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Old Posted Jul 12, 2019, 11:24 PM
Peerson Peerson is offline
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I recently came across a wonderful write-up by Doug Loudenback about old (and long gone) theaters of OKC.
I've read a number of entries from Doug's website, but had missed this one.

Doug Dawgz Blog: Let's Go Downtown To The Movies

One particular photo caught my eye, mainly because the presence of the Colcord building makes it easy to figure out the location in regards to the modern city grid (not always an easy task).

The image looks like that because Doug took a picture of a mounted photo displayed in someone's home.
He couldn't stop the reflections bouncing off the glass cover from showing up, unfortunately.
Still a great historical photo.

The period of this is sometime around 1911-1915.
Had to be at least 1911, as that is when the Majestic Theatre opened.
The view is looking west along Grand Avenue, which is now known as Sheridan Avenue.

Here's a closeup of those storefronts, including the Majestic Theatre.

It's rather sad that the Colcord is pretty much the only building in that old photo that's still in existence today.

Where the old Baum building and storefronts once resided is now taken up by the Century Center and the Sheraton Hotel:



It's cool that modern streetcars now glide down the same stretch as they did way back then.
And the modern versions are far better and nicer than the rickety old trolleys of yesteryear.

But otherwise, it doesn' feel like progress to me.
The flat, modern structures inhabiting the space there now don't have the charm of those old storefronts with their intricate architecture.

But I guess the change had to come -- that era had passed.
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Old Posted Jul 13, 2019, 12:04 AM
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Latest pics of the Omni hotel and convention center

They're currently working on the tenth floor of the Omni -- seven more to go after that:


The convention center won't be nearly as tall as the hotel, but it's massive:


Edit: One more


Last edited by Peerson; Jul 13, 2019 at 3:25 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 13, 2019, 2:11 PM
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Dolese Bros. Relocation

Doles Bros., a concrete supplier, is moving its headquarters from downtown to north OKC.

They are relocating near Flix Brewhouse at American Fidelity's 9000 Broadway complex.
In fact, they will be immediately south of the upcoming Chicken N Pickle.


On this 6.2 acre site, a new 2 story HQ building will be constructed.
Design is by Butzer Architects.



The more interesting aspect of the Dolese relocation is the large tract of land left behind in downtown.

This is nearly 14 acres of prime real estate in the downtown area.

The site is already listed and ready for sale:

The old Dolese buildings are still there and could be renovated for new use.
More than likely, though, those buildings would be demolished by a new owner.

The area is large enough that it would probably makes sense for the site to be divided into about a dozen or more lots and then sold off and developed independently.

The east edge of the property abutting the railroad tracks somewhat reduces the appeal, as any new developments would have to deal with the train noise.
Still a great downtown property.

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Old Posted Jul 14, 2019, 1:47 PM
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Here's a nice pano of the park:

original: https://twitter.com/jakefisher/statu...53685126828032

Incidentally, the streetcar stop at Scissortail park is the only two-way stop in the route.
Social Capital OKC, the emerging beer garden, can be easily seen now poking out on the west end.

Speaking of Social Capital.... here's some closer looks:



Looking nice.

But somehow, all that white brick makes me think of an ice cream parlor, not a beer garden.
I guess that's just me.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2019, 3:08 PM
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While the new Scissortail Park gets all the attention these days, the Myriad Botanical Gardens is still king in downtown.





It's become such a fixture in dowtown activities.
Children's playground, dog park, bandshell with musical entertainment and movie screenings...


Not to mention that it's the wedding capital of OKC.
I think every reasonably nice day of the year, there's at least one wedding (usually many) held there.

And features keep being added such as the new carousel:


Will the new Scissortail Park and MBG clash and/or compete for visitors?
Or just nicely complement each other?

Of course, complementary roles are how the city planners expect things to go.
It's assumed that each park will adjust into slightly different niches for events.

The MBG is 15 acres, while the upper section of Scissortail Park is 40 acres.
The MBG bandshell area can accomodate 4,000 people while the great lawn at Scissortail will hold 15,000.

Maureen Heffernan, CEO/president of both the Myriad Gardens Foundation and the Scissortail Park Foundation, has commented:
...the nearby Myriad Botanical Gardens will complement, not compete with, the park.

