Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Medical District update

Wow, the Oklahoma Health Center is really booming! Check it out. If you're interested in more reading, after much digging I found the previous updates I've done on the medical district. Here's the first, and here's the second.

This is an overview "skyline" shot from NE 6th Street and Laird. This field between Laird and Philips I was standing at had ground work being done on it, which I believe is for the 8-story Embassy Suites hotel planned along NE 8th behind the Oklahoma Health Center.

OU Cancer Research Institute on NE 10th going up.

New offices for the Oklahoma Blood Institute, Lincoln and NE 8th.

Still 3 buildings left at the PHF Research Park.

OMRF Research Tower under way behind NE 13th Street.

Dean McGee Eye Institute expansion, Lincoln and NE 10th.

OU Children's Hospital, NE 13th and Philips.

Ambulance Service facility on NE 8th.

OU College of Allied Health

OU Physician's Building, NE 8th and favorite project in the OHC.

I think this is the OU School of Dentistry? Might be wrong on that. NE 8th and Laird.

And now some random shots from around the district..

Just some thoughts on this part of OKC.. these projects are great. What they do for our economy is incredible..not to mention the "stimulus" impact from the construction, which if you total just 5 of these projects alone (Dean McGee Eye Institute, OBI, OMRF, and OU's Children's Hospital and Cancer Institute), it amounts to $534 million being invested just across I-235 from downtown.

And from a design perspective, these projects look really cool at first glance, too. I'm glad that OU and other medical research entities and hospitals are investing so much in this part of town, and I hope it continues. I look forward especially to seeing more mixed-uses develop along the boundary between the Oklahoma Health Center and Downtown OKC. I hope it gets streetcar, too. But if it does get streetcar, many of these facilities are going to have to completely redo the streetscape.

These facilities, although grand, have no interaction with the street level whatsoever. Even the new cancer facility has blank walls that face 8th coming from the east. The OU Children's Hospital has a massive setback behind a parking facility and a jumbled collection of lanes that I assume is for outpatient pickup and ambulance access. Worse yet, the new OMRF Tower, a brilliant environmental concept (and a LEED project), doesn't really have ANY street access, tucked behind OMRF's main building on NE 13th. The only way I could get close to it for taking pictures is through parking lots that connect to each other.

So I'm not even going to go into a more detailed urban planning critique, because it's bad. But I will just say that the OHC is adding a lot of good jobs, good projects otherwise, and it's giving Oklahoma something it needs, cutting-edge medical facilities. The closest level 1 cancer center currently is M.D. Anderson in Houston, but the new OU Cancer Institute will finally give Oklahoma a premier cancer institute. You can't estimate the value of the lives that will be saved by the medical advances coming out of this area of OKC, let alone the impact that has on the downtown area from an economic standpoint.


Anonymous said...

The picture of the building you think is the school of Denistry is not the school of Dentistry.

The school of Dentistry is across the street from the Allied Health building. It is a small building.

I couldn't find a picture of it, but it is at the top of the stairs of the main axis through the campus to the Northeast along Stonewall off of 13th St.


Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

Biomedical Research?