View Full Version : Dell on the Oklahoma River????

07-20-2004, 09:47 PM
Sorry, guys, I was out of town the past few days, and haven't had much time to add to the forum.

Anyways, I thought this announcement that was made today was great regarding Dell. Obviously, I don't want to see all office space built on the Oklahoma River, but I think a mix of nice office campuses (similar to what's being built along Memorial Rd. east of Hefner Parkway), and apartments, restaurants, and retail would be great!

I just hope Dell's campus is more in line with what we see at Chesapeake, and not a one or two story structure. A 4 story, or even taller office complex would look nice. Something built like Chesapeake would look nice along the river, since we're wanting to create both an urban and a residential feel!!!

Having Dell locate on the Oklahoma River would sure give the company an OKC presence!!!!

Anyways, it's not a done deal, but I thought it was interesting.

What do you guys think?

Here's the article:

"Council to discuss Dell package

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett will meet with council members today in executive session to discuss a proposed incentives package aimed at luring Dell Inc. to build a computer sales center along the south shore of the Oklahoma River.

Cornett said the company is mulling locations in Norman and Oklahoma City, but he thinks a decision will be finalized within two weeks.

Incentives being discussed include the city building roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure, and donating land owned by the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority. The property also is in the city's Federal Empowerment Zone, making it eligible for tax-free bond financing, employment tax credits and other federal assistance.

"We're not any closer to a deal than we were last week," Cornett said. "But since we meet only every two weeks right now, I felt it important to discuss this with the council now."

Cornett visited Dell's Austin, Texas campus Friday, and saw how the possible location of up to 3,000 employees along the river might spark development along the urban waterway.

Cornett said the proposed city site would involve about 60 acres of city-owned land along the river, which previously was known as the North Canadian River.

"I think we've got the best site," Cornett said. "And with a development of this size, you would think there would be additional development nearby."

Pat Downes, development director for the riverfront authority, also emphasized a deal isn't final but added a waterfront site would be a significant boost to the city's effort to restore the river.

The city and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have spent more than $52 million the last few years to build dams, trails and parking lots, and to add landscaping and wetlands to the once-blighted seven-mile stretch.

A master plan for the riverfront suggests adding housing along the waterway a possibility that is enhanced by the creation of hundreds of jobs in the same area, Downes said.

"By creating jobs in the corridor, demands for housing and services would be forthcoming," Downes said. "And things of this nature can add a lot of credibility to what we're trying to accomplish."

07-22-2004, 07:56 PM
I've delayed posting on this thread because I wasn't sure that a Dell facility would provide the impetus for further development along the river. But I've come to think that city leaders are absolutely right to pay the attention in incentives they gave the folks in Round Rock, Texas. And I do think that we have a better shot at the employer than Norman does (thanks for confirming, Patrick).

One of the first things I foresaw us placing on the river were corporate headquarters. Biotech companies, space tourism HQs (from the Burns Flat industry). A Dell sales facility isn't up to that par, but I like the message it sends to visitors and residents, that we're part of a tech economy. And instead of it being just another plant, why not give the building some class -- how about glass and black granite with a backlit blue "Dell" sign -- just like its chic desktops :D ?

Well, with proposals already underway for housing, I think the way to go is to for these multifamily housing developers to keep their potential residents -- Dell employees -- in mind. Create a community that they'll be attracted to. No more standard suburban multiple 2-4 unit apartment building communities with a sea of parking. How about apartment highrises, New Urbanist duplexes and walkups with garages and small individual lawns. 4-5 story condo communities with a common courtyard. All these with a commercial district that serves as the area's living room, with coffehouses, used bookstores, sidewalk cafes, bar-laundromats, cyberlounges.

