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Thread: OKC Performance

  1. Default OKC Performance

    I attended the NCAA wrestling championships this past weekend. I stayed in a hotel with my parents who live in Tulsa. Here is my recap.

    We went to bricktown for every meal. There were six of us and I think we spent close to $1000 on food and drinks during those three days. The wrestling fans make nationals a big party. I would say that 75% of the crowd is the same every year. It is a hell of a time.

    The main problem with bricktown was that they closed the kitchens too early. The restaurants were obviously not informed about the time of the sessions. We left the session early on Thursday night to get a table at Bourbon Street. The waiter came to our table to tell us that they were closing the kitchen in 15 minutes. This was at about 10:30. I told them that the crowds were about to get big. He told me that is what they thought, but that the crowds never came. I informed him that there were 15,000 people at the Ford Center that were about to crash Bricktown. Needless to say, my parents didn't get to eat and while we were waiting for a taxi, we had to inform over 50 people that the kitchen was closed.

    In the future, someone needs to make sure the restaurants know the schedule of the events. There was a rumor that Half Time ran out of liquor on Friday night. I would not be suprised... the wrestling fans throw it down.

    The NCAA aquired every room downtown for the teams and media. That was a pain. I look forward to the addition of the new hotels, but we need more. For events like this, every fan would stay downtown if they could.

    My friends from other parts of the country were suprised by the lack of retail downtown. We have discussed that topic at length on this site...

    The next time, I think Bricktown will be ready for the wrestling fans. There will be more hotels and retail. We will make a strong case to host this event every year. I hope to see a rotation between us and St. Louis... I am not looking forward to Detroit next year.

  2. #2

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    Hi TS,

    Sorry your parents did not get to eat, that's not good. In defense of Bricktown, the Bricktown Association did a really good job of getting the word out to their members. I am 100% positive that the restaurant that you visited was aware of the schedule. The break schedule was distributed to the restaurants multiple times and All Sports and the OU coaches attended a Bricktown meeting to stress the importance of accommodating these guests (and their thirst level!). Unfortunately, there is no way to make a business adhere to the schedule.

    Regarding retail, yep, we all want some and as we always say, it will come when we have a larger 24/7 population. Hopefully next time the fans visit it will be there for them along with many new hotel rooms.

    Hope that the rest of the trip went well. I will pass your message on to the Bricktown Association.

    Kim

  3. #3

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    The NCAA aquired every room downtown for the teams and media. That was a pain. I look forward to the addition of the new hotels, but we need more. For events like this, every fan would stay downtown if they could.
    Ding Ding! We have a winner. Unfortunately, all we seem to be interested in is keeping ties with our McHotel developers like Hammonds (is that his name). If we really want to be a convention and event center, they all need to be able to stay in the convention district. Will the 4 smaller hotels that we know are coming online (Colcord, Skirvin, Embassy, Hampton Inn) be enough to accommodate events like this? Probably not. They'll just get to charge more when it happens. At least the Colcord and the Skirvin will add something in terms of variety to the district.

    they were closing the kitchen in 15 minutes. This was at about 10:30.
    This is a problem all the time, imo. There is nothing but fast food to eat after 10:30 in OKC. They should at least be flexible. The food industry in BT needs to master this. They seem to whine that they don't get the event traffic that they want, but maybe it's just their reputation preceding them???

    Regarding retail, yep, we all want some and as we always say, it will come when we have a larger 24/7 population. Hopefully next time the fans visit it will be there for them along with many new hotel rooms.
    This makes sense, but couldn't an ambitious and visionary developer get started? Who wants to be first? Space is limited and most of lower bricktown and its canal properties have been pissed away. It seems to me that Quail Springs was built before they came? At least when talking about its immediate surroundings. A galleria mall was proposed in the 70s and I think even less people lived downtown. Wouldn't a quality shopping area draw from all over the city as our other malls do?

    What was the justification for Bass Pro? I think it was as an anchor for retail. In that regards, it may have failed, probably due to its unsynergistic and narrow specialty. Should we maybe try again and finance an anchor or retail development that actually makes sense? One that can serve the whole city across demographics and interests?

    Sorry, I’m rambling, but in terms of making OKC a destination for major events and conventions, services downtown are key and it seems like the little that bricktown provides isn't even executed correctly. The market seems to be there and growing. I think we have spent enough of our own money on development, but why can't we find any ambitious private developers? Who's in charge of doing this? Do you think we can find them and ask them what our barriers to attracting major developments are at this point?

    I know you need residents, but I don't think there is going to be enough residential population in downtown alone to support what we're talking about for a long time, but does there have to be? Would the a major retail development not draw from the entire city? I know the theater does, just like those at the mall, so why not retail at large?

