Sunday, July 25, 2010

The other side

Since this is just one guy's blog, I have never felt compelled or required in any way to present a balanced viewpoint--that's obviously not what this is even remotely intended to be, and normally I would say balanced viewpoints are worthless. In this instance it may be helpful to see what some people think is the more compelling viewpoint here.

Ask Brent Goodens, SandRidge's PR "guru" of sorts, and this is what he would tell you:

-SandRidge will pack up and leave downtown if we don't get our way. This comes from the highest levels of SR, not just Frank Hill.
-The buildings have to go because they are a part of a larger masterplan, and you can't remove one critical piece of the puzzle and get the same effect. (-Rob Rogers)
-This is about spending money, and we are prepared to make a $100 mil investment downtown. Why are people standing in the way of downtown investment, they must hate downtown to do that. The preservationists are being "obstructionist" and are holding up the economy by doing so.
-What ever happened to property rights in this country?? We are being dictated to us by people with no personal interest in this site what to do with it, and that's not right.
-These buildings are obsolete, have been abandoned for 50 years now (-Frank Hill), don't meet city code, and would not withstand an 8.0 Earthquake.
-The SandRidge Commons project IS a mixed-use redevelopment that will add vitality. It will add a new park, a new company restaurant, and a new company gym facility.

And to be fair, I don't believe there are only 4 people that are for this. I believe that there are a few people out there, Mayor Mick for example--I believe that those close to Tom Ward are going to be for this project, and that accounts for those that Brent Goodens has "gotten to."

Then there are people in the community like Dennis Wells. Wells is an architect doing some cool things downtown, and has been a leading urbanist voice for the SoSA (South of Saint Anthony) area. It is interesting here how Wells has gone up AGAINST preservationists in the so-called "Cottage District" who were arguing to keep the neighborhood dominated by small, wooden shacks about 100 years old. Nothing wrong with these homes, and they can be cool if restored, but they don't offer the same urban potential that a vacant lot being looked at by Dennis Wells does, and that's a fact. I am not sure if Wells is predisposed to oppose preservationists or if he was influenced by his fight for SoSA, but he is indeed a modern deal urban renewalist downtown and he does have some great ideas. More of his great ideas are articulated here on Steve's blog, where he has been a frequent contributor. His response to Suzette Hatfield's long update is as follows:
POK should carefully analyze Ralph McCalmont’s comments. They sound more like political reality, rather than the glove-slap you perceived.

If the BOA upholds the DDR’s decision, and if POK continues to fight, POK will end up more than just “marginalized in the community.” The headline will read: “Impudent Preservationists Stymie OKC’s Economy”

If the BOA overturns the DDR’s decision, we’ll be treated to the same headline.

(PS: I’m just a regular citizen of OKC. I’m not related to SandRidge in any way. I happen to think that their proposed development will improve that area of downtown.)

I think Dennis Wells reminds us often that there are shades of gray, and there is no sense in coming out for or against certain "values" 100% of the time. I obviously don't oppose historic demolition 100% of the time, I don't support density 100% of the time, I don't support historic restoration over new development 100% of the time, and so on. Each case is unique. SandRidge Commons is uniquely bad in my opinion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sandridge Commons is a horrible design and will be another vacant plaza that the future citizens of the city will wish we had buildings there instead of concrete.

This development is about ego and not about the city.

Tom Ward is trying to be like Chesapeake and Devon. Cornett boasts that OKC has three large Natural Gas companies. It does.... Devon, Chesapeake, and Chaparral. Sandridge is half the size of Chaparral and an 8th the size of Devon and Chesapeake, yet it has the ego of Devon and Chesapeake.

They can't afford to move out of downtown. Tom is being a jerk and it shows what kind of person and company Sandridge is.

They don't care about the city or its ordinances. They care about their image as being a big company.

Spending $100 million to tear down buildings is a step backwards and not forwards.

I wish I could be at the meeting.