“The scale of Myriad Gardens is sort of a boutique park,” she says. “At 15 acres, it’s more intimate in a way. It lends itself to a different feel.”

“We won’t plan competing festivals,” Heffernan says. “The way the city is growing, I think there are plenty of people to go both places.”

One ongoing bit of awkwardness is that there's no straightforward path for pedestrians to get from one park to the other.
The large Fred Jones area next to the arena is in right between, used most of the time as a parking for events.
Something will need to be done about that.
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Old Posted Jul 14, 2019, 4:09 PM
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Union Station renovation

Beautiful Union Station sits on the southern end of upper Scissortail Park.

Originally built in 1930, this 55,000 sf structure once served as a passenger railway station.
But it has not been used for this purpose for many decades.

Technically, it's currently the home of the Central Oklahoma Transporation and Parking Authority.
But they have mostly used it just for storage.

It is intended to be an integral part of the new park, but what role it would play wasn't certain from the outset.

Here's a rendering from Hargreaves (who designed the park):

Recently, the city commissioned a study by GSB (a local architectural firm) to determine various uses for the old gem.

Their recommendations include:
  • a park welcome center and gift shop
  • a cafe
  • several event halls
  • a history center
  • conference and meeting rooms
  • a classroom
  • tenant spaces
  • commercial kitchen
  • restrooms and offices for park administration.
Here are some of the details that came from their study.

A marble-lined tunnel that once led to train tracks would be leveled and used for small gatherings.

The centerpiece of the renovation would be the main waiting area, which would be converted to a multi-purpose room for a variety of events.
The old train ticket windows would become service areas for a bar.
All the hanging art deco light fixtures would be completely restored.

Here's the current waiting area (sorry, black-and-white):

And here's the rendering for the renovated waiting area:

Part of the south docks – once used primarily for mail delivery – would be converted to another multipurpose hall.


Rendering for the renovated south docks:

The plan also recommends new exterior lighting and landscaping.
There's more info at the link below.


Last edited by Peerson; Jul 15, 2019 at 2:26 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2019, 12:50 AM
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Camp Trivera - Girl Scouts STEM Camp

A new urban Girl Scouts camp is being constructed in the middle of OKC, near the zoo.

The usual scout camps are in rural areas featuring trails, hiking, horseback riding and other traditional fare.
But this will be an urban camp emphasizing the teaching of STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
This is apparently the first STEM camp that the Girl Scouts have ever built (though many more are planned).

This new place will be called Camp Trivera.
It will be built on a 17 acre site next to the Oklahoma City Zoo and close by the Science Museum.

It features a lodge with education and meeting room spaces, as well as bunk-rooms for overnight stays.
Also on site:
  • a zip-line tower (which will allow connection to/from the adjacant zoo)
  • several primitive camp sites
  • a pool
  • an amphitheater
  • an outdoor cooking pavilion
  • tree houses

Some renderings (they have provided quite a few!):

A groundbreaking was held for this back in January:

Despite the groundbreaking ceremonies, they are still collecting funds, and real construction has yet to commence.

It has been announced that the camp will be available for rental.
That is, the Girl Scouts will occupy the facility about 50 percent of the year.
The other half of the time, it can be used by companies, organizations, and families.

This rental feature is probably to help with the funding of the camp.

Fundraising started last year with the goal of $12 million.
Per their website, they have currently raised $10.25 million.

If all goes well, it should open sometime in 2020.


website: https://camp.gswestok.org/types-of-camp/camp-trivera

Last edited by Peerson; Jul 15, 2019 at 1:33 AM.
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2019, 2:23 PM
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2019, 9:44 PM
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Oak - formerly Penn Central

Introducing Oak - the development formerly known as Penn Central

I previously posted about Penn Central, a mixed-use development proposed for near Penn Square mall.

They have changed the name of this development to Oak -- taking inspiration from the 60 year old oak trees that abut the property.

Other quotes from the press release:
Formerly referred to as Penn Central, OAK will rise on nearly 20 acres at 5101 North Pennsylvania Ave., just south of Nichols Hills.
The mix of uses includes a boutique hotel, shops and restaurants with rooftop dining, Class A office space and luxury apartments.
OAK is expected to create 1,200 jobs and generate $130 million in revenue for the city.
The full press release is posted here:

They have enlisted Wakefield Beasley & Associates as architects.
Wakefield is known for designing mixed use complexes of this type - e.g. The Battery in Atlanta.

