Yes, this is a post about a parking garage. How on EARTH could a post reflecting a more positive shift on this blog (after the last several posts, all challenging leaders to embrace the community's passion for downtown, for a change) be based on a parking garage? Well, it's simple - the people behind this parking garage are going to take advantage of an excellent development opportunity. Those people are Cathy O'Conner (The Alliance) and Anthony McDermid (TAP).
Lackmeyer's recent article outlines the project parameters, needing 700 spaces on 7 stories, for $20 million. Then there's the idea to build housing on top of it, possibly around 5 floors, and I understand street-level retail/cafe/whatever they can lease will also be in the picture. In the article, McDermid says he is committed to fitting the historic context of the site (pictured below) - however considering McDermid's excellent architectural track record, I would still anticipate something fairly modern. I'm convinced that modern can quite often nicely compliment historic - such was the case with David Bardwell's 18th Street Studios near Classen SAS, which can possibly provide inspiration on how to fit a modern structure into a historic setting.
Cathy O'Conner also talks about unique opportunities for night-time demand, including for the OKCMOA and Downtown Library - but the main problem is that they over-booked COTPA's parking garages, particularly the Santa Fe Garage, with the addition of Enogex and Continental Resources to downtown. This presents an even bigger conundrum as the Alliance is looking to lure new companies downtown to fill Devon's vacated Chase Tower space, but can't provide parking due to downtown's growth.
However, the even bigger opportunity, bigger even than the parking conundrum in attracting new companies, is the development opportunity that this site presents. It is absolutely imperative to get this site right, and I think that the Alliance and COTPA will.