Thursday, May 31, 2012

Plaza District wants YOU

The Plaza District is now taking to an online community redevelopment platform called Popularise, which has been successful in allowing developers and the public to team up and share input on development projects in Washington, DC and Seattle. The Plaza District has OKC listed as the third city with Popularise, featuring two projects including the Coin Laundry recently purchased by Sweet Sixteenth LLC (with Steve Mason) and also an adorable vintage farm house on Blackwelder, dating back to Statehood. For now, they are soliciting business proposals and ideas for sidewalk-street interaction from the public - then they will be allowing the public to vote on competing proposals and take an interactive role with the developers.

According to this post from Plaza Director Kristen Vails on OKC Talk, Sweet Sixteenth LLC does include Steve Mason as well as the Plaza Board President, Aimee Ahpeatone, and several other newcomers to urban development whom Steve will be coaching through the development process.

The old Coin Laundry next to the public parking on 16th isn't just being brought back to life. This project will also set a powerful precedent for community empowerment.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bricktown - a trashic shame

Well, it turns out that Bricktown was wrong in arguing that the shooting was a Thunder problem, not a Bricktown problem. Bricktown had its second shooting in just a week late last night. This time there was no Thunder Alley for OKC's trashiest hotspot to blame it on.

Bricktown attracts the trashiest crowds in all of OKC. No other nightlife area is as low-class as Bricktown at this point. I feel my duty here is to drive home the point about how trashy Bricktown has become, a natural consequent of businesses over time beginning to cater exclusively to trashiness and cheesiness.

I would encourage people who value their safety and especially their sense of mind to patronize businesses in Midtown, A-Alley, Deep Deuce, Film Row, basically just anywhere but Bricktown, which isn't even an urban district anymore. Actually--the most urban district in all of OKC is now the Plaza District, which Blair Humphreys recently told the Mayor's Development Roundtable is the only neighborhood in OKC where you can window shop, eat, watch a play, grab some drinks, do some people watching, attend a concert, grab some street food, and wake up with a tattoo later. Bricktown has virtually no land uses other than entertainment at this point.

Bricktown is Toby Keith's, Bass Pro, ROK Bar, countless other bars that should be shut down, Whiskey Chick's, chain restaurant central, and a plethora of trashy spectacles that have overtime completely overshadowed the few classy outposts that remain, like the ACM.

It's a shame that Bricktown has come to this point, but it's not been without warning. It's an even bigger shame that the Bricktown Association was desperate to avoid a PR problem (here in OKC, we're all happy to remain delusional telling ourselves Bricktown is great as long we don't have to go there anymore) - so they pinned blame on the Thunder, who capitulated. It's shocking to see Bricktown wield more power than the Thunder, but it also shows what a class-act organization the Thunder is for not even defending Thunder Alley.

Shame on OKC. Shame on Mayor Mick for canceling Thunder Alley. Shame on the Thunder for capitulating. Most of all, shame on Bricktown for squandering our massive public investment in your district on a trashy entertainment hotspot.

I am now going to start personally boycotting Bricktown businesses - I just can't support what this district has become anymore. Trashy trashy trashy.

Cityshot


America's Most Beautiful Neighborhoods: Paseo

Travel & Leisure, one of the most respected heavyweights of geographic magazines, came out with a ranking of America's most beautiful neighborhoods. This is the third time in a year (by my count) that the Paseo has made such a listing, the other two being by Forbes and I believe Planetizen (I will double check that).

The timing could not be better. This memorial day weekend is the Paseo Arts Festival, which is the event for which the Paseo definitely shines the most. I personally prefer the smaller, more manageable (yet still vibrant) crowds of First Friday Gallery Walks, but if you want to see FOA-sized crowds in OKC's most eclectic district, this is your weekend. Check out these pics I posted from the Paseo Arts Festival in 2010.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More large events to close

Now that Thunder Alley is no more, I was thinking of some other large events that now need to be closed due to a singular slip-up that may even be unrelated, given that we are apparently unable to handle 8,000 individuals downtown at once.

