Children's museum group ends effort to save Oklahoma City's Stage Center as building goes up for sale

Stage Center is going up for sale as an organization that formed in January to acquire and turn the closed theater into a children's museum decided to move on because the project couldn't be funded.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: July 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm •  Published: July 10, 2012

“We tried everything,” Zeeck said. “We had to wait for national press that came out in the end to make sure there wasn't anyone out there who could help us. The people who love the building seem to be the people who don't have the money, unfortunately.”

She promised the effort to establish a children's museum will continue.

“I don't think this means the building must go away,” Zeeck said. “But if we want to establish a children's museum, we need to find a place that is more feasible.”

The theater, meanwhile, is not yet doomed to demolition. Beffort, one of downtown's leading real estate brokers, said the building will be maintained while it is marketed.

“We want to make sure we've exhausted all possibilities,” Beffort said.

“If there is someone out there who has the idea they want to use the existing structure or a portion of it, we want to make sure that remains a possibility.”

Beffort said the foundation is not going to blindly sell to a speculative buyer with no plans for the site.

“There are three primary issues to consider,” Beffort said. “What is the intended use of the site? Who is behind it, and what is their experience and ability to carry out the plan? And what are they willing to pay?”

The highest price, he said, may not alone determine the successful buyer.

“Use will be a consideration,” he said.

Beffort confirmed he has fielded inquiries from several interested potential buyers who recognize the site's value in being across from the new Devon Energy Center, a revamped Myriad Gardens and near the future convention center and Core to Shore park.

“I have a feeling we will have a lot of interest based on what we've heard so far,” Beffort said.

“If we were going through this process five to seven years ago, we would not be as successful as we are today. If you look at it now, it's the most valuable site this close to the (downtown) core.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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Our group is deciding who is on the ‘save Stage Center team' and who is on the ‘build a children's museum' team.”

Tracey Zeeck

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