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Panel clears Stage Center demolition

The last likely obstacle to demolish downtown Oklahoma City's Stage Center was cleared today as the Downtown Design Review Committee approved an application by owner Rainey Williams Jr. to clear the site for a new OGE Energy Corp. headquarters.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: January 16, 2014

The last likely obstacle to demolish downtown Oklahoma City's Stage Center was cleared today as the Downtown Design Review Committee approved an application by owner Rainey Williams Jr. to clear the site for a new OGE Energy Corp. headquarters.

Williams is seeking to build a 14- to 16-story office building, a garage and solicit a developer to build a second building of about a dozen stories for either a hotel or housing.

Preservationists argued the building is internationally recognized and historic, while opponents argued the building has never been functional and drained financial resources of various nonprofit tenants since it opened in 1970.

Stage Center is the only building in Oklahoma City to win an international Gold Circle award from the American Institute of Architects and is the only city building featured in textbooks around the world.

Originally opened in 1970 as Mummers Theater, the landmark was designed by John Johanson, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and a member of the legendary “Harvard Five” (which also included Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, Philip Johnson and Eliot Noyes).

Williams told the Downtown Design Committee he expects to start construction in 2015. Those voting against demolition were Ike Akinwande and Connie Scothorn, and those for demolition were Gigi Faulkner, Chuck Ainsworth and Dick Tanenbaum.

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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