1. Opening Night - figures, New Years revelry mixed with cold, who wants that?
2. St. Patrick's Day in Bricktown - too many drunk white guys.
3. Festival of the Arts - waaaay too many people, must protect valuable art.
4. Flaming Lips/March of a Thousand Ghouls - too many ghouls, too few rules.
5. deadCENTER Film Festival - thousands in A-Alley for skateboarding film, too dicey.
6. Fourth of July Fireworks - not just crowds, but also combustible safety liabilities.
7. Mayor's Development Roundtable - too much power at a round table at once.
8. Gay Pride in Film Row - perhaps a little too much pride.
9. Better Block Project - vandalism doesn't make for a better block, right?
10. 2012 NBA World Championship Parade - too much Thunder pride all over again.

Basically put the kibosh on every single spectacle that makes OKC as cool as it is today.

P.S. Mayor Mick Cornett, if you're reading this, grow a spine. Stand up to the gangs and don't give them the power to shut down any event that they show up to. A strong community is a problem for gangs and the mayor is eroding our community spirit by eliminating the team experience for people who can't afford $200/ticket. We're not LA., but in the Playoffs we might as well be apparently.

By bending to pressure from paranoid soccer moms who want the route from Thunder games to their minivan expunged and devoid of any potentially problematic humanoids, you have actually done more than anyone to validate their fears. Now where do we stand with our downtown perception?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

To heck with tech

That's the message included in the recently-molded State Budget at least, as that was the only way they decided they could fund higher ed's backlog on endowed chairs. The highly successful EDGE program instituted by our last decent governor has had the plug pulled by GOP legislators who specifically said they wanted to make Oklahoma more competitive with Texas.

Naturally the best way to make Oklahoma more competitive with Texas is not by investing in tech (or even better, pitting tech against higher ed), but by reducing the state's top income tax bracket. What was Henry thinking with economic development initiatives? That's just crazy.

Still trying to get to the bottom of how bad this budget will be for historic preservation...

Mick cancels Thunder Alley, gangs WIN

Hot off the presses.
“This ever-growing game night crowd that gathers on the street outside the building — that can't continue,” Cornett said. “There are too many public safety concerns. As much as we love the expression of enthusiasm, it's no longer a workable situation.”Cornett said city officials haven't met with Thunder management to discuss alternatives, but options such as limiting the crowd size or moving spectators inside the Cox Convention Center are on the table.“We need to hear from the team and what direction they would like to head,” Cornett said. “I'm sure we can come up with something that is workable.”
Should Thunder Alley continue?

In this Lackmeyer article, virtually every major player in Bricktown points a finger of blame at the Thunder, asserting that this was a Thunder problem, not a Bricktown problem. I object there. How many times have we had debates over Bricktown? Here you have a district that had the potential to thrive as a classy, moderately upscale, urban mixed-use district.

Instead it chose the cheaper, easier route of catering to motley crowds with cheesy entertainment "amenities" at the core of Bricktown, many of which are highly questionable, and look what has happened. Bricktown is teenager central, gangbanger central, and redneck central. The antithesis of a classy, safe mixed-use district. That is the route it chose because it figured to have a higher ROI. This is nothing more than capitalism at work, or at least that's the argument we've had rammed down our throats when we suggest a more sophisticated path for Bricktown to grow in.

Now the Bricktown folks who have cashed in on this bastardization of a low-standards urban "district" want to point a finger of blame to the Thunder organization, arguably one of the classiest operations in the NBA. The Thunder was trying to provide an uplifting community experience, a common team experience a la inside the arena, to the majority of Thunder fans who are passionate but can't afford $200 tix. That should be applauded, never derided. I will not tolerate that. As someone who has followed and ridden Bricktown like a rat on a cheeto, I'm not going to let them get away with that. I'm just one blog, but I'm declaring counter-war on Bricktown's war on Thunder and I am more than happy to create some PR difficulties for them for doing this.