A 250-person employer alone will not make things happen. But I'm comforted by the fact that talks are already underway for housing and that there is the potential for growth for Dell. Hopefully, things pick up to where by the time they DO locate on the river, they'll see the need to build a facility that houses over a thousand employees. But instead of the city saying, "Great! This is going to result in this and this..." they should say, "Okay, how can we have them work with ERC (or whoever) to make something that fits with this anchor?"

07-22-2004, 09:08 PM
floater, I'm like you. I wasn't necessarily hip about the location Dell was locating in OKC, but I was glad they were looking at OKC! Not sure Dell will spur any development on the Oklahoma River, but at least it gives the city a nice "high tech" name in the corporate mix!

Yeah, the last thing I'd like to see is an industrial complex builton the least this won't be that. The river needs to be reserved more for corporate offices, housing, retail, restaurants, etc. Hopefully the River Trust will come up with a good plan for organizing all of this. Instead of just aloowing scattered development along the river, it needs to be organized! For example, why not make a certain section for an office park! Have another for retail and restaurants. And another for residential complexes.

As you mention though, hopefully Dell will set the standard for what type of housing, retail, etc. will locate on the river. We need more upscale, high tech developments.

07-22-2004, 10:40 PM
Well, I know Dell has plans to hire around 3000 people total. I did some figuring, if the building along the river was a typical office building, it would have around 160 people per floor, at about 10,000 sq ft per floor, the building would be anywhere from 15 to 18 stories. That is a pretty nice-sized building.

I disagree Patrick...I think the coolest thing on the river would be to see this Dell building with residential building connected to the sides. Create a wall of buildings(New York, New York hotel in vegas, but not cheesy like that...unique buildings) and make people walk through the buildings or have sporadic openings in the buildings(groundlevel tunnels) for people to get to the riverfront. I think use of buildings need to alternate. Have an office, then residential, then hotel, etc. It would be a much cooler area that way.

07-22-2004, 10:51 PM
For some reason, knowing our city, I'm just not thinking this will be a high rise development, although I'd sure like it to be. I'm guessing it will be similar in nature to what you see out at Memorial and Hefner Parkway.....a sprawling office complex. Again, not exactly what I'd like to see, but usually what you see in a call center type facility! Unfortunately, there's tons of land along the river to be developed, so there's no incentive to build up!

I have no problem with Dell being located on the river, knowing what it's going to be now! I just wouldn't want an industrial plant to be built on the river. I think part of the problem Tulsa has with their river is the fact that there's way too much industry built up on the west side. I hope we avoid that here, and stick with more office type developments like Dell in addition to residential, retail, and hopefully high rise hotels.

I can see your view on wanting to mix the development, as long as it's done right! The River Trust just needs to come up with a Master Plan with restrictions and rules for development.

07-22-2004, 10:55 PM
I don't think a sprawling building would be that long as its attractive. But like I said, alternating the use of buildings and heights and widths of buildings would be very interesting.

I hate the plants on the river in Tulsa...I just hope that someday they will either go under or go away. I really think turning the old plants into shopping areas after remodeling them would be awesome. It would make a really interesting area to shop and live in.

07-22-2004, 11:04 PM
Can we say "Timber" to the oil refinery on the river as well? That would help the Arkansas River's appearance as well! If Tulsa could develop the west side of the river the same way it has developed the east side of the river, that would be a charm!

07-22-2004, 11:18 PM
I really like what is happening on the Arkansas right now. I forget how many proposals there are for the river right now...I think 13...but the river is really taking off. I hope to see some extremely upscale and unique developments soon. I think the Riverwalk Crossing was a really great start...along with the really set the bar high.

07-22-2004, 11:33 PM
I'm definitely glad to hear that, because Tulsa sure has something to work with in regards to the Arkansas River! We only wish we had it so easy here! Heck, we have to create our own river here!

07-23-2004, 08:58 PM
Well, the river is great in Tulsa, and I love the riverparks, but I almost wish the riverparks were on the west banks or the city would allow some sporadic development between the riverparks and the river! As it is, Tulsa will only have the west banks to develop on with mabye a few different things such as the river connection concept. OKC is in a good position IMO. Maybe the river isn't as great as the Arkansas in Tulsa, but if OKC does things right, then there could be a ton of awesome development on the Oklahoma river that Tulsa won't be able to have.

