What’s the future of the Cox Convention Center?

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OKLAHOMA CITY - For decades, it was the place for large events in Oklahoma City.

However, officials say a new convention center in downtown Oklahoma City may make the current Cox Convention Center obsolete.

“I think right now everything is on the table. We're two years from the opening of the new convention center, so we know we need a Cox Center until that point,” Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said.

At this point, there are no formal plans in place for the prime piece of land just north of the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

A study that was done in 2014 shows several possible developments in place of the current complex.

“Maybe dividing it back into four blocks. Originally, it was four city blocks, putting the city streets back through and possibility making it easier to develop that way too, so lots of different options,” said Cathy O’Connor, president of the Alliance for Economic Development.

Right now, the city owns it, but private developers could buy part of the land.

Other ideas include a large mixed use space.

“The downtown development framework and some of the city's other planning documents see that site as a prime location for building that could be 20 stories tall, so maybe some high-rise office development, high-rise residential would be great because it's so close to the Myriad Gardens,” O’Connor said.

“It's like real life SimCity sometimes trying to figure out the next steps, but it's good problems to have. We have a world-class convention center coming online, which might give us an opportunity to redevelop a prime block in the core of our downtown,” Holt said.

As the upcoming $288 million MAPS 3 Convention Center goes up, other elements of downtown could see new life.

There will not be an arena in the new convention center, so some events currently being held at the Cox Convention Center won't be a good fit there.

The new convention center is expected to be finished in 2020.

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