Besides, Deep Deuce is a real mixed-use district. Mid-town has the best restaurants. Who even goes to Bricktown anymore? Furthermore, Avis Scaramucci owns buildings with boarded-up windows (breaking city code) right in the middle of Bricktown, in fact, her Rock Island Plow Bldg is the FIRST historic red brick building you see when you come in from the Chesapeake Arena. As a seedy property owner, who is she to criticize the Thunder crowds? Reducing urban blight is one of the most successful crime prevention strategies known to civilization, she needs to go look at herself in a mirror if you ask me, if the Queen of Bricktown wants someone to blame for Bricktown's problems.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

NEW: American Fidelity to vacate center city

I'm out of town for a few days, which naturally means OKC's modus operandii for these days will be to make lots of big waves - this time regarding the headquarters of American Fidelity, which had long been extremely interested in moving downtown. As it happens, a curve ball got thrown, and Pete Brzycki of OKC Talk is reporting very credible rumors that the OPUBCO tower at Britton & Broadway has been sold to American Fidelity. Other rumors are surfacing that the announcement will be soon and the move could begin immediately as the ink on the deal is now drying.

Also, reportedly, MidFirst Bank toured the same tower and made a competing offer against American Fidelity. MidFirst is in need of a new headquarters after outgrowing the old facility and also with Chesapeake (reportedly) making proactive offers to buy up their buildings. Their current headquarters is on Grand Blvd/I-44 immediately adjacent to the Chesapeake campus. American Fidelity is currently headquarters in the 3 towers along Classen Blvd between the lights on NW 23rd and NW 18th.

So many questions. Here are a few:

1. On the agenda repeatedly for the Alliance has been the ominous "Headquarters Strategy" with confidential files hidden from the agenda. Does HQ strategy mean a new headquarters for far north over downtown, or is this something else entirely?

2. Is it possible that this headquarters strategy is so heavily focused toward an out of state relocation or a specific corporation already in mind that it is either ignoring home-grown corporations or just not capable or flexible enough to address them? I am worried that American Fidelity was interested in downtown, flew under the radar, and didn't get the attention from the Alliance needed to facilitate a move downtown. Obviously flying under the radar is not the case with MidFirst, however.

3. What does this mean for MidFirst? This latest news seems to corroborate that MidFirst is indeed just as serious as we thought they were about a new headquarters, just as we thought they were more serious than American Fidelity. Problem is...

4. Could the north side still be viewed as just as attractive of a corporate address as downtown? Granted, in recent examples, there are some cases where some corporate philosophies (*ahem* Sandridge) would be better off in the burbs, but ideally corporations not only want to move downtown but also want to be good urban neighbors.

5. What is going to happen to the site being vacated by American Fidelity? Finding continuous space near downtown is tough. Also, the Citizens Bank Tower recently went from scantly occupied Class C office to booked-solid upscale condos a la The Classen. So no doubt this isn't the end of the world for this site, it has some options.

6. While OPUBCO didn't really take up that much space, there were other tenants. What will be the domino effect of American Fidelity moving in, in terms of OPUBCO moving somewhere else perhaps. Arguably, while they don't need a lot of space, for a community institution like a newspaper, it does need to be "high profile" space. However, OPUBCO is now owned by Philip Anschutz who likely won't display the same level of community commitment as the Gaylord family did.

7. With more corporate heavyweights locating around Britton & Broadway, what is the prognosis for this area? Is this area, with cheap contiguous land owned by major players like MidFirst, OPUBCO, American Fidelity, and even Aubrey McClendon personally, emerging as the chief competition for downtown?

8. Or is this all a ruse and have we all jumped at the most credible thing to come our way since we've been on high-alert for news from both of these corporations? I tend to trust the latest reports coming from some individuals, particularly Pete Brzycki, who is a shark for veracity.