07-23-2004, 09:14 PM
IMO the primary activity on the river should be recreational. Trails and parks, followed by housing. We shouldn't have Northwest Expressway (or 71st) on the river. But we would be crazy not to use a river site as a bargaining chip to attract headquarters or significant employers, as with Dell.

As Patrick said, it's all in the planning. We need a plan to pinpoint what sites are suitable for what uses - and adhere to it. That's why I was pleased with the presentation about river development (Mayor's Development Roundtable link in the Planning Department section of; it indicates different uses at different places, as well as sites deemed "long term development". The site I think they have planned for Dell is one of those "long term" sites, next to planned housing, right opposite the Rand Elliott-designed Chesapeake Boathouse. This close proximity is why I hope the Dell building maintains the high design standard set by the boathouse. If you have industrial opposite class, it doesn't fit. You Tulsa people have seen this with the Public Service Company plant opposite your condos and apartments. What a view!!!

07-24-2004, 08:29 PM
Yeah, I agree with floater. We can use the river as a bargaining chip, as long as office complexes are as far as we go. Nicely planned office parks would look nicely on the river. But, I think we need to draw the line at that. I wouldn't want any industrial plants on the river. I know plants bring jobs to Oklahoma City, but IMO those can be built out west off I-40, or our east off I-240. That's whay we have those areas zoned industrial.

Yeah, I guess we do have some of any advantage over Tulsa in the fact that we have nothing on our river and thus get to dictate what we want to develop on it. But, at the same time, we won't have quite the landscaping Tulsa has on their river, nor will we have the beauty of the Arkansas River! The Arkansas River is huge, and it really makes Tulsa!

And nuclear, I'm beginning to see where you're coming from in regards to mixing different styles of developments. In Tulsa, the entire east river bank consists of parks and trails. The apartments are across Riverside and not even really close to the river. In OKC, I hope that our apartments are built close to the river, without a street in between, and I hope the trails are parks intermingle between the development. Similar in nature to the Sonic Building in has trails surrounding it and in front of it, but it will have a restaurant on one side, and a hotel on the other! I like the idea of mixing the development!

On the river, instead of having all of the apartment complexes together in apartment row, we should have an apartment complex, then an office park, then a hotel and restaurants, then some condos, then another apartment complex, etc!

That would give the river a good mix of tenants.

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a housing addition built on the river as well.....make a segment similar to Ski Island!!! That would really mix up development! But, you wouldn't want to get too carried away with houses, as you'd probably want to focus more on high rise condos and apartments for your residential sections. I can envision high rise condos with nice balconies overlooking the river!

In Tulsa, IMO, the parks were put in the wrong place......the apartments should've been moved closer to the they are situated now, from apartment balconies, you just don't have that great a view of the river!

07-24-2004, 08:39 PM
I don't know if OKC should allow neighborhood housing on the river. I just can't see a suburban type housing addition near downtown OKC and around mid/high rise buildings. It just wouldn't give the river the feel that it needs.

As for mixed development, it is the only way to go. Because if you have a group of apartments here, then offices, a hotel, retail, then restaurants, those people who live in the apartments are going to have to drive to get their. I guess they could always take a water taxi, but if I was living there, I would rather have a mix of things around me instead of having to walk to everything and it be far off. So like you said patrick, mixing them up would be the best. Then OKC needs to put some large trees and trails behind the complexes, between the road/parking and the actual buildings. It would serve as a sound barrier, give beauty, and be a great place for all the people living on the river to walk and talk. If I could change one thing about the Arkansas in Tulsa, it would be to do what I just described.