  4. #4

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    What was the justification for Bass Pro? I think it was as an anchor for retail. In that regards, it may have failed, probably due to its unsynergistic and narrow specialty. Should we maybe try again and finance an anchor or retail development that actually makes sense? One that can serve the whole city across demographics and interests?
    I couldn't agree more. BP being an anchor for retail has failed miserably. I would rather see the city finance a shopping mall or to re-birth the Galleria concept. I'm confident it would be a worthwhile investment that would work. Especially with the current state of Heritage Park Mall and Crossroads. Penn and Quail are the only real malls in the area. Penn caters more upscale but space is limited. Downtown could be a prime target to do it right and build a larger place for more upscale retail to continue.

  5. Default Re: OKC Performance

    A while back before moving to Texas, my wife and I entertained the idea of living downtown. We thought it would be great to be next to all of the action happening downtown.

    However, one of the criteria when we locate somewhere is proximity to adequate and decent shopping. Bricktown received a big fat F in this category. Why stick it out and drive all the way to the Belle Isle Wal-Mart, which isn't great to begin with? We considered this three years ago. Today, there is still no shopping downtown, and there is little sign of that changing.
    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    Why stick it out and drive all the way to the Belle Isle Wal-Mart, which isn't great to begin with?
    I don't know, but why drive an equal distance when you want to do something fun? I realize what you're saying, but I guess it kind of works both ways. I don't live downtown, but I do live in an area that my piers in the sticks think has no services, but they all drive in to go out in the area by which I live. I guess I just don't want my play time to feel like an errand.

    Anyway, it is a very valid point and many people in OKC do not like to be far from a Wall-Mart (but please NEVER build one downtown) or some sort of mass merchandiser. Hopefully, downtown's retail will develop more organically. But I think in our "retail follows rooftops" discussions we're failing to make the distinction between residential services and those that appeal to tourists as well. Even Bass Pro does okay, despite being so out of place, but it's design and placement fails to bring as much pedestrian cross traffic as hoped. You literally have to walk through a parking lot and past your car again if you're going to shop or eat anywhere else after shopping at BP.

    For example, a grocery store definitely follows rooftops. They need weekly and daily regular customers nearby that can help them survive on their slim margin business model and a tourist does little to no grocery shopping. However, a Nordstrom's doesn't need rooftops right next door. Those types of places follow money, as much as rooftops. If there's enough foot traffic and the city as a whole could support it, any large retailer would do well. Even Bass Pro does okay, despite being so out of place, but it's design and placement fails to bring as much pedestrian cross traffic as hoped. You literally have to walk through a parking lot and past your car again if you're going to shop or eat anywhere else after shopping at BP.

    Another way to do it is to group several smaller unique retailers, like fashion forward shops, specialty clothes, nick-nack dealers, boutiques, specialty food and snacks, coffee shops, delis, cafes, etc. Then you have several new and interesting things in one place. Each on its own wouldn't draw more than a mile, but all together they create a destination and one in which even familiar things would be presented in a new way to tourists. Rooftops certainly help, but areas like Haight St., Greenwich village, Melrose Ave, etc. draw city wide and as many or more tourists as they do from neighborhood population.

    I honestly don't even know where you'd do this in Bricktown anymore. It honestly seems more like a job for Mid-Town or Uptown at this point. At the very least, I think Hogan’s deal next to the theater should be more retail plaza, than residential. I think that would be a great place for a plaza like a smaller version of Hollywood and Highland or Rodeo Collection. I think that would put at least one tourist satisfying shopping destination in the Bricktown area. Even if you sacrificed all of the residential proposed to do it, you're only losing maybe 30 units. I would have loved to seen the whole lower canal done this way. It really does seem like the canal is more nuiscance to developers down there, than value adding feature that they could try and incorporate into their designs as much as possible...

  7. Default Re: OKC Performance

    I'm thinking 4 story retail center with 3 or 4 stories of residential on top... and we need some residential to be in central-ish Bricktown. I think that building already has two floors of retail, doesn't it?

  8. Default Re: OKC Performance

    Malls are dying. People don't like to find a place to park, walk all that way to the mall and then walk inside the mall, especially if your destination is one store. I hate the idea of malls anywhere downtown. They'd be dead before they opened. For the Bricktown/River district I still want to see a boardwalk with retail, restaurants, entertainment....

  9. #9

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    Malls are dying. People don't like to find a place to park, walk all that way to the mall and then walk inside the mall, especially if your destination is one store.
    True, but building what is killing them, strip centers, would be worse. Lower bricktown is pretty much a strip center already and I don't think we should be going that route.