9. How big of an indictment in the inner north side is this? American Fidelity has been wanting to move for a long time, the City staved it off, but apparently not for long. How will Classen rebound? Just why exactly has American Fidelity chosen to move to a location that is convenient only to Nichols Hills and Edmond?

Nonetheless, interesting times ahead for development prognosticators!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bored this weekend: Better Block!

Here is the run-down of programming at the Better Block Project going on tonight and tomorrow, centered around Hudson & 8th. This is a true mixed-use Better Block, that will feature several shops in vacant storefronts, several food vendors, all of the businesses like Cadence, Ludivine, and Elemental will be a part, chances to learn about cool movements like the streetcar and urban agrarians, all coinciding H&8 food market. On the tour it was truly overwhelming the detail and expansiveness of the programming, kudos to them!

Shop
OUI
A 2-day temporary shop featuring OUI products (designed by Angela Hodgkinson) and the work of many other independent designers & artists. The line-up so far includes jewelry, paper garlands, weavings, ceramics, and more from LA, NY, OKC, and the UK. OUI was recently featured on the internationally recognized design blog, Design Sponge. Check it out!

Bloemenmarket
Be sure to check out the incredible pop-up flower shop, Bloemenmarkt! These guys will be offering gorgeous, rainforest-certified, free-trade roses from Ecuador, as well as many other farm-direct flowers like ranunculus, jumbo hydrangea (as big as soccer balls!), stunning fuchsia Starfighters and white Oriental lilies. Don’t miss this fun opportunity to fill up your house with farm-direct flowers!

Full Circle Bookstore

Take this rare opportunity to visit one of Oklahoma City’s most notable local businesses, Full Circle Bookstore. Full Circle has carefully selected books and magazines fitting for our Better Block OKC audience – including several titles by Oklahoma City favorite, Steve Lackmeyer.

This Land Press 

Popping up a newsstand on NW 7th will be This Land Press, Oklahoma’s emerging media source for Oklahoma news, culture and life. Their mission is to chronicle life in Oklahoma through courageous, compelling stories-and to tell those stories in the most suitable medium. At the newsstand you’ll be able to read the beautiful print version, and learn more about their expansion to OKC.

Urban Agrarian

Urban Agrarian operates local foods markets using biodiesel and natural gas vehicles to collect food from Oklahoma farms. They have 3 open-air markets seasonally, as well as bulk distribution to schools and restaurants. During Better Block OKC, Urban Agrarian features a fruit and vegetable stand so you can purchase fresh, local food all weekend!

Drink & Dine


H&8th

Night Food Market featuring OKC’s best food truck offerings + COOP Ale Works + Elemental Coffee. This monthly event happens Friday night 6-10pm, and will be hopping during Better Block OKC Friday night!

Ludivine

Ludivine was born from the idea of utilizing the best ingredients available to us from local farmers and ranchers. We use only what is in season to prepare a culinary experience that uses familiar ingredients to create dishes that speak not only to the palette, but to the whole person. We aim to design meals that release old memories and create new ones. At Ludivine we believe in cuisine that is started by the farms and ranches around us, then crafted especially for our guests.” Enjoy dinner and drinks at Ludivine during Better Block! Already had dinner? No worries, Ludivine’s bar and patio will be open to those who would just like a drink!

Elemental Coffee

“At Elemental Coffee Roasters, our mission is kind of like our coffee – pure and simple: we want to share our love and passion for coffee with our customers. At our MidTown coffee roasterie and brew shop you’ll find a full coffee bar with an eclectic mix of sweet and savory treats directly connected with our roasterie.”Stop in for coffee and treats at Elemental during Better Block OKC!

Street Food Vendors

Atomic Dog Street hot dog cart during Better Block Saturday and another mobile food vendor!

Tree & Leaf Clothing Trike

Selling bottled sodas!

