Blue Dome blessings

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My column in the current issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly was about what I learned during a visit to last weekend's Blue Dome Arts Festival. As I made my way around 1st & Elgin, I had a peek at plans for Joe Momma's Pizza's downtown location, a guided tour of the under-construction 1st Street Lofts, a chat with Diversafest's Tom Green about the festival's non-profit arm, the Oklahoma Foundation for the Music Industry, and heard from Cain's Ballroom owners Jim and Alice Rodgers about their new venture on Brookside, Ida Red. It was exciting to hear about all these plans to make Tulsa a more exciting place to live, work, and play.

Something I neglected to point out in the column: Everyone of these cool new ventures is happening in old buildings. I devoted a column in April to the importance of old buildings to a lively city, and I quoted Jane Jacobs on the matter:

Chain stores, chain restaurants and banks go into new construction. But neighborhood bars, foreign restaurants and pawn shops go into older buildings. Supermarkets and shoe stores often go into new buildings; good bookstores and antique dealers seldom do....

As for really new ideas of any kind -- no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be -- there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.

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» 1st Street Lofts featured from BatesLine

There's a nice story on KOTV.com about Michael Sager's 1st Street Lofts, scheduled to be ready for occupancy this fall. Michael gave me a tour during the Blue Dome Arts Festival, and I wrote about some of the interesting ways he is adapting this old bu... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 26, 2008 10:20 PM.

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