    I think the boardwalk idea would be great, because the area would a destination in and of itself.

  10. Default Re: OKC Performance

    But isn't a boardwalk really a strip center at heart? The difference is how well it's done and the absence of parking lots. We can have storefront shopping in Bricktown without building an indoor mall. Think the Plaza in Kansas City.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  11. #11

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    But isn't a boardwalk really a strip center at heart? The difference is how well it's done and the absence of parking lots. We can have storefront shopping in Bricktown without building an indoor mall. Think the Plaza in Kansas City.
    I think the main difference is that it's not fronted by acres of black top, which is really what we're all saying here. I don't think anyone is thinking indoor mall. We have too many of them already, only a couple of which are really successful. I think the only reason I mentioned them is that they show that retail can and does draw beyond it's immediate district. The exact wrong thing to do is to try and bring in similar retail options in a familiar package that only saturates the current options in OKC. Strip mall and indoor mall design does not add anything to the market or provide a unique experience for tourists.

    However, places like the Plaza in KC, 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica, several outdoor plaza's in LA, union square in SF, and even Michigan Ave or 5th Ave are really malls, in terms of the services they provide, except they are dressed in urban or semi-urban clothing. Nevertheless, these are successful tourist areas, even when the tenants are similar or even exactly like what the tourists have in their hometown malls. The difference is that most malls are boring and sterile environments. Outdoor plaza's and boardwalks add character and uniqueness to the experience, even if the actual shopping is familiar.

    Personally, I'd love to see a plaza or boardwalk comprised of more local tenants, where the draw is both the environment and the relative unavailability of the merchants and services to the region or beyond.

    I think the main failure of lower bricktown is the seemingly lack of flow it has from one merchant to the next and into bricktown, especially for pedestrians. In that sense, I think any retail development that is not dominated by black top and houses many merchants would be an improvement at this point. Ultimately, we want to fill the hotels and provide many services and merchant options in a setting that does not force them to trek through large surface parking lots to access all of them.

  12. Default Re: OKC Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by BDP
    Nevertheless, these are successful tourist areas, even when the tenants are similar or even exactly like what the tourists have in their hometown malls. The difference is that most malls are boring and sterile environments. Outdoor plaza's and boardwalks add character and uniqueness to the experience, even if the actual shopping is familiar.
    I think it's the character on top of shopping that most tourists don't have in their hometowns, or at least not around the corner from their house.

    I've been to the Plaza in KC and Union Square in SF, and the stores we went in were places like NikeTown, AppleStore (before we had it), Restoration Hardware, etc. We need that kind of exclusive shopping in Bricktown mixed with local places like Laughing Fish, Firefly, and Nonna's.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  13. Default Re: OKC Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by TStheThird
    ... I am not looking forward to Detroit next year.
    Where is it taking place at in Detroit?

  14. #14

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gato Pollo Loco!!!
    Where is it taking place at in Detroit?
    Palace of Auburn Hills, I presume...

  15. Default Re: OKC Performance

    Palace of Auburn Hills... I know that Auburn Hills is nice, but logistically, this trip is not going to be that great. I look forward to going back to St. Louis the following year, that is a good time.

  16. Default Re: OKC Performance

    I've always thought we need some sort of Outlet shops in Bricktown. Nike usually is a big anchor and other outlet shops are built around that. Locals and tourists alike love those ..
    " You've Been Thunder Struck ! "

  17. #17

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    Quote Originally Posted by Karried
    I've always thought we need some sort of Outlet shops in Bricktown. Nike usually is a big anchor and other outlet shops are built around that. Locals and tourists alike love those ..
    Not so much outlet, but a NIKETOWN would be awesome for Bricktown or downtown, possibly in the ho-hum Century Center?

  18. Default Re: OKC Performance

    The Nike store in Bologna, Italy was awesome.

  19. #19

    Default Re: OKC Performance

    We need that kind of exclusive shopping in Bricktown mixed with local places like Laughing Fish, Firefly, and Nonna's.
    That would be a coup. I don't think even the biggies that we mentioned do that very effectively. Most cities have kind of boutique areas and then major retail areas. If we could get them in one place, it would make for a great shopping experience. Unforatunetly, the presence of big guns often drives the rents up and out the range of small independants. But I think there's enough vanancy downtown where two retail districts, say brictown and mid-town, develop to compliment each other. Although, with Lower Bricktown used up with parking, I am not sure where it's going to happen in that district or adjacent. It'll be a differnt area when I-40 moves, though.

  20. Default Re: OKC Performance

    The NikeTown at Union Square in SF is 3 or 4 stories. It's pretty impressive. The kind of place I go into to look but not to buy.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

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