Learn


Modern Transit Project Office

Passed by a majority of OKC voters in 2008, the MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar Transit Project is underway. Have all of your questions about the new electric, rail-based streetcar system and Intermodal Transit Hub answered by MAPS 3 Transit Subcommittee members and project volunteers. Maps of the proposed route under engineering analysis, renderings of the Santa-Fe Hub Facility, and project drawings will be on display and for distribution. Stop by and pick up a campaign button and display your pride for Oklahoma City’s first light-rail since 1947 and learn how you can become involved in ongoing transit improvement initiatives.

Spokies
Downtown OKC’s new bike share program will be out showing off the rides around 7pm Friday night and 10am Saturday, come by to check it out!

Transitions OKC
A pop-up community garden planted by Transition OKC, Anderson Organics and Urban Agrarian!

Better Block Tour
Tour Better Block OKC signage to learn more about how this block is better! Also find great opportunities to interact with Better Block OKC on Twitter and Instagram!

Do, See & Hear


Cadence Yoga

Yoga classes 7 days a week. A main focus at Cadence Yoga is community – building, supporting and evolving! 30 minute yoga classes during Better Block OKC!
2:00-2:30 pm: FREE! First come first serve.
4:00-4:30 pm FREE! First come first serve.

Better Bark OKC

Bring your pups and hangout with four legged friends during Better Block! The entire event is dog friendly so bring them on leash, then they can be let free inside the Better Bark OKC pop up dog park!

Interactive Chalk Wall

Bring your creativity to the chalk wall during Better Block. Fun for all ages, our interactive chalk wall will inspire your creativity and gather your input about our community!

Street musicians
All weekend, lineup TBA soon!

Pride Festival

Saturday, May 19th 11am – 10pm.
Located on Historic Film Row in the heart of Downtown OKC , just a 5-10 minute walk/ride from Better Block OKC. The festival, on two full blocks, will host thousands of people and dozens of exhibitors and entertainers from all around the state! Bring your lawn chairs, family & friends, and celebrate your Pride in the heart of our city! Festival Map & Directions

Hungryman

Saturday, May 19th: 9am. 9th Street /Start at Iguana. This race will be running through Better Block, and the party is just a few blocks away! The Hungryman is Oklahoma City’s only eat/run relay competition. This 10K relay event challenges the savviest runners and fiercest of eaters. All of the proceeds benefit Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO). Stay after the race for an epic after-party featuring a raffle with awesome prizes, live music, food and drinks. Bring your family and join the fun!

Bikeshare is in!


The much-awaited OKC Spokies have finally hit the streets and are available to use. You'll need to swipe your credit card, and depending on the option you chose, you'll need to purchase a membership - but nonetheless they're available for anyone with a credit card to use.

I think Downtown OKC Inc. and Jane Jenkins, and the City of OKC Office of Sustainability, the operating entities, deserve major kudos for implementing an innovative idea and bringing a cool, trendy urban brand to OKC. I'm excited that this is only the start for this system. However, I think others deserve some blame for not supporting Downtown OKC Inc. with funding, because this system is going to out-price a lot of ridership in my opinion. Here is their website where you can view the locations of the 6 racks around downtown, as well as the fee structure. This does not need to be something that is forced to pay for itself. The City needs to pony up the $50,000 per kiosk and maintain these bikes not only as a service to citizens and the downtown community, but also to promote mentality change and a shift toward biking.

Furthermore, I think Downtown OKC Inc. has done some amazing things and they truly understand trends, marketing, and stuff like that. But I am convinced that they do not have an organizational understanding for urban planning and urban design. Almost every single one of these rack locations (except for the Ballpark and Plaza Court racks) are horribly located. Furthermore, they aren't the visually compelling streetscape components that they should be. In many cases, if they had been located on more attractive or more high-profile street corners, the racks would be MUCH more attractive.

