The structure, just west of Myriad Botanical Gardens, is facing the real possibility of becoming intimate with a wrecking ball, as the building’s owner, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, is trying to sell it.
The building, which arguably resembles something created with giant Tinkertoy pieces, was constructed in 1969 by John Johansen. It long served as a performing arts theater, but has sat empty in recent years after sustaining flood damage.
Efforts to save the building for another use fell through. The property eventually went on the market for sale, much to the chagrin of groups such as the American Institute of Architects.
In a move to get the building on the National Register of Historic Places, the local preservation commission voted 8-1 last month to submit Stage Center for recognition on the list, despite objections from the Community Foundation and the property’s listing agent.
When the item to submit the building to the register came before City Council, Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer promptly made a motion to table it indefinitely. Her move won unanimous approval.
Of course, having the building on the register would make its subsequent destruction akin, in some circles, to a despot laughingly confessing to war crimes.
While there are plenty who consider the building an abandoned eyesore, many others still love the place and think its demise would be another embarrassment for a city that spent much of the 1970s demolishing its own history.
So don’t even think this is the last you’ll be hearing about it.