Sunday, June 20, 2010

I love ontheRange readers, and their comments

Sometimes I get comments on old posts that I never read or respond to, so I thought it would be interesting to go through and respond to all of them. Instead of just responding right under the comment, I thought I would make a new post where everyone can see that I am now responding to your comment.

I love comments, and let me apologize to anyone who gave up waiting on a response from me. I have a tendency to only check a post for new comments for a week or two, or as long as it's on the first page. So if you commented two weeks after a post, I probably don't know it. I don't get updates unfortunately..

So without further ado:

Derek W. Lippert made this comment on my "A thousand questions" post:
i've always thought in order to give yourself a decent chance of having a successful business (restaurant, bakery, clothing store, etc) you need to own the building your store occupies. is it too expensive to find a potentially neat area buy the buildings, renovate, and put the store in? i've always hated the thought of opening a store in someone else's building and having it be successful; resulting in an increase in popularity of the area at which point the owner would decide to up the rent and essentially lowering your profit or pushing you out the door. does this happen or is there a common courtesy in the business?
i feel like i have some ideas that could be successful, i've read lots of great ideas on your blog, my friends have great ideas; however, since we don't have the amount of money needed (or the knowledge of how to get the free-be's) and banks are too scared to give us the loans the older people buy the buildings, sit on them/ force someone to pay more money than the property is worth/ open a lame store or restaurant.
someone should open an investment fund and collect money full of young professionals. you could then buy a really neat area on the outskirts of OKC (where ever you had enough money to buy several buildings along a street). if you got your money from young people they would want the project to succeed (so they could get return on investment)so they would support the area and in return bring friends.
think about it.

That's an awesome idea. I believe that ypTulsa (Young Professionals-Tulsa) attempted a project just like this in an area in the south-southeast corner area of the IDL in Tulsa. The project was called Franklin Square, and they dubbed it as the "ypZone" and tried to pool any collective interest in redevelopment from young professionals in Tulsa. It was an awesome idea that failed because they lacked the connections strong enough to make it actually work. Inevitably it would be young professionals who would transform the Blue Dome and East Village districts, in particular twenty-somethings such as Micha Alexander and Elliott Nelson.

Matthew made this comment on my "Rogers Marvel architects" post:
I marvel at your arrogance...

Thanks, touche.

Pegasus made this comment on my "No money for schools or tax credits, but plenty for jails" post:
At some point the state of Oklahoma has to do something when it comes to the condition of the current jail facilities across the state. Finally throwing some money there way has been a long time coming.

I believe a better system would be to have them live in tent cities like the sheriff in Arizona does with his inmates and make them work for a living repaying the victims of their crimes and the state of Oklahoma for their vacation.

What would be wrong with these same criminals be afforded the opportunity to put hard work into clean ditches, parks, help rebuild/remodel old buildings in smaller communities back to a usefull state?

The time for the state and a level of creativity for dealing with overcrowded jail system has come.

If these folks do not want to follow the rules and take an easy way out of their jail time, throw them into "big mac" and let them deal with the real criminals.

Interesting idea. I don't know how having work campus would sound, but I can say for certain that there is a ton of evidence to support alternative sentencing, deferred sentencing, and other attempts to rehabilitate nonviolent offenders without throwing them in an expensive prison. Oklahoma needs to avoid jail time whenever possible. Because it's expensive, and I don't care enough about so-called "criminals" to have such a huge portion of my tax dollars going toward jails to put them in. And apparently it's good for them to stay out of jail too, so win-win.

AmyC made this comment on my "Dear Full Circle: Please come downtown!" post:
I love it!!!! What a great idea. Do you remember that bookstore on 50th and Mayish....It had an Owl on the sign. I think they have gone totally to online sales, but they would be great downtown if FS doesn't jump on the opportunity!

Hmm. NW 50th and May..sounds like a victim of Barnes and Noble. Thanks for the support for my Full Circle idear, though.

Steve Lackmeyer made this comment on my "Dear Full Circle: Please come downtown!" post:
For what it's worth, Jim Tolbert is aware of this post, and has had calls and emails to the store. I can only describe his response as not annoyed, amused and cheery.
- Steve

That just made my day.

Curt made this comment on my "Streetcars, traffic circles, pedestrian malls, oh my!" post:
I like both of your routes, but I think they should go all the way to 13th St if possible. That street has a lot of potential for growth and expands Automobile Alley another few blocks for pedestrian development.


