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

A road sign informs motorists of the closure of the intersection of Reno Avenue and E.K. Gaylord Boulevard in downtown Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record
A road sign informs motorists of the closure of the intersection of Reno Avenue and E.K. Gaylord Boulevard in downtown Oklahoma City.

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

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.

The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and The Journal Record.

As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

The Journal Record is a multi-faceted media company specializing in business, legislative and legal news. Print and online content is available via subscription.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
Ted Streuli is the editor of The Journal Record, a weekday newspaper and online publisher of business, political and legal news for Oklahoma. He regularly reports for the Business Intelligence Report, heard each week on KGOU.
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