Oklahoma City Merchants Learn To Deal With Project 180 Headaches; More Riverside Revitalization

Oct 14, 2016

If you’ve been to downtown Oklahoma City in the past year, you’ve probably had to weave your way around concrete barriers, dodge traffic cones, and been yelled at by your GPS due to a significant amount of construction at the base of tall office buildings.

A lot of that is part of Oklahoma City’s Project 180, which grew out of tax increment financing that helped build Devon Tower.

“Work on Project 180 started in 2010, and it was supposed to be finished by early 2014, but the project ran into some unanticipated problems along the way,” said The Journal Record’s editor Ted Streuli.

The work is affecting a key thoroughfare to the city’s chief entertainment district, and Bricktown Association district manager Mallory O’Neill says retailers are pretty stoic at this point, The Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports:

O’Neill said she rarely hears complaints from organization members. Downtown OKC will take over streetscaping management and upkeep from the city once Project 180 is complete next year.

One of the most obvious examples of adaption is Pinkitzel’s sign near the Gaylord intersection that tells consumers the cupcake and candy store is still open.

“We love what Oklahoma City is doing to make the city special, so it’s real hard to speak ill of that work,” owner Jonathan Jantz said. “But it sure is no fun being at the corner where all the action is. … We appreciate all the customers who are placing orders and taking the trouble to reach us.”

Riverside Revitalization

This week, the Oklahoma City Council unanimously approved the development of an Oklahoma City-County Health Department center on SW 10th Street near Walker Ave.

The 12,500-square-foot mixed-use development proposed for the Riverside Project would include offices, clinical services and community recreation space.
Credit Provided

Streuli says the project doesn’t really have a name at this point (it’s just referred to as the “Riverside Development).

“The property in in question runs between the Oklahoma River and Interstate 40, and then from Shields Blvd. to Western Ave.,” Streuli said. “And what's there now is just a patchwork of older residences, industrial sites, and there's a lot of vacant land.”

The ZIP code where this site is located – 73109 – also covers the Capitol Hill neighborhood, and has some of the worst health indicators in Oklahoma City. It’s one of the reasons the OCCHD is interested in this particular pocket, and they’re going to be partnering with several organizations that cater to disadvantaged or lower-income demographics, according to Brus:

[OCCHD senior deputy officer Bob] Jamison said the department developed the plan with input from several partners: Regional Food Bank, OU Physicians, and the Latino Development Community Agency. He said Wednesday a memorandum of understanding with LDCA regarding a long-term lease of the building was still being worked out and that the parties were not ready yet for a public statement. That document is expected to be finished before the end of October.

City Economic Development Project Manager Brent Bryant said the Health Department submitted its proposal in April. That was reviewed with a recommendation to the city manager before being passed to the Metropolitan Area Projects TIF review committee. The concept clearly fits the intended development, he said.

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