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  1. #1

    Default Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge


  2. #2

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    I would have to agree with the people interviewed. The lack of a grocery store is a slight downside, otherwise it has been very positive. I basically dragged my husband downtown, and he has had to grudgingly admit that it's been great.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    With a grocery store would there be any possible downsides left?

  4. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    "Lack of a grocery store" is so overblown. When I was living in Edmond with my folks as a kid, we drove 3-4 miles to the grocery store. When I lived near NW 63rd and Villa, after the NW 63rd & May Homeland became a CompUSA and the French Market IGA became a Quizno's & other things, the closest decent grocery store was several miles away. Now, living on the north edge of downtown, there is a Homeland less than a mile away, there is a Buy for Less AND a Wal-Mart Neighborhood market what... ...2-1/2 miles west?

    Think about people in Nichols Hills, Belle Isle, a lot of suburban NW neighborhoods, Edmond, wherever: TONS of them drive 2, 3, 4 miles to shop for groceries. Living in downtown is no different. And downtown OKC is not at a point where you can really survive 100% without a car, so basically you're at worst in the same situation as a large number of people elsewhere in OKC; you need to drive a bit to buy groceries. No big deal.

    Now, would it be nice to have NICER places downtown or close to? No doubt.

    I'll also say this: people seem to have this fantasy that if a WF or Trader Joes or whatever magically gets plopped down wherever downtown that it will be a utopian dream where they walk to the market and buy their groceries and carry them home, probably while skipping. They also seem to think that they'll walk from Deep Deuce or Park Harvey or wherever to 10th and Walker or wherever the store plops down. Or vice-versa.

    I have news for everybody: most people buy more than one bag of grocs when they shop these days, and unless you live right next door to wherever the market magically plops, you'll probably still be driving to grab your haul of grub. At that point one block or one mile is really not THAT different. Undoubtedly a streetcar will change that situation quite a bit for people who live very close to the streetcar line, but I still doubt you will see people with 5 bags of chow waiting for the streetcar. ESPECIALLY if they live a block or two (or three or four) from the line, which is a perfectly good distance for walking to and from the streetcar stop for a ride to work or Bricktown, or the park, or Midtown, or wherever, but not so much when hefting a watermelon, a gallon of milk, 12 pack of of pop and three bags of meat and frozen veggies.

    My point is that for the foreseeable future even downtown folks will still probably own cars and use them from time to time, and at that point our CURRENT grocery store situation is really not that different from a lot of people in the 'burbs. If "grocery store inconvenience" the only thing keeping people from moving downtown, they have the wrong info and probably haven't considered how far they are already driving.

    OVER. BLOWN.

    /rant
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  5. #5

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    "Lack of a grocery store" is so overblown. When I was living in Edmond with my folks as a kid, we drove 3-4 miles to the grocery store. When I lived near NW 63rd and Villa, after the NW 63rd & May Homeland became a CompUSA and the French Market IGA became a Quizno's & other things, the closest decent grocery store was several miles away. Now, living on the north edge of downtown, there is a Homeland less than a mile away, there is a Buy for Less AND a Wal-Mart Neighborhood market what... ...2-1/2 miles east?

    Think about people in Nichols Hills, Belle Isle, a lot of suburban NW neighborhoods, Edmond, wherever: TONS of them drive 2, 3, 4 miles to shop for groceries. Living in downtown is no different. And downtown OKC is not at a point where you can really survive 100% without a car, so basically you're at worst in the same situation as a large number of people elsewhere in OKC; you need to drive a bit to buy groceries. No big deal.

    Now, would it be nice to have NICER places downtown or close to? No doubt.

    I'll also say this: people seem to have this fantasy that if a WF or Trader Joes or whatever magically gets plopped down wherever downtown that it will be a utopian dream where they walk to the market and buy their groceries and carry them home, probably while skipping. They also seem to think that they'll walk from Deep Deuce or Park Harvey or wherever to 10th and Walker or whever the store plops down. Or vice-versa.

    I have news for everybody: most people buy more than one bag of grocs when they shop these days, and unless you live right next door to wherever the market magically plops, you'll probably still be driving to grab your haul of grub. At that point one block or one mile is really not THAT different. Undoubtedly a streetcar will change that situation quite a bit for people who live very close to the streetcar line, but I still doubt you will see people with 5 bags of chow waiting for the streetcar. ESPECIALLY if they live a block or two (or three or four) from the line, which is a perfectly good distance for walking to and from the streetcar stop for a ride to work or Bricktown, not so much when hefting a watermelon, a gallon of milk, 12 pack of of pop and three bags of meat and frozen veggies.

    My point is that for the foreseeable future even downtown folks will still probably own cars and use them from time to time, and at that point our CURRENT grocery store situation is really not that different from a lot of people in the 'burbs. If "grocery store inconvenience" the only thing keeping people from moving downtown, they have the wrong info and probably haven't considered how far they are already driving.

    OVER. BLOWN.

    /rant
    Precisely.

    However, I would like to say that my mother, who is in her 70s, rides her bike to the grocery store and carries her groceries in both a basket on the front of her bike and/or a backpack. I used to do grocery shopping by bike as a college student as well, and, if we had a grocery store downtown, would probably resume that activity. But, until then I will drive, and as mentioned, no further than most other people drive to grocery shop.

  6. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Oops. I meant 2-1/2 miles WEST.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  7. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    urbanized, I dont think it is overblown.

    the key think about living downtown is that you have URBAN options where you could walk or ride; that are convenient to you. This would promote people not even having a car, yet walking or riding a bike or taking transit in a heavily densely populated and urbanized area. This includes a grocery store, pharmacy, and other amenities that make a city - a city.

    I dont think it is being overblown and is a real concern that OKC should address. Once again, the idea of living, working, playing in downtown - means that people should be able to do it without a car; since a highly urbanized area with transit would make a car obsolete.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanized View Post
    Living in downtown is no different. And downtown OKC is not at a point where you can really survive 100% without a car, so basically you're at worst in the same situation as a large number of people elsewhere in OKC; you need to drive a bit to buy groceries.
    Does it have to be that way?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    In New York, you can pay a tip and have them delivered! I would do this if it was more than a two-bag run to D'Agostino!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    There used to be a service just like what you're talking about. Sign in to the computer on your account, select your groceries even down to the brand name and they would be delivered to you. I thought Kamps was the ones doing it years ago, but I've slept since then.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    I remember us using those services as a kid but I think it and other odd dot.com businesses went away after the dot.com bubble burst.

  12. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    I NEVER said it was something the city should not address. I said it is a really idiotic reason to not live downtown right now. It's a red herring. Your grocery-shopping situation while living downtown is no different than most people in the suburbs.

    Now, would having a truly downtown-located grocery store show up be a huge boon for development and for everyone down here already? Absolutely. Heck, it will just be one more arrow in the "downtown is better" quiver. At the point where a market is bikeable or walkable it will be one more thing that makes downtown living superior to suburban living, at least in my opinion.

    But -- and I say this as someone who has officed downtown for the better part of 20 years, who has volunteered and been a staff member for downtown development organizations, someone who has ownership in one downtown business and operates another, someone who has lived on the edge of downtown for years, and has lived a "downtown" lifestyle even before it was "cool" in OKC -- the day when it is truly PRACTICAL to live anywhere in OKC, even downtown, without owning a car is at least a decade away. Probably more.

    Does that mean that we should stop striving to that end? Absolutely not. That should be the gold standard for what we are trying to do downtown; offer that type of lifestyle. THAT is the point at which all of our downtown efforts will have come to fruition.

    In the meantime, however, living downtown is NO MORE DIFFICULT than living in the 'burbs, at least as far as grocery shopping goes. OVER. STATED.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  13. #13

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    From what I have seen in other cities I have lived in, the city subsidized the cost of operation of the downtown grocery stores they were able to land. 24-hour security was the main additional cost while lower sales and margins were the secondary issue. Dallas subsidized the Cityplace shopping area for a while and Denver subsidized the shopping area south of downtown on Broadway where there is a grocery, a Sams club and some other shops. Would all of you be willing to allow OKC to subsidize a private enterprise in this way?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    So, what is going to happen to the Crescent Market when Whole Foods moves in a few blocks away. Maybe the city could lure the local Crescent Market to midtown or somewhere downtown.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    I can't really see Crescent Market moving downtown, but perhaps I'm wrong. They have higher prices, and their appeal is location and service. It is true they would corner the downtown market, and I certainly would pay those prices to have close-in shopping, but I don't know how many other people feel that way. If they were located someplace like Midtown, where they could lure the Heritage Hills shoppers, then it might work.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    That's where they used to be..eons ago. One of Plaza Court's original tenants. There's space available between Prairie Thunder and the Subway, but not enough for the Crescent Market, unfortunately.

  17. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    And before that, they were downtown proper. Crescent Market is one of the oldest businesses in OKC, predating statehood. They were established right after the land run.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

  18. #18

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by mugofbeer View Post
    From what I have seen in other cities I have lived in, the city subsidized the cost of operation of the downtown grocery stores they were able to land. 24-hour security was the main additional cost while lower sales and margins were the secondary issue. Dallas subsidized the Cityplace shopping area for a while and Denver subsidized the shopping area south of downtown on Broadway where there is a grocery, a Sams club and some other shops. Would all of you be willing to allow OKC to subsidize a private enterprise in this way?
    Didn't we make some sweet "subsidized deal" with Bass Pro, in order to kick start Bricktown retail??

  19. #19

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    One of the things that has kept me from moving into downtown isn't the cost or the lack of grocery stores, but a general lack of amenities. Now this might have changed since the last time I looked, but I know I had a lot of trouble finding dry cleaners, delis or other places that pre-make food for folks who don't have time, and things like that. Those are the types of things we should be thinking about for our downtown and its likely inhabitants... But instead we collectively seem to dwell on the more suburban issues of grocery shopping. I don't get it.

    And yeah it was Kamps, and I think they stopped. And the big .com company was Peapod.com, and they're still around.

  20. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by dismayed View Post
    One of the things that has kept me from moving into downtown isn't the cost or the lack of grocery stores, but a general lack of amenities. Now this might have changed since the last time I looked, but I know I had a lot of trouble finding dry cleaners, delis or other places that pre-make food for folks who don't have time, and things like that. Those are the types of things we should be thinking about for our downtown and its likely inhabitants... But instead we collectively seem to dwell on the more suburban issues of grocery shopping. I don't get it.

    And yeah it was Kamps, and I think they stopped. And the big .com company was Peapod.com, and they're still around.
    This was me. I decided, based on exactly what you said, to buy a condo elsewhere. I realized I couldn't make that kind of investment of money as some kind of pioneer in hopes that things would change. If it didn't, that kind of big investment would have been, for me, a mistake.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeOKC View Post
    This was me. I decided, based on exactly what you said, to buy a condo elsewhere. I realized I couldn't make that kind of investment of money as some kind of pioneer in hopes that things would change. If it didn't, that kind of big investment would have been, for me, a mistake.
    You know I just don't get it. It seems to me like it should be relatively easy to create some sort of downtown incentive district that gives big sales tax breaks to dry cleaners, delis, shipping stores, tailors, hourly rentable office/meeting space, and on and on but it just doesn't seem to happen.

    I've decided that I think our city planners mean well, as do the citizens, but we simply do not have enough people in city government and in advocacy groups here that have lived in big cities before and know what to look for.

    That being the case, why the heck has OKC not hired a consultant from, oh I don't know, New York, Chicago, etc.?

    Do we have such consultants on staff? Does anyone know? I am really curious about this now.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by dismayed View Post
    One of the things that has kept me from moving into downtown isn't the cost or the lack of grocery stores, but a general lack of amenities. Now this might have changed since the last time I looked, but I know I had a lot of trouble finding dry cleaners, delis or other places that pre-make food for folks who don't have time, and things like that. Those are the types of things we should be thinking about for our downtown and its likely inhabitants... But instead we collectively seem to dwell on the more suburban issues of grocery shopping. I don't get it.

    And yeah it was Kamps, and I think they stopped. And the big .com company was Peapod.com, and they're still around.
    There's a drycleaners on 5th and Broadway that we use, thanks to Doug's recommendations. As far as pre-made food, you can do take-out at any of the restaurants. We live right by Leo's barbecue, Sage Gourmet, all the Bricktown restaurants. There aren't that many places in Oklahoma City that pre-make food regardless. I think almost anyone would have to drive to a place like that. You can walk to the movies, several coffee shops, the Ford Center, the Civic Center, the Museum of Art, the Brick, go bowling at Red Pin, etc. There are hardly any places in OKC that have that many amenities that close by, to be honest with you. I walk far, far, far more than I did at my previous house. Like, all the time. Getting ready to walk to the movies at Harkins in less than an hour.

    We have to drive to the pharmacy, but there are multiple ones over on 23rd and Classen, which is no farther than I had to drive before I moved downtown. I've been lobbying CVS and Walgreens to do one over by St. Anthony's or the Health Sciences Center, or by us, any of which I think makes perfect sense.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by dismayed View Post
    You know I just don't get it. It seems to me like it should be relatively easy to create some sort of downtown incentive district that gives big sales tax breaks to dry cleaners, delis, shipping stores, tailors, hourly rentable office/meeting space, and on and on but it just doesn't seem to happen.

    I've decided that I think our city planners mean well, as do the citizens, but we simply do not have enough people in city government and in advocacy groups here that have lived in big cities before and know what to look for.

    That being the case, why the heck has OKC not hired a consultant from, oh I don't know, New York, Chicago, etc.?

    Do we have such consultants on staff? Does anyone know? I am really curious about this now.
    I don't think that consultants from those large, established cities can provide as good of advice in growing "essentials" in the downtown area as some from other areas who have had to work at getting those businesses into an emerging urban district. It is a completely different market dynamic, luring a store to open in NYC or Chicago is a much easier proposition because of an established residential population already in place.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Quote Originally Posted by betts View Post
    I've been lobbying CVS and Walgreens to do one over by St. Anthony's or the Health Sciences Center, or by us, any of which I think makes perfect sense.
    There is a Wahlgreens in St. Anthony, now. Opened last year I think.

  25. Default Re: Seasoned downtown residents who took chance on area are glad they took plunge

    Trouble finding a dry cleaners? Fashion Cleaners, on 6th between Robinson and Broadway has been there for decades. It's high volume. Grace Cleaners on W. Main was there when there were still streetcars prowling downtown. There is a drop-off-only type cleaners (the service is done offsite) on Walker at about Dean A. McGee.

    I think ALL of the places mentioned exist. Plus doctors' offices (multiple), florists, barber shops, hair salons, bakeries, auto repair places, pharmacies, tailors, card shops, banks, a tag agency, FedEx Kinkos... ...you might have to look for them, but that's no different than moving into ANY new neighborhood. Add that in with all of the amenities that you can't get anywhere else: museums, performing arts venues, massive library, professional sports, entertainment districts... ...I just don't think "lack of amenities" holds much water.

    To me, believe it or not, I think the most legitimate gripes a downtown resident could have right now have to do with lack of diverse late-night weekday dining options (including, but by far not limited to, fast food) within walking distance and limited close-by green space.
    NOTICE: I WORK FOR A DOWNTOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

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