07-24-2004, 09:01 PM
Well, I do see a place for some single-family housing along the river, but as you say, nuclear, not surburban-style additions. I would even allow a mansion or two (for visual interest); but the owners would have to agree to some type of public access along the shorefront. That's the key to any successful riverfront development -- continuous public access.

No, what I see as acceptable single-family housing is what is considered New Urbanist -- much denser, with various archictectural styles and mixed with multifamily housing, at all income levels. We are not talking about master planned communities with a predomination of 2,500 square foot homes with 2+ acre lots. The residential streets would feed into a taut commercial district that serves as the neighborhood's living room.

We are talking about seven miles of riverfront; that seems like a lot, but we don't have to hurry to get things going. Let's take a deep breath with every proposal and choose with as much selectivity as Simon is with Penn Square. As my dad likes to say, Rome wasn't built in a day! It shouldn't be.

07-24-2004, 09:17 PM
I agree no suburban style housing additions, but maybe some European style townhouse communities, and a few mansions here and there like floater mentions. I'd allow a small area for developers to build homes, but require that the homes take on a look of an older era, like Crown Heights, Heritage Hills or something like that! Not sure if any of you have been to Corpus Christi, but they have a gorgious mansion district right on the sea wall just outside of downtown (south I believe)! In my opinion, it's the most gorgious area in Corpus Christi.
But, I wouldn't want the houses to be like Gaillardia or anything like that. I would have to take on an old English look!

I like nuclear's proposal for development along the river. The mix is definitely the best way to go! And like I said, the apartments need to be right on the river, with balconies overlooking the river, unlike in Tulsa! We have plenty of river to work with! I know we can do it right!

Water Taxi stops should be at every major attraction or complex (depending on the size of the don't want too many stops!!). Can you just imagine.....youn professionals living on the Oklahoma River taking a water taxi to work in downtown?? :) That would be awesome!
Anyways, each major attraction definitely needs a good sized dock for loading and unloading of the water taxis. And Water Taxi tickets for either the Bricktown boats or the Oklahoma River boats could be purchased at the apartment complex offices, info desk at the office complex, any of the restaurants, hotel check in desk, etc. I wouldn't see the need for Water Taxi to man every dock with a sales person.

07-24-2004, 09:20 PM
Now your're thinking Patrick -- put those water taxis to real commuter use!

07-24-2004, 09:22 PM
Whatever kind of water taxis they put on the OK river, they need to be able to go in the riverwalk too. I know that might be hard, but if I was traveling down the river and wanted to go into the canal, I would hate to have to get out and go through another line to get on a taxi to go in the canal. And vice-versa.

07-24-2004, 09:23 PM
Hmmmm. Anyone want to connect it all with commuter rail too??? :) Just kidding!

I like the commuter water taxi idea. Afterall, that's the way Norm Bekoff originally envisioned it....that's how his father runs business in Ft. Lauderdale! Sounds like a plan to me! Better than mowing the N. Canadian River twice a summer! :)

07-24-2004, 09:28 PM
Hey nuclear, problem with that idea is that the boats that they're going to use on the Oklahoma River are quite a bit larger than the ones they're using on the Bricktown canal. The boats on the Bricktown canal seat about 25 and have 25 horse NG motors, with a top speed of maybe 5 MPH, if you're lucky. That wouldn't get you very far very quickly on the Oklahoma River. They're looking at 50 to 100 passenger boats for the Oklahoma River with top speeds of maybe
30 - 40 MPH, although they wouldn't likely make it up that high, but at least the boats would have more power!.

The boats will come up Zone G of the canal though and dock there. You'll have to get off the river boat to get on a canal boat. The canal and Zone G of the canal (the part that comes up out of the river) are at different elevations.....far too great to join the two.

I'm sure Water Taxi will have a pricing option where you can buy an all day pass that will allow you to get on both boats though, so you won't have to wait in line twice for tickets.

07-24-2004, 09:31 PM
I have a solution...make the river boats really skinny so the can fit down the canal...and then to give the people some entertainment, the boats can get going fast and ramp up into the canal! JK.

