Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Madness

Updated March 14, 2008
Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.
NO WAY, JOSE! Instead, Oklahoma City is in the midst of MARCH MADNESS!

With March 2008 only half over, it is apparent that Oklahoma City should have much less concern for "the Ides of March" (broadly speaking) than Julius Caesar would have done well to consider! In fact, March has brought nothing but "joy" as to the resurgence and emergence of our city ...
  • First, the overwhelmingly favorable March 4 Ford Center vote, assuring Oklahoma City of one of the finest sports arenas in the country, at the least, and, at the most, the probability of OKC hosting an NBA team;

  • Second, Phase I of the First National Center revitalization was announced (yesterday) ... also, see and Oklahoman articles;

  • Third, in this morning's Oklahoman, it was announced that Devon Energy would be building the tallest and largest downtown building that our city has yet laid its eyes upon!
So, even though I've not really finished the "last" post yet, Is OKC a Viable NBA City, today's news is much too important not to speak of before doing that ... I'll get back to the NBA post shortly.

Here is a partial scan of this morning's Oklahoman front page ...

Click the image for a larger view

The blockbuster stories splatter today's Oklahoman ... click here for the lead story by Steve Lackmeyer, or here for Steve's OKC Central blog post.

I'm in the midst of writing this post and this is just the beginning. I took some photos of the site this morning and I'll be adding them shortly. But, the following graphic from this morning's Oklahoman shows where the new Devon Tower, with over 1,000,000 square feet, will be constructed ...

Click the image for a larger view

Here's an aerial view of the area, taken a year or two ago, courtesy of Pete Brzycki, owner and administrator of ... see this thread there for a lively discussion about this new development, and this thread at for a similar discussion.

Click image for a larger view

I went downtown mid-morning and took some pics from Myriad Gardens looking north toward the area, and did a little playing with the images this afternoon. No, the building will not look like this (thank you Jesus!) ... actual renderings have not yet been made ... but maybe the pics will give you an idea where the building will be.

Click on any pic for a larger view

Looking North from Reno

Inside Myriad Gardens

Near Sheridan

So, What's It Really Gonna Be Like? First, the property, presently owned by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, will need to be acquired and that means going through the proposal and other procedures necessary to make that happen. Let's skip that part since it seems to be a no-brainer that it will.

Steve Lackmeyer's interview with Larry Nichols, long-time CEO of Devon Energy, didn't give a lot of detail, much or all of which remains to be flushed out. But, these points were made:
  • Cost: $350-400M ... that equals or exceeds the cost of MAPS I.

  • Spatial Size: More than 1,000,000 square feet.

  • Height: Unspecified, but according to Mr. Lackmeyer's computations, at least 37 stories but quite possibly many more (see the extrapolations, below).

  • Style: "Iconic." Mr. Nichols said, "I do care that it be an iconic building, that it be distinctive building. It will change the skyline downtown, and we want to build a building that everyone will be proud to have in Oklahoma City." The article says, "But Nichols does have some basic ideas as to what he does and does not want in a new corporate headquarters. He doesn't want the sort of windswept plazas that often are desolate around some of the downtown Oklahoma City towers built in the 1970s. But he does want a large public space — a large enclosed atrium with cafes, a large conference center, and an enclosed garden. 'We want a fairly large distinctive atrium that would be unlike anything that exists in Oklahoma at the moment,' Nichols said.

    He also wants to explore opening a never-completed tunnel that connects the Galleria parking deck to the gardens, and he hopes to somehow connect to The Underground pedestrian tunnels.'

  • Time: Mr. Nichols hopes that the project will be done in less than four years.

  • Employees. About 2,000.
Some additional detail/discussion appears in this related Oklahoman Lackmeyer article, and this one by Jack Money.

Extrapolations. Using data from,, and, we know that ...

  • Oklahoma Tower: Built in 1982, it has 31 floors, is 132.3 meters high, and contains 568,960 square feet.

  • Chase Tower: Built in 1971, it has 36 floors, is 152.4 meters high, and contains 514,642 square feet.
Interpreting that data and using 13 feet as an average floor height, and assuming a "box" shape (not likely true since Devon's building will be "iconic"), and if the Devon Tower contains 1,000,000 square feet (which was said to be the minimum), or 1,100,000 or 1,200,000 square feet, then, depending on the average floor size, calculations as to height and number of floors show the following to be true ...

Click on image for larger view

CuatrodeMayo at advises that 15 feet is about the minimum for floor height in new contsruction office buildings. Sooo ... using the same data as above, if the floor height is 15 feet, then the data would be ...

Click on image for larger view

Steve Lackmeyer understands that a typical floor may be 27,000 square feet. If that be so, a very rough approximation of a Devon Tower floor compared to an Oklahoma Tower floor might look like this:

Click on image for a larger view

I'll update this page as more information becomes available.

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Jason said...

This is exciting news!

wavecrest said...

I've been waiting for a skycraper of distinction in downtown OKC for years.
I hope it's 50 stories. Now, we only need Aubrey McClendon to build a tower downtown, too.
Perhaps he could convert his current headquarters into a college campus.
I hear he's always wanted to found a university in OKC.
I can't wait to see the Devon rendering and the steel going sky high.