View Full Version : Galleria Ideas

07-19-2004, 03:26 PM
I had the wonderful opportunity to check out the opening of Chicago's Millennium Park ( It's a continuation of the Windy City's rich urban design heritage.

It reminded me of my visions of the Galleria site before the parking garage was planned. I wanted to extend the Myriad Gardens north to the site and furnish it with a flat, wide greenspace with bandshell on one end and food/novelty vendors along a side. A sports equipment rental booth would let people borrow skates, footballs, frisbees, etc. A waving concrete walk would provide space for hopscotch and chalking contests.

With the parking garage, I envision a mixed-use tower with retail, cafes, and public spaces footing a two/three-story atrium, with a Musuem of Contemporary Art above that, and apartments/condos above that. The first two would be fronted with transparent glass and the housing with large windows.

What do you see with the Galleria, both with and without (for dreams' sake) the anticipated garage? Incidentally, the garage footprint covers the north half of the space (

07-20-2004, 10:38 PM
Well, I'd personally still like to see a small upscale shopping mall of some sort be built there. Of course we're in different times now (with large upscale Penn Square closeby- it wasn't quite as large back when the Galleria plan was proposed), but I still think upscale shops like Macy's, Saks, and Nordstroms as anchors would fill the space nicely. Penn Square, although upscale, isn't quite on the same level as a Galleria type mall. It's kind of like comparing Woodland Hills Mall to Utica Square, both in Tulsa. Penn Square is more like Woodland Hills, Utica Square is more like a Galleria shopping area.

Anyways, the mall could be 3 levels with an ice rink at the bottom, surrounded by gorgious gardens that resemble those found at Myriad Gardens. Maybe the mall could stretch to the east across Harvey and join up with the Sheraton Center shopping area.....this would give what would be known as the Galleria Mall an attached Westin Hotel, similar to that found at the Galleria in Dallas. The parking garage would be below and north of the mall, so parking wouldn't be a problem. The city could just build more parking elsewhere to replace the mall's parking.

I wouldn't even mind the Colcord Building being attached to the mall somehow! That would give the mall a nice urban feel!

You know, our state planned for years to put a dome on the capitol, and it finally completed the project. Why doesn't OKC finally finish a project it started!!!! Let's finish the Galleria the way it was mean to be finished.

07-21-2004, 11:50 AM
I think this is a really good threat that floater started to come up with ideas for the Galleria site. If you have any ideas, please feel free to express them. I'd be interested in hearing them!

07-21-2004, 10:49 PM
Well then, I guess all of you can check out the ideas I left in the Heritage Park Up For Sale thread. That can apply to this thread as well! :D

Continue the Renaissance!

07-21-2004, 11:11 PM
I don't think OKC needs to re-create the Dallas Galleria. I don't know much about the area, but personally, I would like to see the name of the mall changed to something more original, instead of the same name that every mall in every major city has. Besides just the name, Patrick, you said something about 3 stories with an ice-rink on the lower level...again, too much like Dallas. OKC needs to come up with something unique to OKC and not something unique to Dallas, Houston, etc. Nothing against OKC, but when you re-create the Galleria in Dallas, and try to use it as an attraction for OKC, people are going to laugh and head on to Dallas. OKC is making major improvements and is 100% better than it was 5 years ago, but don't get carried away's not on Dallas's level.

07-22-2004, 12:08 AM
Yeah, you're right...sometime we do get too carried away around here with copying other people! Just look at our river project (trying to copy Tulsa) and our canal (trying to copy San Antonio). But at least with those projects, we've adapted them to our own city! They don't by any means look like replicas. The Bricktown canal has a flavor completely different from the San Antonio Riverwalk! And for the Oklahoma River....well it's too early to see.

Personally, for downtown, I like the idea you originally suggested.....OKC needs a Utica type development. What a better place than downtown!!!!

07-22-2004, 05:27 PM
No matter what, the ice skating rink should be included. It seems odd to me that the city has started erecting one every Christmas season, and it flies. Later, it is dismantled.

Why not leave it year round (covered of course since in summer it would be that new sport of water skating)?

The Dallas Gallaria is nice, however, we do need to create one that is unique. Maybe a different design. Or as Patrick said include an office tower and a high rise apartment complex (ok, I added the last one). Specialty stores of local products on the first floor, then medium priced on the second, then the high end on the third. They could include Tiffany's, a high end fur salon such as Dicker and Dicker, salons by major fashion designers, and even a Gucci.

