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Group seeks to block destruction of Oklahoma City's Stage Center

Preservationists' action delays any change to downtown structure until March 6 meeting of Oklahoma City Board of Adjustment.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: January 28, 2014

Preservationists on Monday filed an appeal to block demolition of Stage Center, delaying any change to the property until after the March 6 meeting of the Oklahoma City Board of Adjustment.

The appeal marks a split between preservationists and architects who previously united to fight the demolition. The Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced it would not pursue an appeal after the Downtown Design Review Committee voted 3-2 on Jan. 16 to allow developer Rainey Williams Jr. to clear the theater site to make way for a new OGE Energy Corp. headquarters.

Williams presented photos and studies showing the theater suffered extensive damage when it was flooded in June 2010, and Peter Dolese, director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, which owned the theater, said it was never a functional home for nonprofit arts tenants.

Architects and preservationists, however, argued the building at 400 W Sheridan Ave. would have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places if not for opposition by Williams. The theater is featured in architectural textbooks and is the only structure in Oklahoma City to win international industry accolades.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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...
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