That sucks that they are at different levels. Oh Well, as long as OKC makes it as convenient as possible!

07-24-2004, 09:32 PM
Hasn't the city already looked at the option of some kind of transit that goes from the Zone G dock into downtown?

07-24-2004, 09:47 PM
Yeah......until an extension of the canal is made, or until the south canal is better linked to Zone G (right now there's a rail road line separating the two, so you can't get from one segment to the other), the city plans on providing transportation from the end of Zone G to Bricktown via trolley (the rubber wheeled trolleys). This would only be temporary though until the two segments are better connected either through a canal extension or trails. A bridge would have to be built for the railroad line. A lot of the hold up on all of this concerns the I-40 re-alignment! That will have to be completed first. So we're looking at a few years!

This temporary transportation will start once river cruises begin on the river.

07-25-2004, 08:13 AM
Here is an intersting article about Dell and the other things that it could bring. Also, it's just speculation, but the article mentions something about 1,000 jobs from Microsoft!

07-25-2004, 12:31 PM
I wonder if Dell locating riverside would mean they could ship items from the call center (retorical and lol). At least the employees could ride the riverboats to work and Dell could have parking at the old string of pearls lot. :p

07-25-2004, 08:07 PM
Hehe, at least we should see Dell employees shipped to Bricktown for lunch!! How could Norman top that? The Sooner Schooner to Ed Noble Parkway?

If Dell's reputation for site selection is as respected as this article says it is, it could be the dawn of some delayed tech-related job growth. While the industry is a shadow of its booming 90s self, it helps OKC by further diversifying the employer base. I see no reason why a Microsoft wouldn't want us! Instead of all those MIS grads leaving for other states, maybe we can keep 'em here!!

07-25-2004, 09:11 PM
If Dell built a corporate campus on the river, it would be a HUGE attractor of new residential and retail projects in the riverfront area. That area will be ripe for development once I-40 is moved, all it needs is an anchor corporation. Hopefully Dell is that anchor. OKC should encourage biotech companies to locate there too.

07-26-2004, 10:58 PM
That woud be pretty cool riding a water taxi to work!!! It could happen! Sounds like it will happen!

10-14-2004, 03:28 PM
I spoke to a woman at Dell today and asked her if the location has been selected.

Answer: Yes. Where: Classified, and will be announced October 29.

My bet. The Oklahoma River.

10-14-2004, 06:51 PM
Hmmm. Thanks for the information mranderson. I'm sorry that we have to wait until October 29th, but I'll be happy to hear the news. Regardless of what location is selected, it will be a boost to the local area. Out of the two possible sites selected, I am hoping for the Oklahoma River site though. I had heard that Dell was looking at other sites on the river.........maybe they'll choose a better site than the one originally proposed. That would be nice! There's plenty of land available between Zone G of the canal and the Eastern Avenue dam. A nice call center on the north side of the river just across from the Native American Cultural Center might be nice!

10-14-2004, 08:41 PM
Yeah, I'd bet that's where it will be. Last week or a couple weeks ago, downtownguy's blog hinted at major things coming shortly to the river. That coincides with this...

It's all coming together.

10-14-2004, 09:06 PM
The best thing about this is that it's all just the beginning...

On the Riverside section between the new I-40 (over which a pedestrian bridge will pass), ODOT maps show a greensward from the intestate to the "Great Lawn" fronting the river. I am SO happy about this. I envisioned a green mall between the Fred Jones lot all the way to the river, and it turns out that will happen for at least the half south of I-40!!

I think this area is ripe for innovative multifamily and dense single-family housing. The greenspace will be a great place for neighborhood kids to play and serve as a gorgeous bridge to the river. There will indeed be soccer fields just facing the interstate, so it all fits.

10-14-2004, 09:09 PM
It's gonna be great! I can't wait to see this develop.