Anchors could be Macy's, Saks, and Bloomingdale's. Leave Neiman-Marcus in Texas. :p

Oh. By the way. What does Utica have? I am fimiliar with it in name only.

07-22-2004, 08:36 PM
I think we could still do a more Utica Square style development (rather than a mall development) and include an enclosed ice rink in a center square area! The square could have the ice rink in the middle and be surrounded by restaurans and other eating places.....kind of like an upscale food court. This square could be surrounded with shops and the like. This would differentiate the development from both Utica Square and from the Dallas Galleria! Since it would be more on the Utica Square design, it could be as large or small as you like! It could be builtin phases starting with the center square and surrounding shops!

Something similar in nature to the Square in Santa Fe, NM, only have an enclosed ice rink in the middle!

07-22-2004, 08:48 PM
How about an open air ice rink centered on the lot, facing Sheridan on one side. Have two white metal and glass mixed-use towers (housing on top) on the ends. Between the new garage and the rink, have gardens, food vendors, picnic tables and a performance stage. During the warm months, replace the rink with a long, canopied bar. The bar would be surrounded 360 degrees by barstools and table sets.

07-22-2004, 09:22 PM
I like the way this guy thinks! I can only imagine how such a bar would look out there on top of the Galleria garage! It would definitely be one of a kind!!!!!

One thing about having a climate controlled ice rink is at least it would provide entertainment for families year round. But, I wouldn't want it to be in a steel building like the Blazer's Ice Center or anything. It would have to be class!

07-22-2004, 09:58 PM
I think a climate-controlled rink with glass (yes, it's my material) to allow lots of natural light and streetwalkers' gazes to penetrate the building would be good.

07-22-2004, 10:21 PM
Yup, you're thinking on the same wavelength as I is exactly what I had in mind! How nice that would fit in with the Crystal Bridge across the street! How about a retractable top that could be removed during the winter season????
Skip the Braums Ice rink! This would be far better!

07-22-2004, 10:25 PM
In relation to the MBG, yeah, I'm a believer in architectural make the roof a cylindrical shape!!

07-22-2004, 10:30 PM
Well the land we'd have left to work with after the parking garage was built, would be rectangular in shape, so it could probably accomodate a cylindrical glass covering pretty nicely! I can picture a facility about the same size as the Crystal Bridge as well.....that would fit a pretty nicely sized ice rink, plus leave space for skate rental, restaurants, etc.

07-27-2004, 08:15 PM
The new parking garage for the Galleria looks awesome. I thought when all of you were talking about the Galleria, that it was just an idea, I had no idea that it was REAL! Is the mall currently open or what all is it?

07-27-2004, 08:34 PM
Hey nuclear, I think we may have confused you. The Galleria is already a parking garage downtown. It's an underground parking garage. It currently has the top street level, and the bottom underground level. Back when the garage was built, plans were to build a Galleria style mall on top of the underground garage, hence the name Galleria! But the oil boost occurred, and the Galleria Mall idea was abandoned. Ever since we've been left wit the underground parking garage that was supposed to be the foundation for a shopping mall. It's been used for downtown parking since that time.

The mall idea is just our dream now! There have been no real plans to build a mall on that site since the oil bust.

So the parking garage still retains the Galleria name, but there is no mall there, and probably never will be, but it doesn't hurt to dream about what could've been and what could be.

Now...what's actually going to happen. The city is in need of more parking downtown, so they're planning on adding to the Galleria Parking Garage to meet those needs. The pictures you saw from that link were of the garage. I believe the city in in the process of doing some necessary demolition in preparation for building as we speak! But this new garage (I believe it will be 6 levels if I'm not mistaken) will only take up the northern half of the Galleria site leaving the southern half at street level and open for other development (or at least I wish the city would open it up for development).
Anyways, when we're dreaming of a mall, we're referring to the south half of the current Galleria underground garage!

BTW, it's across from the Myriad Gardens if you want to check it out! Looks like just flat, surface level parking, but look carefully and it is in fact a two level garage at the present time!

07-28-2004, 08:11 AM
Iím a visitor from the Tulsanow site.

For your info, Utica is anchored by Saks and Miss Jackson (a local store even a little more high end than Saks). Tulsa has no stores really in the range of Nordstrom or Macyís. There have been rumors for years that Nordstromís or another mid-upscale store may come to Utica, but to date nothing is happening. Utica is in the middle of a transformation. They have kicked out a number of stores including Dillardís and are in middle of replacing them. There is a new store going into a massive new center being built in Owasso that is supposed to be in that range, below Saks but above Dillardís, but the name of it escapes me.

