draw, but more so another option for those already there.

If all of these options were done, we would be seeing a city center that would make people jealous. We also need to keep in the backs of our minds, the Hornets are only here for another year and then it is all questionable on which team we get (and when) after that. If we can get some of these venues rolling out and in the planning stages now, we will be able to market it to the nation thanks to the exposure of the Hornets. Even if the venues aren't opened at the end of the Hornets game here, people can see what all is coming to OKC and really get interested about it. Not to mention how the city would be even more attractive to the NBA and its players.

03-14-2006, 08:23 PM

I think you mean Gainesville's Factory Outlet Mall on I-35? Grapevine Mills is an enclosed mall near DFW in Grapevine.

I like the open air shopping, but I have long envisioned a boardwalk with dining, retail and entertainment along the Oklahoma River. I have often used Houston's (actually Clear Lake's) Kemah Boardwalk ( an example. The boardwalk idea just fits with Lower Bricktown to the River. I'm talking complete with a huge boardwalk carousel that would make quite an impression on the eastern edge of the OKC skyline. Here's a pic of a portion of Kemah Boardwalk....imagine OUR boardwalk with brick and clapboard!

03-14-2006, 11:12 PM
Gameworks was already mentioned for Bricktown. They pulled out of the deal, as the company isn't doing very well.

Gainesville's Outlet mall isn't doing well either. Not sure if you've been there lately, but it's actually pretty empty. Outlet malls have a short lifespan.

I personally wouldn't want to see an outlet mall in Bricktown, or a typical run of the mill casino. We need unique attractions.

Go to downtown in any small town, and you'll see small, one of a kind shops. That's what people love, and that's what attracts people downtown. We're really lacking that in OKC.

03-15-2006, 02:05 AM
If I meant Gainsville, I would have said such. I'm talking about he store selection in Grapevine just in an open air format. Also, regarding the casino - hence why I stated resort...not the typical Okie casino (or pathetic excuse for one) that we have around the state.

I think going after the small specialty shops is good and all, but it is not going to help build OKC into a destination...which is what this is about. Yes the attractions I listed would help improve the area for locals as well, but the point is getting dollars from people outside of the general area to grow the economy - not just recycle the same money. As far as Gameworks, I also listed Dave and Busters as an equal target in case you missed that part.

As for the boardwalk idea, I like that...and it would definitely help with the area. I think one of the main obsticles going forward is getting the immediate area around the river cleaned up. Lets be honest, south of the river is not place most people go for a walk or to have a bite to eat. You are usually driving without stopping until you are out of there.

03-15-2006, 02:23 AM
"If I meant Gainesville, I would have said such. I'm talking about the store selection in Grapevine just in an open air format."

Sorry, Venture....I thought maybe you meant Gainesville because you said they were mostly outlet stores and it was, "down across the border." I didn't mean to question your competence, I thought it could have just been a typo. Sorry about that.

03-15-2006, 10:58 AM
Stores from either outlet center mentioned would be a draw to Bricktown and the River.

03-18-2006, 03:52 PM
Here's a cure for the bored, dull blues down in Bricktown......................................... ......................................a Native American casino.

03-18-2006, 05:01 PM
However, on the flip side - we have Riverwind near Norman opening up this year that will bring a casino to the level of Winstar to the metro area. So all options will need to be weighed, but I would hotel - no casino. It has to be a packaged resort - along the river.

Don't forget about the Fire Lake Grand Casino going up on I-40 between Shawnee and OKC. It's supposed to have the nicest hotel in the state.

03-18-2006, 05:17 PM
Here's a cure for the bored, dull blues down in Bricktown......................................... ......................................a Native American casino.

Personally, I'd prefer a non-native casino such as Harrah's.

I'd also want it somewhat removed from the rest of Bricktown, maybe have a casino on the river accessible by foot or canal ride.

03-18-2006, 05:21 PM
Why not natives? You got something against them? All they have done is develop the casino industry, by themselves with no help and matter of fact much interference from the state, and have shown themselves to be capable of running an operation better than any other industry in this state in the last ten years. That's exactly the type of leadership you want in a business.

Do you want the guys who run Remington Park to be in charge? They are a joke.

03-18-2006, 05:47 PM
OKCNDN, don't get me wrong, but I think the way that the state has allowed the gambling business to develop is a joke. Anyone would succeed in a world absent any real competition. For the most part, N.A. gaming facilities look very cheap, ARE very cheap, and have substandard amenities. Harrah's comes to mind because every single Harrah's I've seen has appeared to be a high-quality operation with a lot of money invested in it. If OKC allowed competitive bids from non-tribes AND tribes for a riverfront casino (or even a riverfront casino district), I guarantee you that we'd end up with much more appealing facilities as long as the bidding process were kept honest (yes, maybe I'm living in fantasy land there).

I'm also concerned with the legal aspects of how trust-lands can be managed once they're placed into trusts -- which unless I'm mistaken is exactly how a N.A. Casino would be able to operate inside OKC. I'm not well-read or studied on it (yet), but from what I know thus far, I just don't like it (we can go into detail if you really, really, really want to). If I get the chance, I plan to take a course on Native American Law. It's a very interesting subject really.

03-18-2006, 07:02 PM
"Anyone would succeed in a world absent any real competition"

But would they succeed without any market, which did not exist prior to NA's developing them?

All these casino's started out as bingo halls and would you build a $50,000,000 bingo hall? Now that the casino industry is somewhat developed most tribes are getting better buildings. In the meantime the tribes put the casino's where they could and, you are right, many were in cheap buildings.

The state did not allow the gaming industry to develop at all. The state threw up road blocks at every corner they could but eventually they gave in to ALL the tribes gaming proposals. Matter of fact, the state has not had ONE single decision that they have stuck by. The state has caved on every proposal of the tribe's so far. When the tribe's propose full class III gaming there is no doubt in my mind the state will cave into the tribes.

03-18-2006, 07:12 PM
You're suggesting that NA's have developed the market for gambling? Your reasoning assumes that people would not have gambled prior to the existance of tribal casinos. I don't think that's even a defensible point.

The state will definitely cave into tribes. Tribes have become very smart as far as state politics are concerned. They're spending the lobbying bucks with the best of them now. They also have 'their guy' in the Governor's seat. I attended Henry's watch party (as a member of the media) and can personally attest to the fact that the tribes were very well represented.

03-18-2006, 07:35 PM
Personally, i'm with midtowner here. There is a different level of benefits that will come with a facility operated by Harrah's/Caesars or MGM Mirage. The main thing here is the state MUST allow full Class III gaming, enough with the bingo manipulated slots. Also Harrah's or MGM are going to do a resort if given the ability. Personally I would love to see a Harrah's resort as they are more focused on a "fun" or "carnival" type of entertainment versus a more "Vegas" style you would get from MGM. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't object to MGM either, but either way it would be a win for the state. You would get much larger perks that would also open the doors for perks to Casinos outside of Oklahoma. I'm sure the tribes would put up a stink for an outside company to come in and do it, but I say let the free market rule. Michigan didn't have a problem legalizing public companies from coming in and running casinos in Detroit, in addition to the tribal resorts in the state.

I don't think this is anything against the native american tribes themselves, it just that their level of gaming and entertainment is far lower than the Vegas-based companies.

03-18-2006, 07:48 PM
To add to venture79's post: It should be said that if the tribes had someone to compete with, the level of fun would be increased for everyone. Competition makes everyone better.

03-18-2006, 07:53 PM
I'm going to come in WAY on the opposite side of this. I don't want a casino within 100 miles of Bricktown.

Bricktown, as it stands today, is a family-friendly environment. Casinos + family just don't mix; Vegas tried it and it failed. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I don't want Vegas-style entertainment of any sort (be it NA owned or conventional) in Bricktown. I'd go so far as to say such establishments would change the very character of the area, and effectively end what has been built. That would be a shame.

I hate the blight of Casinos anywhere in our wonderful state. We're already getting negative publicity due to a report that Winstar backed out on a big slot machine payout; regardless of whether its true, the idea that Oklahoma has shady casinos is out there, and its the kind of publicity the tourism people don't want and Oklahoma doesn't need.



03-18-2006, 07:59 PM
I'd say that it can bring convention traffic and tourist traffic to the downtown area and thus, would be a good thing. I agree with Bricktown-proper being casino-free for the same reasons, although "family friendly"? I find that debatable.

I'd like to see a casino district somewhere on the riverfront with a seperate parking area. I'd like to see it accessible via trolley, canal, or pedestrian traffic from Bricktown.