Luckily bikeshare stations are modular and can be easily moved. They also record and monitor GPS tracking information so that the operators will be able to pinpoint where there bikes are being used. Hopefully they get more funding in the future and can do a minimal fee just to hedge against vandalism, and can do a better job locating these. This should be taken as criticism of planning in OKC, and NOT as criticism of the operators (who can't be expected to know the ins and outs of urban design) who worked hard to bring an awesome idea home. What this shows is Project 180 and the Planning Department existing in a vacuum that apparently wants to be oblivious to not just the streetcar project, but also this bikeshare project. More shame for P180...

This is more like what comes to mind for me when I think of bikeshare as an urban streetscape component:

Famous Graduates of Oklahoma Colleges


Famous Graduates of Oklahoma Colleges

It's graduation season, and there are numerous famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges. The University of Oklahoma (OU) and Oklahoma State (OSU) are the largest and are represented by several famous alumni, including those from sports, acting and politics. Athletes, such as Adrian Peterson and Blake Griffin are well known alumni from Oklahoma institutions but, for one reason or another, did not graduate college. Below is a partial listing of famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges:
  • Fred Wallace Haise, Jr. – Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Wallace Haise, Jr., graduated from Biloxi High School in Biloxi, Mississippi, and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He's received a number of distinguished honors throughout the years, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 and the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Award in 1978.
    Haise logged more than 9,300 hours flying and 6,200 hours in manned jets. He took part in the Apollo 13 mission as a lunar module pilot and logged a whopping 142 hours and 54 minutes in space. He eventually resigned from NASA to become the Vice-President of Space Programs at Grumman Aerospace Corporation (NASA.gov).
    If you're interested in an Oklahoma university, but don't think you can fit in onsite learning, don't worry. Check out a list of online universities.
  • J.C. Watts – A prominent politician and avid political mind, J.C. Watts graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1981, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. Watts became the first African-American Republican elected into federal office in 120 years. Born in Eufaula, Oklahoma, in 1957, Watts served as the Conference Chairman of the House Republican Leadership committee.
    Watts may be best known by Oklahomans as the OU quarterback who led the school to two Big Eight titles and consecutive Orange Bowl championships. He currently resides in Norman, where he is the president of Watts Energy Corporation.
  • Gary England – One of the most famous meteorologists in the country, Gary England has won two Emmys, the Silver Circle Award, and more such honors. He graduated from OU with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and meteorology. He is known around the country (and world) as the man who implemented the first commercial Doppler radar system.
    England is a foremost authority on severe weather. In 2009, Gary was awarded the National Edward R. Murrow Award for his work as the best in the country in breaking news and weather to viewers. He is, without a doubt, one of the most famous graduates of Oklahoma colleges around.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hart progress

Plan
Const.

Pictured above is the construction progress on the addition to the Hart Building, is a major $2.8 million redevelopment project that will add an addition facing California in the back. This photo was taken at Lee and California in Film Row.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eastside urban trail idea


A poster on OKC Talk under the screen name of jungmoney, whom I don't personally know, came up with a great idea recently and I think it is a good enough idea to put up for this blog's high-profile lurkers to take a gander at. The idea is to create an "urban trail" with advanced bicycle infrastructure along the farthest east edges of Deep Deuce and Bricktown that starts at the underpass on NE 4th Avenue and goes down to Boathouse Row. The goal here would be to leverage a quality of life amenity and a connection to the river in a way to entice more development that unifies this corridor. I perceive that this would be an excellent investment in creating a north/south spine that connects Deep Deuce, downtown's unrivaled infill hot spot at the moment, to the river.

