Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fixing SandRidge Commons

What if we could make some simple changes to the SandRidge Commons proposal? By making minor strategic changes, accepting Preservation Oklahoma's request to preserve historic buildings on the site, and by moving the cubist structure proposed at 120 Robert S. Kerr, you accomplish a handful of things:

1. Getting 120 RSK out of the way extends SandRidge Commons against the Park Avenue streetwall, creating more room in front of RSK.
2. SandRidge Commons becomes a viable green space because it extends it up against a straight southern edge, creating a well-defined space and a regularly-shaped space..which will lend themselves to enhanced functionality.
3. By selling the buildings the Preservation Oklahoma wants to protect, you've reinforced the streetwall along Robinson and once the buildings are restored as mixed-use redevelopment projects, you inject a ton of life deep into the heart of downtown.
4. By moving 120 RSK to Broadway, adjacent to a preserved India Temple building, you also create a NEW streetwall that reinforces Broadway.
5. Increased and improved sightlines about--from the main tower you can see straight to a clear edge on the south of the project boundary, the sightlines are improved from Broadway coming in from A-Alley, and the cubist recreational building (an awesome piece of architecture) gets enhanced visibility as well.
6. As a result of enhanced visibility for the recreational building, the restaurant on the ground level that opens up to the SandRidge park may be viable and not require a subsidy that it would if placed on Robert S. Kerr, a corridor with ZERO traffic and visibility, unlike Broadway.

An unpopular, controversial $100 million project becomes a well-loved $50 million project, an asset and a jewel for downtown. Sometimes less is more. SandRidge can sell the buildings off to prospective developers and recoup a small profit as well as save the large demolition expense. By rearranging the site plan to something that makes more sense, it is possible that the restaurant will be remarkably more successful than it would have been with less visibility.

Cubist recreational building proposed by SandRidge for 120 Robert S. Kerr.

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