Good idea. You'll notice that in a lot of COTPA and Jeff Bezdek's route illustrations that they've chosen 11th as a route instead of 10th so they don't have to circumnavigate the MidTown traffic circle, although they're going to have to deal with planned (and already funded) traffic circles for 9th and 8th as well either way. I wouldn't do 13th, but I think pushing it up to 12th is a good idea because you still want to be within short distance of the restaurants and lofts on NW 10th but Bert Belanger or Ron Bradshaw (forget which) has a large site at NW 12th and Broadway that they cleared for a development they intended to be well underway on by now, and there is also the critical mass of upscale apartments with The Sieber, The Aberdeen, The Harvey, and others. That's actual, existing housing. Also NW 12th and Shartel has about 20+ recently finished higher-end units. It seems like the core of MidTown housing appears to be taking shape BETWEEN 10th and 13th and not between 10th and downtown. It could be that developers are avoiding MidTown south of 10th due to the uncertainty surrounding the impending traffic circles.

OKC Second Time Around (ala Steve Lackmeyer) commented on my "State funding for Tulsa roads" post:
Ah yes, the Tulsa complaint that OKC gets it all. Look at the actual funding and then report back.

Says OKC-tried-and-true-homer, Steve Lackmeyer! Just kidding. I did do a quick search of good blogs like Michael Bates and other Tulsa guys, couldn't find anything. I could get on and try and get in a flame war with Swake and I'm sure he'll try and shove some facts at me, but I just don't feel up for dealing with that guy. For all the complaining Tulsans have done, and examples they've positively shown, it is surprisingly poorly documented. There is also an effort on OKC's part to do the same as well, although nobody is really buying that. Next time we meet up, ask me what I really think of that. I'll settle for this: The Tulsa Metro Chamber legislative action agenda..which mostly focuses on finding fixes for critical funding situations that we sort of take for granted in OKC, like roads, medical school that was going to close doors for a while, and so on.

Chris Porter commented on my "What a great state" post:
Long time reader, first time poster. I was very surprised to see you have a non-critical, quite positive post(not that Im complaining, the critical posts show you clearly want this city to be better). Keep up the good work and look forward to future posts!

Haha, this comment reminds me of the drill for first time callers on the Sports Animal. Sadly, I don't have any Johnny's Charburger giftcards for you like Al Eschbach would. But thanks! I am actually very optimistic about OKC. Perhaps the reason I sound so negative is because I don't like being negative--so when I criticize things, I just go all out I guess. I don't like it when things bring me back to reality--and the reality is that for all the change and urban progress, we're still going up against a city that a few are just starting to get it. If we win over SandRidge--that will be a milestone in the fight for an urban OKC.

Suzette Hatfield commented on my "SandRidge..again" post:
Yes, your comments were terrific! Thank you for stepping up. We at Preservation Oklahoma appreciate your involvement. We look forward to seeing you at Round Two.

Thank you! I appreciate you guys' commitment to urbanism, and OKC in general. If there is anything that you guys need from the community, please just let us know. Let me know what you think of the idea of developing a strategy for each Rod Baker and Jim Allen's votes--and perhaps Preservation OK could host a town hall meeting with the BoA committee members between now and the next meeting. News op.

I still want one of those Keep Downtown Urban t-shirts! (I was in Calgary on the day of the bldg hug.)

OKC Herbivore commented on my "SandRidge appeal tomorrow" post:
gonna try to make it. i'm a terrible politician, but i see this, like others, as a pretty depressing bellwether for downtown if it in fact goes through. sucks because sandridge is a good company that should know better.

That's a very good way of putting it. Nobody here is anti-SandRidge, and yeah, they should know better than this Commons proposal. I've often found myself thinking that Rogers Marvel architects have to know that they're working for the debil, unless they've actually convinced SR that this is a good proposal--which would make Rogers Marvel indefensible.

Dwayne "the canoe guy" (OKC Kayaks?) commented on my "Here goes another.." post (about Grace Cleaners):
Any word on what will happen to the neon sign?

Excellent question, and I have no idea. I'll stop by and have a chat with the owner--he might know. If I were the owner I would just hold onto it. It would be cool if a developer like Humphreys bought it and incorporated it into a project for an authentic effect.

OKC Herbivore commented on my "3 options (that don't stink)" post:
the red seems to make the most sense, as it both spreads out a bit (sorta), which is good considering length limits, and it works in the best hub and spoke manner, especially on the east side. The blue isnt bad, seems to be a tradeoff between traveling central to go west, or west to go south, if coming from the east side.

I think COTPA promised that they would do some public polling or integrate some way for people to give their preference on the streetcar website, but they have yet to do so. But on the OKC Talk thread and at the streetcar forum it appeared pretty evident that the red option was the most favored by everyone. Funny how Mayor Mick made his preference clear for a hub-and-spoke system but we are obviously getting a loop or a pair of interconnected loops. Mayor Mick was overridden pretty easily on the matter of streetcar, although I am mostly shocked he didn't show up to a single transit forum.

