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Residential Towers, 5-Star Hotel, Museum, and more proposed for I-40 Expansion Area


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Very interesting proposals have been released for the 590-acre area that will be created by the relocation of the Crosstown Expressway 5 blocks south of its current track. They are currently vague proposals, so I'm really not sure if these are prototype proposals or something that is under planning stages already. But either way, construction can't begin until the completion of the project in early 2009, so it could change anyway.

Proposals include:

- Residential Towers

- Proposed Downtown Shopping (Nordstroms +)

- Proposed Corporate Campus

- Convention Center Expansion

- Five Star Hotel (Across from Ford Center)

- Transformation of Old Post Office distribution center into a 200,000 sf museum of contemporary art

- Light Rail Station

and South of new Crosstown:

- Mercado Hispanic Market

- Mixed-use neighborhood.


A companion article said that the Crosstown is scheduled for completion by late 2008 or early 2009, about 3 years from now.

Transforming the I-40 corridor

Compiled by Steve Lackmeyer

The Oklahoman

Planners propose a new gateway

A 590-acre area between the Oklahoma River and downtown could be transformed into a new gateway under a plan discussed Wednesday by architects, engineers and civic leaders involved in construction of the new Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway.

The presentation, hosted by Leadership Oklahoma City, included an update on the planned highway, which is to partially open in late 2008, and a challenge to develop land previously ignored.

Among the ideas were drawings and proposals by students at the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, led by architecture professor Hans Butzer.

"It seems as if we're always focusing on one piece, and not giving the impression that it's related. We have all this great stuff going on in the city. We just don't allow people ways to get there from here," Butzer said.

Here's a look at the plans.

River link: Downtown would be linked to the river with a green path from Myriad Gardens across a boulevard on I-40's current route.

The path would continue past the current U.S. Post Office and the Union Train Station, and across the new highway. It would end at the north shore of the Oklahoma River.

Senior options: The proposals suggest seniors could enjoy museums, ball games, parks and movies all within a short walk or ride on a downtown Oklahoma Spirit trolley.

Mercado district: The Harvey Avenue pathway would include a "mercado" Hispanic marketplace as it passes through the Riverside neighborhood. Development could include new housing and retail.

Other proposals

Linking downtown to the river. That would involve aligning a green path along Harvey from the Myriad Gardens, across a new boulevard that will be built along the current highway route. The path would continue past the current U.S. Post Office and the Union Train Station, and across the new highway. It would end at the north shore of the Oklahoma River.

"Why can't this be the Guggenheim of the Midwest?" That's what students asked as they considered what to do with the 200,000-square-foot postal distribution center that will be abandoned when operations are moved to west Oklahoma City. Plans suggest the building could be a museum.

Create new assisted living centers. Seniors could enjoy museums, ball games, parks and movies.


City planner Russell Claus estimated public and private investment downtown, estimated at $2.4 billion, could double if the city succeeds at promoting development in the 590 acres. OU architecture professor Hans Butzer said, "If we think about this carefully, and work together, we can do great things with this new front door and lay the groundwork for new investment."

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have they even started i-40 yet? i have seen nothing. there is no way they can get that size of a project done in 3 yrs.... and all the new offices and what not are just pipe dreams. i just dont have a lot of confidence that they will do all this. they always promise so much.

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They have already started construction. They started in November '05.

Perhaps they are pipe dreams (I won't believe it until I see specific proposals, anyway) but they are dreams, nonetheless, and it's good to know that the city leadership is thinking specifically about what to do with the expansion area. I think that these pipe dreams will seem a lot more realistic by the time the landscaped boulevard is complete. I think we'll see projects all along that area as well as in the rest of the 600 acres.

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fromdust, have you not noticed the huge piles of dirt near Byers Ave. and the southern end of the canal? That's the initial bridges under construction, which will cross the canal and the railroad tracks if I understand it correctly.

As far as these proposals, I really like them. They are just big dreams at this point, but didn't we say that about MAPS?

I think it should be more like a mall than just a tree lined avenue though--a long narrow park with public art, fountains, and landscaping. I also really think we need a U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial somewhere downtown. Something big, but compact, like the Alamo memorial sculpture in San Antonio--something more traditional than the bombing memoral, just to be different. I don't say this just so we'll have another attraction, but because the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor doesn't say much about or do much in memory of the many who died on the Oklahoma, which was the second hardest hit after the Arizona. In the movie, the Oklahoma is the ship that rolled over.

I think this greenspace or mall would be a good place for it.

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Yes, more could definitely be done since it's a pretty significant event in history. The anchor could be included in it though. Perhaps a small area of winding trails in the new greenspace with the anchor and a larger monument of some kind. A good excuse for meaningful public art.

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