View Full Version : Bricktown development options

07-11-2004, 10:51 PM
I've included this article from today's Oklahoman. I will access it in a reply below.

"Developers compete for Bricktown location

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

A ballpark parking lot once on the fringe of Bricktown is a new hot spot in the downtown entertainment district, with three developers pitching ideas to Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma RedHawks.
John Q. Hammons owns land on the south side of Reno Avenue, between Bass Pro Shops and the Sonic headquarters, where he plans to build a 235-room, 10-story Embassy Suites and conference center.

Construction of the $35 million hotel is to begin next year with an expectation by Hammons that he can build a garage on the city-owned ballpark lot across the street.

"For his concept of a 235-room Embassy Suites with convention space, the area does not accommodate that and parking," City Manager Jim Couch said. "It will accommodate a smaller hotel, which was what was being proposed (as part of an earlier development plan) with the Holiday Inn."

Mixed use proposed
Hammons has at least two competitors for the parking lot, which is under control of the Oklahoma RedHawks as part of their long-term lease of the SBC Bricktown Ballpark.

"One is a developer in Dallas talking about doing a mixed use of housing, parking and retail," Couch said. "The RedHawks also are entertaining a Chicago developer on a similar concept."

If the RedHawks choose a development that does not allow for Hammons' garage, he might have to change his plans, Couch said.

Couch said Bricktown has been eyed by numerous developers whose ideas never became reality. Failed dreams include a Planet Hollywood, Dick Clark's American Bandstand Cafe, IMAX theater and a Sega Gameworks.

The area east of the ballpark, however, is changing.

When the parking lot was built five years ago, it was on the eastern edge of Bricktown, with industrial properties to the east and the ballpark to the west. The site is near the Coca-Cola Bricktown Event Center, Bass Pro Shops, Sonic and a 16-screen theater and handful of restaurants scheduled to open by October.

Couch said the RedHawks will have first say over what happens with the lot, though any plan will need approval by the Oklahoma City Council.

Hammons could not be reached for comment.

Development ideas studied
RedHawks owner Scott Pruitt confirmed a study is under way on how to best develop the parking lot. He said he has yet to hear a proposal from Hammons, though the hotel developer has publicly discussed his plans to build a parking garage on the lot.

Pruitt, who along with Bob Funk bought the baseball team this year, said he's quickly realizing they've also bought into development of the district itself.

"I can't say we fully grasped the implications of having the ability to add value to the area," Pruitt said. "There is nothing definite yet, but we are in the exploration phase."

Pruitt said development could include the 7-acre suite holders lot and a 3-acre lot adjacent to the ballpark. One concept, he said, could involve condos or apartments overlooking the ballpark.

"We're very excited," Pruitt said. "Parking will always be a part of the area. But the intent and hope is it may also someday be residential and retail as well."

07-11-2004, 11:09 PM
There are some noteworthy things to discuss about this article.

This article just goes to show the increased interest in Bricktown. More and more developers are looking at the area. This is awesome news.

In my opinion, I think Hammons could still build the same size of hotel, but rework the parking situation. Since the proposals for housing, retail, etc. are on the table for the empty parking lot, let's go with those. More housing and retail beats a parking garage any day.

But, you might say, well.....that would mean Hammons would have to reduce the size of his hotel. That's not true. Why doesn't he just build his garage at anoter location??? His hotel is being built between Sonic and the Bass Pro Shop. There is currently a surface parking lot in front of Bass Pro Shop which is owned by the city, and the city retained rights to build aparking garage in place of the surface lot at a later date. The city could allow Hammons to build his garage on part of the Bass Pro lot, which would be jsut as close to his hotel as the property across Reno.

The property across Reno could be filled the other development.

I think the idea of condos or apartments overlooking the ballpark sounds exciting. That would give the ballpark a Wrigley Field-type feel!!!!

But, I suppose you can look at this from another perspective, They're already looking at coverting the old Stewart and Company buildings into apartments. That would be really close by, and parking would be needed for that development. So a parking garage might not hurt. Plus, with gravel lots on the canal being replaced with development, the Redhawks ae a little low on parking spaces. At least this would replace a surface lot with a parking garage. In my opinion, all parking in Bricktown should be high rise. I don't think surface lots belong in downtown.

One thing you can say...Hammons has a proven track record and you could count on him getting the job done. Also, having that 7 1/2 acres as a parking garage would allow more to be developed on the canal, and less parking actually on the canal itself. In my opinion the canal should be solid development, and parking should be outside of the canal zone.

One thing to consider is we already have housing/apartment developments going in north of Abuelos ("The Factory"), east of Deep Deuce (Deep Deuce II), and possibly in the old Steward and Co. buildings. I agree we need housing downtown, but we don't want to go overboard. Afterall, it's still an entertainment district.

What do you guys think? I can side either way with this.

07-11-2004, 11:40 PM
Here's an email I sent to Steve Lackmeyer at the Oklahoman. It pretty much expresses my opinion at the moment.

"Hi Steve Lackmeyer,

I saw your article on Bricktown development in the Sunday Oklahoman. It was the article regarding the Redhawks Parking lot.

