Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New lifestyle center at County Line / Memorial Rd?

Sheesh.. way out at County Line Rd off of Memorial is what looks to be a proposed lifestyle center, in the SE bend in the Kilpatrick Turnpike, between the turnpike and County Line Rd (in Canadian County). According to the text of the official application, which was approved by the Planning Commission back in October, it will feature office, retail, AND residential.

The application was filed by a "Rippage Investments LLC" but from what I've heard, Caliber might be behind it. For those who aren't familiar with development around Deer Creek, Caliber has been a very aggressive development firm with several large projects in the Deer Creek area--and I think they might be based in Delaware, though I haven't been able to find anything for them online.

Not sure what to think of these projects. I like lifestyle centers because, as a realist, I understand that sprawl is going to happen regardless and there is nothing we can do to curtail that. But my problem with lifestyle centers is with the type of tenants that they attract, typically the same tenants we're trying to lure to our downtown area--if Edmond or Memorial Road projects lure the retailers we've been after, like Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters, Crate and Barrel, etc..they won't come downtown. That will be it. And from a location perspective, I seriously doubt that Memorial and County Line is a good idea. I don't think I'm alone in considering anything along Memorial and west of Portland way out there, and that includes Mercy Medical Center and Gailardia..

Just to cast a light on the abhorrent growth of sprawl outside of the Kilpatrick Turnpike:

Now you see me..

Now you don't..

You could do this for basically any square mile in the Piedmont, Deer Creek, or Edmond school districts (assuming that every blade of grass in the Putnam City school district has already been developed on). Every ounce of Deer Creek and Edmond will be filled up, and I know you can head west up the NW Expressway all the way out to Piedmont and you will see development underway on tons of sprawl that doesn't yet appear on any street maps.

When we toot our own horn, congratulating ourselves for ending the white flight, thinking that we're making proactive steps to get a handle on our sprawl, nothing could in fact be further from the truth. Our sprawl is getting closer to reaching a critical level with each and every Planning Commission meeting that passes..


Steve said...

I'm not sure what to think of this entry. You want people like me to support downtown developments such as was passed in MAPS3, but you can't be happy for development further away in the greater OKC area? Hypocritical? You only want it your way?

And I know you use "sprawl" in a negative way, but man ... you can't have everyone living in downtown! There's a strong correlation between a dense population area and crime and poverty. Sprawl is good!

mwheatley said...

Hence the bumper stickers saying "Don't Edmond My Norman", fighting the senseless sprawl that blurs the lines between everything.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

Steve -- I'm amiss, and you brought up a good point. I think it's possible that my attempts to seek support for urbanism from the suburbs is in a hypocritical light if I was advocating for a city policy on development moratoriums, strict density guidelines, etc etc.. I'm not advocating for those types of government intervention. I believe in the Houston model of city planning, that is that the private market knows what's best for an area.

I think that well-planned suburbs are a good thing. I don't think that creating miles and miles of vapid sprawl and having a large-scale retail out to Piedmont, County Line and Memorial, is well-planned though. I think suburbs offer a good alternative to downtown for families. Ultimately it would be nice to have a wide array of urban options so that there was an urban area suitable for families, but until then, you can't leave them out.

Families tend to do just fine in urban cities like Boston and San Francisco, in older, quieter, more conservative areas like Knob Hill in Frisco and the Back Bay in Beantown. Those areas are very different from the limited scope that anything in OKC offers which can't be too family-accessible.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

More concisely: I just feel a lot better about the lifestyle centers proposed along Memorial between Western and Meridian .. than County Line. Seriously.

Steve said...

Well said, but ... in my humble opinion, familes DON'T do well in cities like Boston or San Francisco! The cost-of-living in those areas in astronomical! The price per square foot of home and yard is out-of-this-world! The crime rate, schools, ... I could go on with why suburbs are better for families than dense, urban areas.

I like to live in a suburb. I like to play in a city.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

I think the suburb comes with an incredible subsidy that people don't realize..that subsidy isn't realized because we don't pay it personally, our govt does. Anytime someone complains about a downtown project costing too much -- what about the cost of the massive metro-wide freeway network? The cost of the parking spaces businesses have to put up, busing for schools, utility infrastructure to areas that aren't using that infrastructure anywhere near full capacity, police and fire services to areas that aren't as dense as they could be, and I could go on and on. Not to mention the incredible strain it puts on our health due to a very unhealthy lifestyle.

The funny thing about Frisco and Beantown, especially Beantown.. is that not every neighborhood is liberal. Boston is still overwhelmingly Irish Catholic, and probably one of the least diverse cities in the US. Not every neighborhood has protesters and nudists and gay pride parades or whatever..in fact that's really something you can only expect to see around Cambridge or Roxbury. You will never see that in Kenmore, the Back Bay, or Beacon Hill. And yeah homes in there start around $500,000 but the overall cost of living is only 30% above the national average..not 300% above the national average. What you don't need when you live in a viable city balances it out.

Even though Frisco is a lot more..radical than Boston, and I'm not much of a West Coast guy so I don't know anything about those cities.. I imagine there are places in Frisco for people who don't have pink mohawks and a facial piercing chained to a nipple piercing and homosexual lovers.. SFU is one of the few remaining strict doctrine Jesuit universities and I think Michael Savage lives there too.

mwheatley said...

What about the corresponding loss of privacy and autonomy in a dense environment?

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

I guess I just see people in dense cities being more independent than people in suburbs, and that certainly goes with autonomy.