As for a new indoor mall in downtown OKC, itís not going to happen. I read a few months ago that at that time, there were no indoor malls being built in the United States. None, not one. The age of the indoor mall is pretty much over. Many of them are dead or dying. Tulsa has lost the Kensington Galleria, now office space for TV Guide and DISH, itís downtown mall, the Williams Center Forum, now office space for Williams, and Mall of America, now a church. Eastland is dying, fast.

The wave of the future is the outdoor center, Like Utica. Donít copy the Galleria in Dallas, copy The Plaza in Kansas City or Michigan Avenue in Chicago. These are the type places that people travel to visit, not a mall.

07-28-2004, 11:08 AM
Yeah, I think most of us at this point are hoping for more of a shopping village type development in Bricktown, not necessarily a mall.

In regards to your statement about malls......I think the death of certain malls is due more to mismanagement than anything else. Look at malls that are dying and tell me how well they're maintained! Although I agree with you that malls don't have the place that they once had in American society, I don't think they'll disappear completely. The larger better maintained malls are surviving just fine. Eastland is a bad example, because it is in desparate need of renovating, and it's only a one level mall. One level malls just aren't surviving in today's society.

I'm all for Utica type developments though. I love outdoor shopping centers! Too bad Penn Square couldn't rip off the roof and return to what it used to be....a center much like Utica Square.

I'm not sure sure itwas smart of Utica Square to get rid of Dillards though! Why in the world did they do that? Dillards is a nice upscale store! I don't think a Dillards would've seemed out of place in Utica Square.

BTW, it's great to see you on this forum swake! Thanks for coming over and thanks for your input from Tulsa! It's always great to hear how our neighbors in Talsa are doing, and it's definitely great to hear their advice!

07-28-2004, 04:21 PM
We could build a supermall of America and have 1,000 stores. THAT would attract people from all over the world. If you have been to Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, you know what I mean. :D

07-28-2004, 06:35 PM
I think Dillard's leaving was one of the best things that has happened to Utica in a long time. Dillard's just didn't fit in down there, and it was not even a nice Dillard's. Now there are several other nice stores that take its place. You can have a Dillard's in any mall, so there was definitely no need for one in the nicer shopping area.

07-28-2004, 07:23 PM
For the Galleria Site, I am in favour of a galleria type development with upscale and local retail stores and restaurants. Here in Seattle, we have a galleria called Westlake Centre that along with neighbouring anchor stores Nordstrom (the first and hq) and BonMarche (now BonMacy's) have brought retail back to Seattle.

Dont get me wrong, there was a period in the 1990's when downtown Seattle was in a great slump. Fredrick's and Nelson's and I Magnum closed their downtown anchor stores and many smaller retailers went with them. We were only left with Westlake Centre, Nordstrom and the Bon Marche. Most blamed the city fathers for allowing a galleria mall, which swallowed up the surrounding retail. Who knows why the upscale department stores F&N and IM closed, but they did.

That all changed toward the late 90's when Nordstrom announced they would move their anchor store and national hq to the old F&N building (which was more than two times larger that the old Nordies). Developers then announced the Old Nordy building would be remodeled for local upscale retail shoppes and those two events spurred a retail extravaganza that has continued to this day.

Now, we have a new upscale galleria type mall (called Pacific Place) that is across the street from the new Nordstrom (F&N Building) which is across the street from the Westlake Centre which is across the street from the old Nordies (now a collection of upscale retail). We then got a new Niketown, Gameworks, and two 20 something screen multiplexes across the street from each other.

Upscale anchor stores like the flagship Eddie Bauer, FAO and others sprung up as well in the same area (although EB is moving due to their financial strapped Parent Co and FAO closed). It got so bad that I think upscale retailers were locating downtown Seattle just for name-sake, as I almost never see anyone buying anything but I know their rent had to be very expensive. Every major upscaler wanted to have a downtown Seattle location, perhaps if nothing else just for looks!

So you could call this the Seattle answer to Chicago's Magnificent Michigan Avenue or Vancouver's Robson Street perhaps, but my point here is that a well planned galleria could spur additional development if the city ensures the correct mix of development and redevelopment.