OKC Herbivore commented on my "Buyers Remorse in OKC" post:
great thoughts as always, and as interesting aside, i happen to live in Meadowbrook Acres, the hood just inside of the Classen Curve. It's a weird few streets, but a good compromise while my wife does grad school in Edmond (when she's done we are heading back into central OKC). I like to think of us as the last holdout of OKC neighborhood wise before the slam of Nichols Hills.

Of course, I am excited about the Whole Foods being within a 3 minute walk from our door (though hoping that Forward Foods can specialize enough to stay alive just a mile south of there).

Classen Curve has been a mixed bag, and from a resident perspective, it's not too bad as a neighborhood item: we walk our dog there, can get drinks at Republic, as a vegetarian i love (but can't afford) 105 Degrees, and I am glad for more retail to hop in. I hope they don't build some asinine parking garage too close tho, because parking is pretty sparse.

However, the whole area has some potential to become a well-defined, and somewhat dense focal point, depending on the balance of offices and retail that CHK builds. They are putting in sidewalks (Hallelujah), and maybe even could drop in some roundabouts in the 3 or 4 triangle in the area, to help to create even more specific character.

The trouble is, it lies just outside the dense grid of central OKC, like i said, in a buffer of city and upscale burb. The odd thing is, Western has had tons of reliable retail/food in the intersection with 63rd (Shoe Gypsy, Saturn, Snow Pea, Big Sky, Seasonal Cellars, Bin 73, The Metro, and tons of semi-yuppie stuff up to Wilshire like Gil's and what not). If some of this could relocate from the ugly Nichols Hills Plaza (owned by CHK now) into this area just south, it would keep the clientele, but have a better physical presence.

Blah blah. Sorry for always leaving meandering comments.

Full Circle downtown=brilliant. I would love to see more thoughts on how to find a place in downtown to anchor retail. What physical geography support it? The Deep Deuce area seems to have one of the potentially better street grids and densities (despite the many mistakes being made as well). Heaven forbid a friggin Wal Mart down there (Target is marginally better, but makes more sense), though it would be delicious irony for those overpriced condos.

There you have it...I've always thought OKC Herbivore is one of my favorite ontheRange readers, but you guys can decide for yourselves. I've always enjoyed his excessively long, insightful, and thoughtful comments. I always have a tendency to look at them and think, "wow, I need to come back to this another time when I can spend more time on a long, equally thoughtful response." What happens when I do that however is...I always forget.

Herbivore--you mention your living in Meadowbrook, is that neighborhood connected in any way to Classen Curve? That would go a long ways toward establishing it as an urbanist development, although I know Meadowbrook would hate it (parking problems). They could at least enhance it with some kind of strategically placed pedestrian connection. Just a thought. It would still be just as attractive for people trying to park within a mile of the Gastropub, but lesser minds would at least not think of parking there if it's not connected by pavement per se.

I think part of the reason the Nichols Hills area lacks the kind of physical presence that its reputation might lend itself to is the simple fact that nowhere in OKC really has an awesome physical presence. Everyone knows about Uptown Houston, or as we called that area back when I lived there, "The Galleria" (I guess you get laughed at for meaning anything other than the huge mall by "The Galleria" these days). Everyone knows about Uptown Dallas. Everyone knows about Midtown Tulsa (in Tulsa). Everyone knows about Uptown Minneapolis (in Minnesota). Everyone knows about Clayton in the STL. And so on. OKC lacks an "Uptown" -- a crossover area between the affluent burbs and the city grid. Nichols Hills will develop into this area for OKC over time, but it will take some multi story development--it will take buy-in from corporations other than Chesapeake. Perhaps Frank Hill is right and SandRidge really is better off downtown--I can believe that, now. Right now OKC lacks the economic engine to build up both downtown and Nichols Hills. And when I say "build up Nichols Hills" I obviously don't mean filling the low density residential neighborhood with condo highrises. We're talking about along 63rd, along Western, anything owned by CHK.

Curt commented on my "Buyers Remorse in OKC" post:
Didn't Funk propose a mixed use development with high end stores next to the ball park, and the city refused to listen to him?

I think the city's zoning ordinances and the powers that be are why we don't have these types of developments.

I think Norman will have to step up and create a successful mixed use development before the city will open its eyes.


About Norman, luckily that's not going to happen anytime soon. Just look at the joke of a TIF district that the UNP project has become.

I'll stop there, going back to April. Hope that gets me caught up in responding to old, old comments that I've been meaning to for a while. And thanks, once again, to the people who actually put up with me in this town.


CGHill said...

50th and May? Sounds like Jean Barnes Books.

I can't find their online storefront, though, so maybe they've bought the farm.

Anonymous said...

There is a great mixed use building in Norman on 12th and Lindsey. That is the development I was hoping would kick off more. It doesn't have the best relationship to the street but it is modern and mixed used.

I like it much better than your favorite Centennial.