August 2009 Archive

A look at the possibilities for Whitewater on OK River

August 30th, 2009

This video was recently released by @RowOKC.  Count me as one who is really excited about the recreational opportunities for the Oklahoma River.

What national retailers do not understand about OKC

August 29th, 2009

imagi_whole_foods

Just read over at OKC Central that Wholefoods is planning to open a store in Oklahoma City at the Classen Curve, the Aubrey McClendon funded retail vision of Rand Elliott. This is great news!  My wife Maggie (who is an amazing cook) has always been frustrated by the options Oklahoma City offers on things like cheeses, produce, and other specialty items.  In truth, her first choice would be Trader Joe’s – great selection and great value.  She assures me OKC people would like Trader Joe’s more too,  but either way,  a Whole Foods will certainly increase the selection available in Oklahoma City, which is definitely a good thing.

The Classen Curve

What is not a good thing in my opinion, or at least not the best thing, is the apparent location of the new store.  The Classen Curve is hidden away, comparatively poorly accessible, and does not address the need for better grocery options closer to downtown.  My guess is the people at Whole Foods have studied the situation and determined that this location is better than than anything else available, but I don’t think they fully understand our city.  One thing about OKC, that few national retailers seem to grasp, is that the city consists of a patchwork of neighborhoods with varying socioeconomic attributes. And, while there is not a conical epicenter of wealth (Nichols Hills? No, it drops off considerably in almost every direction), there are a number of higher-income nodes that are very accessible to each other, due to: minimal traffic congestion, efficient (i.e. overbuilt) roads, and ample highways. While the immediate demographic ring study may not compare favorably for an area like 10th and Broadway, the location remains very accessible to anyone working downtown, anyone living throughout the historic central city neighborhoods, and anyone as far north as downtown Edmond who wishes to shop at Whole Foods and is willing to drive approx. 15-20 minutes on Broadway Extension to get there.  A typical demographic ring study that might make a more congested and more consistently segregated city look good for retail, will not demonstrate, what is really, a collectively strong buying power available in Oklahoma City.

A study that disproves the weaknesses of Oklahoma City’s income demographics, by proving that the accessibility of buying power is favorable (even if the proximity is not), might help the City to attract similar retailers in the future and draw them to locations that make more sense.  Who knows, maybe it would even convince another grocer like, oh, say….Trader Joe’s to open a store downtown.

By the way, Napa is beautiful.  We are having a great time!…And I still very much look forward to the day we move back to Oklahoma City.

Quote of the Week

August 24th, 2009



“Architecture by its nature creates public space: a wall goes up, there’s now a wall to the outside as well as the inside. When the inside and outside disconnect, neither works. It’s so elementary I can’t imagine anyone could argue it.”


- Mary, commenter at PPS.org

Alternatives abound amidst my blogging drought

August 19th, 2009

Life, moving, job-hunting, and good sense have kept me from weighing in on many of the exciting happenings taking place in OKC.  While the blog is going slow, here are some other options for you to consider.

1: follow me on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bdhumphreys

2: Read Steve Lackmeyer at OKC Central – always a great discussion.

3: Tryout Nick Robert’s “Downtown on the Range.”  Nick has been dishing up some of the best analysis and asking the most provoking questions of any blogger covering Oklahoma City, Core to Shore, MAPS 3, etc.

4: Get familiar with al things Core to Shore compliments of master researcher Doug Dawg.

Daily Links

August 19th, 2009
  • On Sept. 1, 2008, the oil and gas company purchased the historic Colcord for $19.533 million.

    With work set to begin on the Devon site later this year, company officials will seek approval on Thursday from the Downtown Design Review Committee to construct a three-story addition to link the hotel with the tower.

    The project’s report, which will be given to committee members, states the three-story addition will have a pedestrian connection, two stories of hotel function rooms, a terrace and balcony, and a rooftop level for screened mechanical equipment.

Daily Links

August 18th, 2009
  • Lest we simply fund a few buildings, but risk achieving little community building, we should ask ourselves what core capital investment our city’s infrastructure lacks. Then we should ask whether the direction and course of our city would be redirected by a MAPS-style investment in that infrastructure….We should be cautious, selective and strategic with its newest addition. If we play it right, we can move our community to another level and find Oklahoma City on everyone’s maps because of MAPS 3.

Getting Reclaimed

August 7th, 2009

Daily Links

August 6th, 2009
  • Usually, we let the Irritated Tulsan stick with covering the happenings from the city just up the Turner Turnpike, but this is just too good to pass up. From the Tulsa World:

    The Tulsa 2020 Committee on Tuesday presented the City Council with the idea of the city making a bid to host the 2020 summer Olympic games.

    Seriously.

    “A lot of you are probably thinking what I thought the first time I heard this, ‘Tulsa? Olympics? Are you out of your mind?’?” said committee member Michael Jones, an attorney.

    “That’s exactly what everyone said about Atlanta when they started proposing the same thing,” he said.

    Atlanta was awarded the 1996 summer games.

    Much of the committee’s presentation centered on the similarities between Tulsa now and Atlanta in 1989 and 1990, when it was making its bid.

    Committee member Neil Mavis, an expense reduction analyst, lived in Atlanta at the time it made its bid and began talking to people he knows about Tulsa’s possible shot.

Core to Shore featured on Infrastructurist.com

August 6th, 2009

Infrastructurist.com recently featured Oklahoma City’s I-40 realignment and accompanying Core to Shore plan in a post entitled 7 Urban Freeways To Tear Down Today–And What Tomorrow Might Look Like If We Do.  Below is the blurb on OKC:

Oklahoma City: I-40

The capital of the Sooner state isn’t getting rid of I-40, but it is doing away with the elevated section–which has cut through downtown since 1965. The new highway will be much less intrusive, situated below street level in an old rail right of way, while a much smaller surface street will trace the path of the old I-40.

The best part of OKC’s plan, however, has nothing to do with transportation. Rather, the municipal government will use the highway teardown as the basis for a full-scale urban renewal, adding new parks and denser development in a 1,375-acre zone between downtown and the Oklahoma River.

The plan doesn’t include many provisions for public transportation though, which is a shame–but losing the elevated roadway remains a big step in the right direction.

Before:

OKC before teardown

After:

coretoshore

Ironic choices at Pops

August 5th, 2009