Imagine if we still built a Westlake Centre type development on the Southern portion of the Galleria Site. Westlake is comprised of four floors of upscale and local retail and restaurants with a 20 something office tower looming above (sort of like 50 Penn Place but much more touristy). Below, Westlake connects to Seattle's underground bus tunner (soon to be light rail) and on the fourth floor the Seattle Monorail comes in.

What if a similar design was implemented in downtown at the Galleria Site? I am not necessarily talking about the bus tunnel or monorail, but I could easily see on the southern end, a four storey galleria with upscale and local retail with a 20 storey office tower or mixed office/hotel tower looming above. The galleria would connect below to the new Underground and perhaps with MAPS III a new light rail line would have a station right in front.

I imagine with the new upscale apartments and condos going in and with that momentum to continue for the next 10 years at least, that downtown could support high end retail again and the galleria concept I laid out might do the same for OKC as Westlake did for Seattle.

There used to be major anchor stores in downtown (and Capitol Hill) but with a Westlake type upscale galleria additional attention would be given for downtown OKC and then other stores might come to town - creating a new upscale district.

I think it would work, but we have to leave the OLD Dallas Style galleria behind as it predates other retail nearby. A westlake type design is much better for OKC, as it would be the focus of an emerging towne square. A well planned galleria would target new entrants to the market (the 20-35 something single-yuppie and tourist crowds) and would spur additional high end outside of the galleria itself that would cator to everyone else.

Now guys, in my mind - this is in addition to Bricktown and the developing deep Duece towne square. Sometimes, we need to think big and not put all of our eggs into just one part of downtown at the expense of others.

I think we could have four major retail sections downtown, if not five - Bricktown for tourists and families, Dduece for locals, Galleria for upscale local and transient tourists, and the emerging Walker district for locals. The fifth district could be WestTowne (the area of downtown west of the current alignment for the Arts district).

WestTowne would be over 18 oriented (if not over 25 oriented) and could contain either mainstream or local retail, bars, and dance clubs. It would not compete with Brick, nor would Galleria or deep duece, but would complement it!

OKC needs to appeal to every demographic, not just families! What about the teens? they have $$ What about the yuppies? Of course, they have $$ What about the students? They may not have $$ but they have word-of-mouth advertising and future $$.

Imagine the Renaissance, then!

07-28-2004, 07:33 PM
Sorry for such a long message above, but another thing I wish for the galleria site, is that they reopen Main Street. I know portions of it will, but they should extend it all the way through. Main Street used to have tons of retail on it, but it died when someone had a bright idea to take four square blocks and erect a parking garage on it.

This should have been no more than one quare block,with the garage below and the galleria and tower on top. We could have then used the other blocks for anchor stores, hotels, high rise apts, and of course - regular street level retail.

I think the guys who designed and built the so called Galleria killed downtown OKC because they envisioned a MALL as opposed to a true Galleria that captures the highest end of the market then spurs outside development. Look at Houston, they used to only have a galleria but it is now a Shopping District! That is what I am talking about. The Galleria was the ANCHOR! Not the only thing or one-stop shop.

Hopefully we could still reopen Main St all the way, bring back street retail and storefronts there, and build the galleria on the SW parcel of the site. On the SE parcel, a hotel would be perfect (or a very tall hotel/condo tower(s) like they have in Vancouver). Other sites could be developed into anchor stores or shops nearby (like moving the bus terminal out and redeveloping that and nearby sites). Then a retail district like Seattle's or Houston's could emerge.

And that is what we wanted all along, not (just) a Galleria MALL downtown with no street.

07-28-2004, 11:29 PM
I'm just not so sure a mall type development would work any longer for the Galleria site. I think individual stores would probably work better. I think the current state of 50 Penn Place is a good excuse not to follow that rend. The retail end of 50 Penn lace is now mostly vacant......most of the stores at 50 Penn Place have either located in Nichols Hills Plaza (easy access, individual stores) or Penn Square Mall. It seems like more and more people in today's society are going away from the mall concept and more for convenience. People hate having to park at the big mall, and walk through all that space just to go to one store. People like the convenience of being able to park in front of the store, and go directly into the store they want to go to. That's why Utica Square in Tulsa is having such a resurgence! That's why most smaller malls have been turned into shopping centers (like French Market Mall). I'm not suggesting that we should build a strip mall downtown, but instead, we should build something more like Utica Square.....a shopping village of some type! Market Square in San Antonio is a good example.

Your suggestion reminds me a lot of West End Market Place in Dallas' West End. Unfortunately, last I heard the Market Place isn't doing so well!