Bricktown merchants hold talks on futurePublished: Thursday, April 16, 2009 7:00 am
Bricktown leaders did some strutting Wednesday, unveiling a new Web site, plans for free wireless Internet and a campaign for the charity group Limbs for Life.
State and city officials spoke of the entertainment district's impact on regional and national impressions as they gathered for the first "State of Bricktown" meeting, held on the rooftop patio of Nonna's restaurant.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who heads the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Commission, said she expects Bricktown to thrive despite the economic downturn. She said Bricktown is the city's top attraction.
"A slower economy typically results in people staying closer to home for shorter weekend trips, instead of taking long distance vacations," Askins said. "That means more Oklahomans and residents of surrounding states will look to Bricktown as their getaway destination."
Selling the district
Jim Cowan, director of the Bricktown Association, said the district is banding together to increase awareness and lure more retailers to its old brick warehouses.
A Web site, established through Griffin Marketing Solutions and @Link, went live Wednesday and provides a three-dimensional map and images of the district's restaurants, shops, hotels, clubs and attractions.
Cowan also reported the association, working with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, soon will be publishing and distributing nationwide a brochure detailing space available to buy or lease.
He also will be part of a city delegation attending an upcoming conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Retail on the way
Cowan said the top question about parking in Bricktown has been replaced with "Where are the shops?"
Cowan said retail is coming to the area.
"The days of Bricktown just being a district with restaurants and nightclubs are long behind us," Cowan said of the district.
Cowan said the campaign for Limbs for Life will be launched over the next few months, starting with promotional materials to be placed in district restaurants. He said the wireless Internet should be up by this summer.
Cowan said the district also is working on a plan to honor Bricktown's founding father, Neal Horton, who died in 1992, and longtime promoter Jim Brewer, who died last year.
Cowan said he never knew Horton, but could "only imagine how he would feel if he were here today."