According to an article from the Oklahoman, several floors were added to the central office building of the complex.
This was in response to "strong interest" shown in office space at the project.

article: https://oklahoman.com/article/563629...to-okc-council

This hints that a letter of intent may have been signed by a potential anchor tenant.
Just an educated guess, keep in mind.

What is known for certain is that they intend to bring a mix of local, regional, and national brands to the complex, many of which are first-to-market for OKC.

A new rendering:

They have now set up a website and social media accounts.

website: http://www.oakokc.com
twitter: https://twitter.com/oak_okc

I think this is going to be pretty awesome.

Last edited by Peerson; Jul 16, 2019 at 10:15 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 16, 2019, 10:25 PM
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Wow they are betting big on this project. There must be a lot of confidence in the OKC futures market heh
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 2:01 PM
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Originally Posted by NYC2ATX View Post
Wow they are betting big on this project. There must be a lot of confidence in the OKC futures market heh
Betting big? It's a sure thing.......... right?

I do know this. The development group has been scooping up properties in the area for at least 3 or 4 years now.
So this is a long term project in the planning.

They've held numerous meetings with residents nearby for over a year, including offering cash bonuses for those willing to sign letters of approval.
They've now hired a prestigious architect for the work.

They are obviously serious, committed, and well financed.
The latest info suggests they are getting a lot of interest from possible tenants.
It looks very solid to me.

Last edited by Peerson; Jul 17, 2019 at 2:16 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 17, 2019, 2:15 PM
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New Embassy Suites - a hotel renovation

Originally built in the mid 1980's, this hotel on NW Expressway operated as a Marriott for many years.
It lost the Marriott flag, though, and has been known as the Tower Hotel since 2013.

That's Lake Hefner in the background.

In all the years it was operating, the hotel had never really been updated -- which is unusual.
It was getting badly out of date and going downhill.

At the end of 2017, Champion Hotels bought the property.
They are completely renovating it and plan to re-open as an Embassy Suites Hotel.
The room count is being lowered from 354 to 215.

As renovation first started, the long time bar Russell's Lounge closed down.

Even as the hotel was going down, Russell's Lounge had remained a popular local spot.

By spring of this year, the building had received a new white paint coat.
And the hexagonal building that held Russell's was being demolished.

In its place, a McAlister's Deli is planned to be built.

A new indoor pool is being constructed - the old outdoor pool is being converted to a patio with landscaping, firepits and lounging areas.
All the rooms and common areas, including the large ballrooms, are being completely redone.

Here's the latest pics of the progress (7-16-2019):

The new management is shooting for a fall opening.

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Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 1:42 PM
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The restoration of the State Capitol complex continues.

Here's a nice shot of the facade repair and repainting around the rotundas:

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Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 1:53 PM
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First Christian Church


This iconic church at NW 36th & Walker was built in 1956.
It was considered a futuristic design at the time and was billed as the "Church of Tomorrow".

Locals sometimes humorously refer to it as the "egg church".
It occupies a 32 acre plot.


It recently faced a near death experience back in February.
Demolition of the church was deemed 'imminent'.

It was under contract to be sold to a buyer who planned to demolish all the structures on the property.
A church member had notified a local councilman about the situation.

This caused quite a stir among the community, who didn't want to see yet another historic building in OKC destroyed.


A legal tussle ensued and this went back and forth for several months before a white knight appeared.

Crossings Church stepped in and announced they would purchase the propery.
They plan to preserve it and do some updating in order to use it as a satellite campus.

So in this case, it was a happy ending.
Some other mid century buildings in OKC have not had such luck.

Just recently, some renovation work has started.

The 130 foot bell tower is being repaired.

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Old Posted Jul 18, 2019, 11:32 PM
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Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 2:02 PM
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Convention center and hotel:

Glass on the convention center -- a good sign of progress.



Just for grins, I think I'll throw in some of the renderings from Populous for comparison.


Last edited by Peerson; Jul 19, 2019 at 2:14 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2019, 6:23 PM
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900 N. Klein - mixed use renovation

The Oklahoma City Public Schools move to a New Headquarters was previously posted about.

However, it did leave the issue of... what will happen to the old building at 900 N. Klein that they are vacating?


