The Oklahoma City Council has delayed signing off on a recommendation that Stage Center be submitted for the National Register of Historic Places.
The council voted at its meeting Tuesday to have more time to consider the recommendation, which could have an impact on the desirability of the property for potential buyers.
The downtown Oklahoma City theater, 400 W California Ave., is vacant and for sale.
The council delayed the item indefinitely, but it could resurface on a meeting agenda as soon as next week.
Stage Center, a funky and unique building designed by John Johansen and built in 1969, has been vacant since floodwaters overwhelmed it in June 2010. Efforts to find a use for the building have failed so far, most recently when a group that wanted to turn it into a children's museum could not secure financing.
“It didn't bring in anybody with the resources to be able to follow their dream, unfortunately,” city Planning Director Russell Claus said.
Its current owner, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, has put it up for sale. Grubbs and Ellis lists the 125,000-square-foot building without a published asking price.
The city's Historic Preservation Commission recently voted 8-1 to recommend the building for inclusion on the register, but the recommendation requires city council approval.
Buildings on the register can be eligible for federal funding for some projects related to restoration, renovation, upkeep and other issues. Use of federal funding brings restrictions on how the property can be altered or used, but owners on properties on the register can do whatever they want with it, including demolition, if they pass up the federal money.
Most buildings considered for the National Register of Historic Places are at least 50 years old, according to its website, but exceptions are made.
The nomination form up for eventual approval by the city council notes the building was designed without the aid of computers by a well-known architect, has received attention for its unique design and received the American Institute of Architecture's highest award in 1972.
Being listed on the register can add to the value of a building, which could provide an incentive to prospective buyers, Claus said.
“It adds panache to the building,” Claus said. “It formalizes that recognition that it's a place that is a part of the cultural and historical identity of the city.”
If the council approves the recommendation, it will go to the State Historic Preservation Review Committee, and then to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C.