The Winstar incedent is exactly why we need to let more professional operations come in and manage. I'm not trusting of tribal gaming because I'm not trusting of any government granted monopoly.

03-20-2006, 09:09 AM
I've always thought casinos on the river might be nice. Give you a St. Louis feel, with Riverboat Casinos and the like.

04-07-2006, 09:48 PM
You know, I haven't browsed this thread in a while, and having read essentially every message here, there are a few interesting observations that come along:

* It's been suggested that Bricktown needs something to make it a draw other than movies, sporting events, and special events. I think that overlooks an important point: Most such cities with "urban centers" either already have a core central population, or the distance between the "outskirts" of that population base and the center is fairly short. Downtown OKC doesn't have either quality. As a result, you inevitbaly must provide either a) marquee events unique to downtown that make it an attraction unto itself, or b) provide "mundane" things in a way superior to those "five minutes away" from most suburban areas.

The Harkins is a very nice theater, and it is MORE than superior to anything in my vicinity. That makes it easy to justify the trip downtown. It would have even been better had Hogan not broken his promise to give us an IMAX.

If we don't want to rely on special events, then that means we have to get high-profile, recurring retail centers in Bricktown, and that's not getting done. A mall project I heard some time ago would have been glorious, but I also fear it would have failed due to (here's that horrible word again) parking. I wouldn't even want to think of navigating around Bricktown with a mall around Thanksgiving.

* Moshe Tal is perceived as having gotten the raw end of the deal on Bricktown development. I don't know enough to say whether that's true. However, I do remember that there were more than a few people who had legitimate questions about the nature of his financiers that he seemed unwilling (or, at best, reluctant) to answer. In that vein, it seems Tal has no one to blame but himself. We would have found ourselves in even a more lamentable position had Tal been handed the keys to the kingdom and then been unable to deliver *anything*.

* There's a sense that there's a proliferation of big-time chain restaurants in BT, and someone (as an example) named Earl's BBQ among them. Unless I'm mistaken, Earl's is locally owned and operated. Isn't that precisely the kind of establishment we want in Bricktown?

* There's a whole potential for development no one seems to be talking about in what I would (probably wrongly) call "East Bricktown," or perhaps the "East End." There are still older buildings here that capture the spirit of what Bricktown means architecturally, but also what looks to be some areas with development potential. Wouldn't it be cool to capture retail development in a double-decked "horseshoe" around the east end of Bricktown, passing over Sheridan, complete with a walking plaza and even a footbridge back to Bass Pro? but I digress...

* There seems to be a perception that Bricktown is a failure, and I just don't agree with that. When I was growing up, downtown OKC was a desolate place after 5pm, a ghost town on the weekends, and no place for anyone east of the tracks. That's not true anymore. I remember hearing my mom lament the destruction of the classic buildings during the 70's, and how the Myriad Gardens retail mall within the Gardens failed to materialize, but now we've got a pro-caliber sports arena, eating destinations, and least some (if admittedly not enough) shopping. While there's no doubt we could do better in areas, and Hogan will never be hailed as a development genius, we could have done decidedly worse.

What's great to me is that my kids now view Downtown as a fun place to go for a special night at the movies, or a ballgame, and that's something I never had growing up. I think that's nothing less than wonderful.

Sometimes, I think we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and compare what we have to what we had ten, twenty, or more years ago, and all the true failures that have befallen downtown, like the Century Center, the Pei Plan, and the Myriad Galleria shopping center. Surely Bricktown - while imperfect - cannot be counted among them.


04-07-2006, 10:30 PM
Tonight some friends and I drove into "The City" from Shawnee to go to Abuelo's in Bricktown and as we were going into the Harkins lot my friend (from Kansas City!) said she couldn't believe they were building the Residence Inn in that location. I asked why considering it's canal frontage and she said that she felt that we needed it for parking. So I went off on the midwestern "I have to park ten feet from my destination" mindset, which I didn't expect her to have. There's NO parking in the middle of The Plaza!

Later she asked if there was a sports store where she could buy her dad some Cleveland stuff. I told her not in Bricktown but definitely at the mall. Then she said she thought Bricktown was a mall.

So there's the two big issues--parking and retail--from an outsider's point of view. She does have experience with Bricktown because she's been at school with me in Shawnee for four years and seen the addition of Bass Pro, the Harkins, and other things.