I just wanted to comment on it, and maybe if you agree, you can address this to the appropriate parties. This really doesn't concern taking sides with anyone, so as a journalist, you wouldn't have to worry about that. This idea would benefit all parties and all of OKC.

I think it's pretty obvious that any residential and retail developments we can attract to Bricktown would be good for the area.......definitely better than more parking....argh!
But at the same time, I think it would be a mistake not to allow Hammons to build his complete hotel/convention space concept. His plan for the Embassy Suites sounds first class.

I know Hammons needs the parking for his development to work though.

I was thinking about something. Why couldn't both concepts work?

Allow one of the two other developers to build residential and retail developments on the Redhawks lot. And allow Hammons to build his hotel as planned on the canal....with all 10 floors and convention space

In the city's contract with Bass Pro, it retained the right to convert part of the Bass Pro surface lot into a high rise parking garage at a later date if necessary. Since Hammon's hotel will be between the Bass Pro Shop and the Sonic Building, why not have Hammon's build his parking garage on the Bass Pro lot, and free up the Redhawks lot for residential and retail development? That would allow both developments to occur, and we'd get the best use out of that land.....and by all means, we'd finally get rid of that ugly sprawling surface lot (or at least part of it) in front of Bass Pro Shop.

You might mention this to the Redhawks, Hammons, and Jim Couch.

I think things that make sense usually don't work (for some stupid reason), but it seems like the best solution to me.

- Patrick"

07-12-2004, 10:23 AM
I am happy to see that the huge lot fronting the Coca-Cola Events Center is open for development. It will truly give Bricktown a more dense, urban feel. Since I-40 is being relocated several blocks south, it will open up a large piece of land on the south side of the Crosstown Bridge, where the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill and OKC Rocks is located.

In the model presented to the public during the mid-1990's of what Oklahoma City would look like after MAPS was complete, including conceptual private development, many condos, waterfront shops and green parks were placed in this area. I would like to see that become reality south of Bricktown. It will definitely give out-of-town visitors a more cosmopolitan feel of Oklahoma City.

07-13-2004, 05:41 AM
I would have Hammons build his parking lot for the conference center on the Bass Pro lot, leaving some room for buses and RVs. Have it built with some matching details as the Embassy Suites.

On the Coca Cola lot, I would have first floor retail/restaurant, five levels of parking on top of that, and 4-5 floors of housing, with one of those for condos. Anybody know what height restrictions are in Bricktown?

I do not see anything wrong with more housing in Bricktown. As long as quality residential services are there to support it (groceries, laundromats, kitchen/furniture stores, DVD rentals, etc), it gives Bricktown a more authentic and less touristy feel. But the residents should recognize the drawbacks to living in such a district.

But I agree, this is one of the best recent news reports about Bricktown to come out. Goodbye to black asphalt!!!

07-13-2004, 11:49 AM
The height restrictions in Bricktown are 140 feet. The Embassy Suites and The Factory apartments will come close but will not exceed the height restriction.

07-14-2004, 12:47 AM
I think for one of the buildings in The Factory development, they're going to have to seek a special exemption due to height. That's what I read anyways.

I know the guy (can't remember his name) that owns the empty lot across from the Water Taxi loading zone was originally planning on building a 14 story hotel on the property. He applied for an exemption to the height restrictions, and got it approved. Unfortunately, as you know, he decided to invest his money in purchasing an aloe vera plant outside the country and decided to put his Bricktown lot up for sale. To this day, it's still for sale. Not sure if he'll ever get what he wants out of it, as he made something like $1.25 mill for the lot.

I emailed Jim Couch, city manager, our ideas. He emailed me back and said he fully agreed with our assessments, but said the city really couldn't do anything about the issue, because the Redhawks had the lease on the land, so they'd be making the fianl say. Of course, Jim told me the city would be encouraging our option, or at least one similar to it.

I went ahead and forwarded our ideas to the managers at the Redhawks. So far I haven't heard anything from them.

In my opinion, to help the Redhawks make the right decision, the city ought to act on their right to build a garage on part of the Bass Pro lot by offering it to Hammons for development of the garage. This would throw the Hammons garage idea out of the Redhawks picture, and give the Redhawks only housing/retail/parking options for the property they lease. The city only has the right to build a garage on the west half of that lot, so that would leave plenty of surface RV and bus parking up close to Bass Pro.

You know how people think sometimes in our city though. Many don't like Moshe Tal, but if it wasn't for him fighting the city, the north and sought canal would be separated by an elevation drop (a waterfall) and the navigational area wouldn't be as long. That's one thing we do have him to thank for. He changed city leaders' minds on that issue by showing them theproject was feasible for a cost the city was willing to pay. But he had to beatit out of the knghts of the half-round table.

07-14-2004, 06:20 AM
I like the way you think, Patrick. Freeing up the Coca Cola lot by offering outright the Bass Pro lot would kill two birds (or surface lots) with one stone!!

07-14-2004, 12:46 PM
Sounds like a plan to me. The more surface lots we can get replaced with development, the better.