The old Roosevelt Jr. High School was originally built in 1920.
OKCPS has been using this building for their HQ for a number of years, but it was in need of repair and modernization.

Additionally, the building was apparently too large -- they were only using about one-third of the space.
This is what prompted the move to a new location.

The solution for the old site, not surprisingly, is that it is to be redeveloped.
The city put out an RFP for the property to solicit private developers to come forward.

They received 3 proposals in response.

Far Wespen

Far Wespen LLC is already in contract with a "nationally recognized developer of senior housing" to place a facility adjacant to the RFP site.
I don't have any details yet about that particular project.

But one of the strong points of Far Wespen's presentation is that they will already be developing in the area.
It makes sense to let them develop the RFP site as well so that both become one large, integrated environment.

They plan for the site to be a mix of residential, institutional, retail and commercial properties.

Their proposal for the site includes:
  • 40+ handicapped-accessible residential units, 5-10% of which will qualify as Affordable Housing
  • 285 units of senior housing
  • approximately 150,000 SF of professional, institutional and commercial office space
  • 40,000 SF of retail, arts and entertainment facilities
  • two pedestrian plazas

They intend for all Affordable Housing units to be reserved, if possible, for retired teachers.


Far Wespen's proposal involves two major sections on opposite sides of Western.
To connect them, a new pedestrian bridge over Western is part of the plan.

The Theodore

This proposal from Carpathia focuses more on hospitality and entertainment.
It is centered around the Roosevelt Jr. High School building, which is to be converted into a hotel.


The Roosevelt

This proposal is from a group headed by Marva Ellard.
The emphasis for this entry centers around the creation of additional housing for the area.


(there were several other images presented of the various floor plans, which I've omitted for brevity).

Marva Ellard is a well known and respected local developer.
But she has a full plate at the moment including the large and long term Villa Teresa project.

Thus I would think that the first two proposals have the best chance.
That's just a guess, of course.

Far Wespen's proposal is the largest and most amibitious in reach.
Their emphasis on support for retired teachers, seniors and affordable units likely best fits the spirit of the RFP's goals.

The Theodore proposal is backed by very well known and trusted local firms.
It's more focused on hotel, restaurant, and entertainment options -- i.e. creating a destination place.

I don't know when a decision on this is to be announced.

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Old Posted Jul 21, 2019, 1:43 PM
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Updated shots of Broadway Park:


The goal:


Very, very slow construction on this.
But hey, at least it is getting built.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2019, 3:14 PM
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There's a new mural going up in downtown OKC: Willy Wonka



This will join Albert Einstein and The Incredible Hulk on the same building:



The building is home to BCC Collective, a marijuana dispensary.
The artist is Jeks.

The BCC building is at the corner of NW 1st and Western.
The Hulk and Willy Wonka murals face Western on the north side.
The original Einstein mural faces NW 1st, across the street from the entrance to Stonecloud Brewery (a renovation of the old Sunshine Cleaners).



OKC has a pretty vibrant mural scene.
If you want to see more (and I mean a lot more) check out this cool blog post:

The Best Murals in Oklahoma City and Where to Find Them

(I had seen many of these and was still surprised at all the ones I didn't know about)
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2019, 9:11 PM
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Parlor OKC

The Parlor OKC food hall is getting fairly close to opening.


As can be seen from the website, a summer opening is planned.
And it's summer right now!

This will be a soft opening, actually.
Still, they have to have most things finished even for that.

The sketch of an animal head in the graphic is interesting.
Is that a ram?
Perhaps it will be a sort of mascot for the OKC location (the Kansas City location shows no such animal head design)

Here's a closer look at the design for the banners that will hang out front:

This is what the back side looked like in late winter.


The back stairway is close to the alley shared with the Central Exchange.

By spring, the Central Exchange building was further along and landscaping had been added:


Recently, a new glass door has been installed on the alley side of the Parlor building:

It also appears that the stairway has been replaced with a new one.

Their instagram posts for positions being hired give a peek at design renderings for the interior:


This caught my eye because these are the first renderings for the interior that I've seen.

I'm eagerly awaiting some actual pics of the interior to see where it stands.
It should be a fair ways along at this point.

Oops, I missed some photos on their instagram page.
They actually have posted a few shots of the interior:

Still looks a bit rough at this stage.

Last edited by Peerson; Jul 21, 2019 at 10:01 PM.
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