Sense of place would be fostered as the "urban trail" corridor would blaze a memorable route in people's minds and create linkages between bordering neighborhoods that aren't very well interconnected due to the blighted Rock Island ROW which is being preserved for future HSR to Tulsa. Along this urban trail would be the Deep Deuce Apartments originally developed around the turn of the millennium by Somerset, then going south the trail is bounded by the apartments and the San Francisco-inspired rowhomes in The Hill. Going south, something needs to be done in the way of beautification in the Rock Island ROW, particularly as it will soon be framed by a massive mixed-use development that Gary Brooks (developer of The Edge in Midtown) is putting together. At the corner of Joe Carter and Sheridan, where the "urban trail" turns east, that intersection will soon be anchored by two high-rise hotels on the SW corner (breaking ground imminently) and Brooks' proposed 8-story hotel and mixed-use development on the NE corner. This development would span the entire stretch of Sheridan along this "urban trail," as it then turns south toward the river at Lincoln where it passes the new Bricktown Fire Station and goes down to Boathouse Row.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Salyer talks UO

Check out this article from a month or so ago on OKC Biz, in which Meg Salyer (councilwoman and A-Alley magnate) discusses the latest neighborhood transformation and hints at what could be in the future of the district:

"With many of the retailers being one-of-a-kind, or Oklahoma chains such as Hideaway, they have been a good fit, Salyer says, but she doesn’t rule out welcoming boutique national brands someday, such as trendy clothing and accessories store Urban Outfitters."

Monday, May 7, 2012

4 biggest deals of last month

There were four pretty big real estate deals made across the inner city last month, it was literally one announcement after another (or in the case of the Plaza, no announcement yet). Nonetheless, it's amazing how things are really rolling. Including Aubrey McClendon... whodathunk.

In no particular order:

1. Steve Mason purchased the old laundromat at 1734 NW. 16th Street in the Plaza District under the entity of "Sweet Sixteenth LLC." This LLC, different from his 9th/Broadway transactions, reportedly also has different shadow actors. Could we be seeing Steve Mason and Jeff Struble teaming up? Even if Struble is absent in the LLC (we don't know), hard not to argue that we are now seeing the convergence of these two community visionaries.

2. Standley Systems purchased the old Sherman Iron Works & Foundry on East Main (pictured above, north side of Bricktown). They are still going to finish the Carroll, Brough, and Robinson Wholesalers bldg (the red bldg at 3 East Main), but it won't have their offices in it. They have instead shifted their sights across the street, where they'll renovate the old Sherman Iron Works (again, pictured above) for their offices. This deal single-handedly provides for a significant injection of new activity along the Bricktown stretch of Main Street. May also be the impetus Gary Berlin needed to get the ball rolling on the Mercantile Lofts (the CityWalk Club building).

3. Nick Preftakes finally got his hands on the old Union Bus Station. In a press release, he stated that he would be preserving it, and suggesting potentially renovating it for a restaurant use (which has been suggested several times by prognosticators). That would make a lot of sense as the old streamline Art-Deco building has a beautiful view overlooking the Stage Center and Myriad Gardens, with the large awnings attached to both sides that would allow for shaded al fresco dining, and would be a complimentary mixed-use addition to the rest of the block, which Preftakes now owns entirely except for the City-owned 420 Building.

4. Midtown Renaissance closed on a large 4-story building on Broadway Place called the Mayfair Building. They're going to gut it and put in 18 new apartments, and potentially a new addition it seems? The renovations will total $1.5 million. This is a further sign of confidence in the Midtown market (MidtownR has been doing a bang-up job with residential leasing) and also is beginning to solidify an established pattern of streetcar-related infill. This property is directly where the streetcar will turn right at 13th and go all the way down Broadway.

This is of course not exhaustive. I've almost given up on covering development deals as they break on here just because I've missed so much development this year. This is a good problem to have. I think.

Lincoln Plaza plans

Check out these cool Lincoln Plaza renderings I just came across. Granted, this is for a hotel configuration that I don't think Tanenbaum is going with any longer (switched to proposed student housing, but may go back to hotel), but this is interesting nonetheless. This is from JHBR Architects (the firm who moved into Film Row) under the corporate tab (portfolio).

This shows the clear potential the property has, and what this long-shuttered building may look like once cleaned up and brought back to its original luster: