View Full Version : Canal Corner Lot Sold, Hotel coming!

10-18-2004, 09:34 AM
Great news on downtownguy's blog:

"The land has sold, and the sign is now being used by MidFirst Bank boasting they're providing financing for....

Financing for what? I've told you at least three to four more hotels are coming to downtown... this will be one of them."

Wow, I'm totally pumped about this. So many questions...

How tall will it be? What will it be branded? Will it span the canal? Where will parking be? Will it be the bottom floors parking and the top the hotel?

So, now we're looking at 3 hotels on the canal (this one, the one next to harkins? and the Embassy Suites) and one overlooking the ballpark? Plus the Skirvin downtown. Lots more rooms. Nice.

Gosh, this is great news!

10-18-2004, 04:51 PM
This is good news, if they are just building on that site then it will be one small hotel. I'd like to see maybe a locally-owned hotel there rising to about 5 stories. The rooms would be nice, not too over-priced but better than your typical Best Western or Holiday Inn. I will be looking forward to more details...

10-18-2004, 05:59 PM
I rode my bike down there this evening. I spoke with the lady in the water taxi booth. She said that the hotel will span the canal so that boats will pass through the building. Looking at the corner lot in addition to the lot adjacent to the water taxi booth, it looks plenty big enough for a hotel.

My idea: Make a 14 story building (the max for Bricktown, I think). The first 3 to 4 floors wil be retail, the hotel starts above that.

Anyone dig up more details?

10-18-2004, 08:59 PM
The lady at Water Taxi told you correctly. But you're also misunderstanding where this hotel will be. It will be where the MidFirst sign is - not the corner lot. Harry McMullen is still sitting on it. And once that hotel across the water is up, it will be even more expensive to do anything of substance on that corner lot because it will be one of the trickiest construction sites one can imagine.
My prediction: the corner lot will remain empty for years to come unless McMullen himself chooses to build on it or he chooses to sell it at a loss.

10-18-2004, 09:57 PM
You probably know more than the water taxi lady. However, I do want to make it clear that she said the hotel would span across the canal onto the other property. Like I said, you probably know more than she does though.

If it is just on that small hill, how big of a hotel will this be? And do you know anything else about it?


10-18-2004, 11:29 PM
Wow! This is great news. Interestingly though, I figured McMullen's property would sell before this property. I also find it interesting that originally McMullen had planned a 14 story hotel for his property, across from this proposed hotel. It's a shame that McMullen chose to invest in an Aloe Vera plan in another country instead of building a hotel on his property. Maybe with time he'll change his mind and return to his hotel can only hope.

San Antonio's Riverwalk is lined by several hotels, in addition to restaurants, the River Center Mall, and offices. Seems like hotels and restaurants dominate the landscape though. I'm not one to copy off San Antonio, but I think their model is successful and makes sense. It definitely shows us that we need hotels right no the canal.

Anyways, I do hope the hotel spans the canal. Having water taxis pass right through the lobby would be impressive.

Thanks Luke and downtownguy for this great information. It's definitely a positive sign for Bricktown, and a sign that both Bass Pro and Harkin's Theaters have been successful at drawing more interest in the area. With all of these new hotels coming, it should only help our chances of landing more conventions. Now all we need to do is convert arena space at the Cox Center into large meeting halls. Sure, having an arena in the Cox Center can be an advantage, but with the Ford Center across the street, how many times is Cox Center arena actually used? It isn't used much....maybe two or three times a year. That doesn't vouch for keeping it. We would be money ahead opening up more meeting hall space. The current arena could make 4 nice large dividable meeting halls if a second floor was built across the current arena.

10-19-2004, 06:05 AM
However, as long as the Cox is still arena-style, the Big 12 Basketball tournament will be an easy catch in the future because two basketball arenas are needed for the men's and women's tournament. OKC is blessed to have both right across the street from eachother right downtown right next to the entertainment district, a truly unique set-up in Big 12 country.

10-19-2004, 11:50 PM
You have a point! We still need more convention space though. I still think w need to expand the Cox Center south just as we did on the north side. There's also room to expand east and west! If we're going to keep the arena, we need to renovate it. The seats could use replacing.

10-22-2004, 06:31 PM
while it is true we need two arenas, i am not so sure we need both of them downtown. OKC has many arenas: Ford Centre, Cox, Fairgrounds Arena, and then Norman's Noble arena. All of these seat over 10,000 fans.

So, if the city ever wanted to convert the Cox into more convention space, they could either 1) convert the upper bowl - retaining a more intimate, lower bowl and appx 6500 seats or 2) covert the whole Cox arena into convention space.

The city could still court the Big 12 games, using Ford and Fairgrounds (instead of Cox). While it is a great selling point, having both arenas across the street - there is nothing wrong with having then 3 miles apart either (easier on traffic, spread the wealth to the rest of OKC).

My 2 cents

10-22-2004, 10:25 PM
Actually though, one of the main reasons the Big 12 chose OKC for the tournys was because the arenas were right across the street from each other. Had that not been the case, the Big 12 might have looked elsewhere. The State Fair Arena has a few things working against it in courting the Womens tourny......first off, it's quite a bit smaller than the Cox Center Arena. I think about 4,000 - 6,000 seats smaller. Also, of course the distance is a factor. Doing away with Cox Center arena and depending on State Fair Arena and Ford Center would throw us into the same category as Dallas, depending on Reunion Arena and American Airlines Center, which are a ways apart.

11-02-2004, 11:44 AM

I agree that OKC won the tourneys because of the prox of the two arenas. But what I am arguing, is that even if we did not have the current config, OKC could still compete with Dallas and KC for the events. If we utilized the Fairgrounds Arena more we would have similar arena configs, which would put the three of us on a likely rotation.

But I totally agree that under the current config, OKC is hands-down the favourite!

Maybe we could just modify the Cox arena, to downscale its size a bit and recover that space as convention space (another ballroom?). Then, we could remodel the arena, bringing it up to the same standards/config as Ford Centre (or better).

I just want to see us use our arena space more efficiently.

11-03-2004, 02:11 PM
Maybe we could increase the capacity at State Fair a larger structure over the top of the existing one, similar to what OSU did at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

We really need the convention space at Cox Center. Right now we're really limited in the size of conventions we can hold. A lot of larger groups want huge meeting halls that can seat 5,000-10,000 folks. They don't want an arena but a large meeting room that can accomodate this many people. By converting the present arena at Cox Center into a two story set of meeting halls, we could attract larger meetings.

By making State Fair arena larger, we'd still be in the same field as Dallas for the NCAA tournaments, and at the same time, we'd be able to attract even larger horse shows, maybe possibly getting the National Finals Rodeo back.

11-03-2004, 02:12 PM
Or better yet. Remember Heartland Castle? :Smiley173

11-03-2004, 02:15 PM
Hmmmmm....that's a good point, bringing that up....if we built Heartland Castle, or a similar domed stadium south of the present I-40, such a structure would complement Ford Center well. Maybe we could model such a stadium after the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. It's still large enough to hold football games, but isn't quite as large as most NFL stadiums.
The Heartland Castle, or whatever we named it, could house the men's NCAA tourny, while the Ford Center could house the women's. The new dome could also house city football games, concerts, and maybe even help us try to attract either a MLS team or an NFL team.

11-03-2004, 03:57 PM
If SMG and the city's CVB could find out if OKC would indeed attract more conventions with expanded exhibit space, they would be better informed forf a decision. Would the impact of more meetings in the long run generate more impact than hosting events that require dual arenas? How many of those events are out there?

But I have to say, I also wouldn't want to compete against us for the Big 12 basketball tournaments. Having them right next to each other, with Bricktown to the east and the hotels to the north, is just too convenient a situation for event planners to pass up.

11-03-2004, 04:03 PM
Although not a "Big 12" city, if Las Vegas ever bids for the tournemant, you can kiss it good bye for a mighty long time.

The arena is about three blocks from the strip, plus MGM Grand has an arena of their own. Let alone the convention center.

That not only puts the action close to the hotels, you can add the casinos and the other night life to the mix. The same reasons we lost the Rodeo.

Until we can attract large casinos, we will not gain those attractions we have lost. One reason I am glad we passed the gaming quesions. It is a start. Now we can work on ALL casino gaming to attract and keep events like the "Big 12."

So, in summary, it is not a lock.

11-03-2004, 04:15 PM
Jeez, don't get me started on Las Vegas. It's a plastic city with an unsustainable life and economy. I don't know what the hell the thousands of new residents see in it. I actually would rather lose events to Dallas and Houston than to LV, and that's saying a lot!!

11-03-2004, 04:19 PM
Although I am not a fan of the reason we lost that rodeo, I am just the opposite of you.

It burns the crap out of me to lose to any city in Texas. If I have to lose, I would rather it be for a good reason. Not just this phony "everything is big in Texas, let us brun up a cow for ya. YEEE HAWWW ya'll."

I do not mind losing to cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas (exception reasoning noted), Chicago, and similar cities.

Not to a bunch of rednecks.

11-03-2004, 04:36 PM
Believe me, I have enough contempt for things Texan. I shudder at all the Texas-themed businesses in OKC (Texas Roadhouse, Lone Star Grille (or something like that). Makes me want to spread Eskimo Joes' in every Texas town.

11-03-2004, 04:44 PM
Anderson, again, I completely agree with you. A casino could do wonders for the development of the Bricktown area! If a casino (even only one) were to be installed there, MAJOR development would be right on its heels.

Don't hold your breath though. The Democrats still run the state for the most part and are the lap dogs of tribal gaming and would never let something like this lure people away from Lucky Star et al.

11-03-2004, 05:11 PM
Smart businesspeople at tribal nations headquarters should take a gander at Bricktown or the Oklahoma River for casino resort hotels. From what I understand there's a pretty nice one opening up outside of Tulsa - their claim is to be Oklahoma's first casino resort.

I'd be supportive of this idea as long as it's a high quality hotel resort with a more upscale feel like one's on the Strip in Vegas.

11-03-2004, 05:37 PM
Midtwoner: You would be surprised what could happen.

It was not very long ago Oklahoma did not even have Indian casinos and the Lottery was evil in the eyes of 90% of the state (while they were crossing the state line to buy tickets). Now we have broken that barrier.

My guess is within five years we will have REAL casinos. Not just Indian style. Full blown Nevada rule gaming.

Of course, giving both sides, I also need to add some small areas around the country have not been as successful. Deadwood, South Dakota and Cripple Creek, Colorado for example. My sister owned a casino in the latter and closed it because she drew very small attendance... And hers was among the largest... At 10,000 square feet.

As long as we do it right and do not follw those leads, we will succeed.

11-03-2004, 09:23 PM
Not only has Catoosa opened up the first resort casino in OK, but right on the river, next to the two new riverwalk developments and the aquarium, the creeks are planning on a 105 million dollar casino resort boardwalk. The Cherokees spent 80 million on a golf course(very expensive) a hotel and more gaming room. The Creeks are spending that much more with no room for a golf course AND the best part is that they dont have that much land to build their casino/boardwalk/hotel...meaning with more money to spend, more than likely the hotel is going to go straight up in the air!!! I can't wait to see the plans.

OKC better get on the ball if it wants a casino, because every large tribe is building their resorts right now.

11-03-2004, 11:55 PM
Well nuclear2525, the problem is that there aren't any chances of OKC landing a casino resort as of currently. As far as I know, there is no property in Oklahoma City that belongs to a tribe, unlike Tulsa, where Creeks and Cherokees have plenty of tribal lands. Yes, the Cheyenne-Arapaho and the Absentee-Shawnee Tribes both have popular casinos inthe Oklahoma City Metro Area, yet none are along our river. Oklahoma City's best bet at this point is Remington Park, which will be a "racino". I do know that there are some parcels near the Oklahoma River and I-44 tha belongs to a local tribe, but not enough to build a casino. Thunderbird Casino and Lucky Star Casino are Oklahoma City's two most popular casinos. While I'm sure both have big plans now, both are a good drive off the interstate. Winstar Casino between Dallas and Oklahoma City on Oklahoma I-35 exit 1 is by far the state's largest and most ambitious casino resort under construction, with the casino already open. Winstar serves patrons from DFW and Oklahoma City.

11-04-2004, 06:32 AM
Pulse, I'm not talking about indian gaming. I'm talking about perhaps a Harrah's located on the canal. Something like this would not only make Bricktown a destination point for locals, but it would also be a vacation point for out-of-staters!

From what I've seen with Indian gaming, it has been as negative for indian peoples as positive -- in many cases, it's very corrupt and having covered Democrat party events, I can really tell that indian gaming is giving a lot of money to politicians. Perhaps protection money?

I don't think with the current political climate that sucha thing would be possible. I'd never visit it. However, I'd almost certainly patronize the businesses that would follow such a place on the riverwalk.

11-04-2004, 08:40 AM
There’s no reason that a Harrahs’s can’t be a tribal casino. The Harrah’s in Topeka Kansas is a Shawnee tribal casino. In the Tulsa area Black Gold Casinos are funding and will run the Creek Casino at 81st the Riverside, which is already the busiest casino in the state right now before any construction has started. And another casino company, I can’t recall the name, is opening the Million Dollar Elm Casinos with the Osage tribe, the first of which is already open in Sand Springs and the next one is already under construction northwest of downtown in the Gilcrease Hills area of Tulsa. The Cherokees have their big new casino resort in Catoosa and I think they also just bought the racetrack in Claremore, which also will be a casino/track setup. Gaming has come to the Tulsa area big time and the national casino companies are already involved. I think that now that the gaming question has passed and gambling has been expanded you will see the big Las Vegas casino companies get involved

11-04-2004, 12:29 PM
My point was that I think indian gaming should be exclusively on indian lands. Since there are no indian lands in the Bricktown area, we don't need to give them any. I'd be happier with a state or city run Casino -- something that can be a HUGE resource for tax revenue.

It's probably correct to believe that the only way people are going to allow gaming in Bricktown would be if it's done by either a tribe or perhaps the owners of Remington Park? That's the good 'ol boy system working to keep the money in the hands of the corrupt though. I say we give normal Casino management companies out of Vegas a try and let the owners be whoever they want to.

We have a lottery, we have casinos here in Oklahoma, let's not keep our heads in the sand! These places can be great for our local economy. They can bring in tons of tourism and trade. In just a few months, we'll be able to buy lottery tickets at any 7-11. Why not be able to gamble with MUCH more favorable odds at a Casino? The city/state would have everything to gain from something like that.

Tribal gaming has left a bad taste in my mouth, however. Many of these tribal leaders have made enormous personal fortunes off of gaming that was supposed to be for the benefit of the entire tribe. I think those practices are questionable and personally don't feel it's right to support them. If the ownership group of a casino or casinos on the canal included tribal gaming corporations, I have no problem with that. However, ownership opportunities should be open to anyone regardless of ancestory.

11-04-2004, 08:41 PM
Yes, Midtowner, I definitely agree that a casino, or a casino hotel would be an awesome addition to Bricktown. The live entertainment alone at a casino is always a huge draw, and visitors to Bricktown would be able to admire our historic warehouses and canal, enjoy one of our night clubs or restaurants, watch a movie, ride a water taxi on the canal, or drop a few bets at a casino on the river near Bricktown. I've envisioned this for years.

I am, however, happy with the election results, and I am proud to see Oklahoma break away from so many constitutional restrictions.

Just four years ago, Oklahoma didn't allow a lottery, gaming compacts or racino. Motorists paid excessive tag renewal fees based on age and value. Cities were unable to create TIF districts for economic development. Barriers stood in the way of attracting manufacturing jobs without a right to work law. State wineries had no assistance in marketing their product in their infancy as a licensed winery, and were not allowed to promote their products at special events. Opening up a domestic brewery to make strong beer was almost impossible. We allowed cockfighting and fought a growing problem with meth labs. Education revenue sources were limited.

Now look at Oklahoma today. We allow state wineries to sell directly to liquor stores and restaurants for better profitability, and you can buy a bottle at the state fair. And rumor has it that state wineries support selling wine in grocery stores. Motorists pay a flat rate for registration renewal, based on age. We are a right to work state (although many have strong feelings against the law, despite proponents reminding voters it will take time for positive effects to be felt, especially during a national recession). Cities can now set up TIF districts for economic development. We banned cockfighting, and we made it more difficult for meth-heads to set up environmentally dangerous labs. We joined 40 other states by legalizing the lottery, and legalized slot machines and card games for racetracks as well as better gaming options for indian casinos. Oklahoma City has a temporary one-cent sales tax dedicated to the overhaul of a crumbling urban school district, and education has a better future because of new revenue sources from a lottery and casino gaming. Most of all, we are less restricted today than in 2000. We still have ground to tread by becoming the last state in the nation to repeal the ban on giving tattoos, and repealing the ban on franchising alcoholic beverages stronger than 3.2 percent by weight, something 48 other states allow.

I don't know about you guys, but as an Oklahoman, I feel our state doesn't stick out among other states like a sore thumb as it once did. I believe the negative "buckle of the bible belt" label that was placed on our state has shifted some place else.

11-04-2004, 09:12 PM
Good case, okcpulse :Smiley173

11-04-2004, 09:17 PM
OKCPulse, I agree with you. However, I did want to mention one thing. Personally, being the "buckle of the Bible belt" isn't a negative thing as you say. OKC and Oklahoma have all the things you mention going for it, in addition to conservative, moral and yes, Christian values. It's not a negative, it's a positive!


11-04-2004, 09:27 PM
Actually, being ANYWHERE in the "bible belt" is a negative. This gives our state the image that we are nothing but a bunch of bible toating religious zeilots who do nothing but try to push strict morals on everyone.

There are a lot of people who will not visit this state because they think all the people will do nothing but call them sinners and tell them God will strike them dead for going into casinos, buying lottery tickets, going into night clubs, and the like.

I, for one, want that holy roller image gone from this area. It is embarrasing. :eek:

11-05-2004, 05:53 AM
Obviously, you've had some bad experiences with Christians, mranderson. I am just as offended as you are when it comes to people who try to push their strict morals on me. However, if that happens, I like to strive for levelheaded debate. Usually, that can be acheived. Then it doesn't become a shouting match, but a logical discussion. Christianity, the way Jesus lived it, is something quite different than the way many people nowadays live it. And those "religious zealots" you're speaking of aren't doing anything to bring more people into the fold. In fact, they are pushing people like yourself away as well as giving Christians like me a bad name.

11-05-2004, 11:29 AM
On that note, Luke, I recommend reading the book "Whan Bad Christians Happen To Good People." It is definitely an eye-opener. It points out that too many churches have turned their attention completely to the wrong sins by spending too much time preaching about gambling, drinking, the way we dress, and the music we listen to. The author points out that the real sins people should focus on is greed, selfishness, bigotry and pride. Those are sins that go largely ignored by the general church body, because the status quo gets in the way.

Anyhow, back to the subject of this thread, I am thankful that the corner lot got sold. It's an odd corner in an urban district. My real complaint about the canal are the piles of dirt left behind by construction next to Chelinos. Those piles have been there for several years. Isn't it time to, oh, I don't know, put some sort of sidewalk or landscaping where there is now an eyesore. Also, I hope the lot next to Zio's gets developed into a multi-use structure, mixed residential, retail or office. A modest 8-story building isn't bad, but it would be nice to see the corner lot developed into a fifteen story hotel.

Continue the Renaissance!!!

11-05-2004, 11:45 AM
okcpulse -- I concur.

11-07-2004, 01:49 AM
okcpulse, I hear you on your canal comments. Unfortunately, as you know, those mounds of dirt are on private property, so there isn't much the city can do about it. I'm not sure what the owners of those properties are waiting on. The theater and Bass Pro are built now. Seems like they'd go ahead and lower rent a little to try to attract some tenants. Unfortunately, manyof the property owners down there are just too greedy.
I don't like the empty space below Laughing Fish/Zios. I realize there's no basement in that building, but it seems like Jim Brewer, the owner of the property could add some landscaping or maybe even enclose the area and build a small deli or something. Brewer just really irks me sometimes. You have to like the man though because he's really the one you started Bricktown, but sometimes he just really drags his feet on his properties.

In regards to the lot next to Zios.....I agree with you. We need to see less surface parking in Bricktown, especially right on the canal. I'd love to see a few new buildings built next to Zios. Maybe a couple of nice restaurants or a nice large department store.

For parking in Bricktown, I think we need to consider building mixed structures....with businesses on the ground levels and parking above......the Bricktown garage actually has a few businesses at ground/street level, so that's a good example. I suppose on that Zio's lot, one could build a restaurant complex with a parking garage above.