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Last call for Stage Center?


Gazette staff January 15th, 2014

Jan. 16 is the deadline for Oklahoma City performing arts lovers to save Stage Center theater, formerly known as Mummers Theater. On that day, the Downtown Design Review Committee will decide whether to approve razing the theater, which was designed by Harvard-educated architect John M. Johansen and opened in 1970.

Johansen won an award from The American Institute of Architects for his work on the building in 1972.

Kestrel Investments Inc. paid $4.2 million to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for the theater last July and has plans to build a 14-16-story office tower (which will be home to the new OGE Energy Corp. headquarters) and an 8-12-story apartment building or hotel, a $100 million project, in its place — because we really need another one of those eyesores dotting the skyline.

Stage Center was forced to close its doors in 2010 after a heavy summer rainstorm left the building with extensive flood damage.

As of late December, there had been no formal protests to the demolition submitted to the city. However, Preservation Oklahoma started an online petition at preservationok.org and will present it to the committee before the Jan. 16 meeting.

In addition, OKC planners recommended that the razing application be denied, citing design ordinance guidelines stating that buildings with historical significance — whether at national, state or city level — be maintained with “ as much of the original fabric as possible ... intact,” according to NewsOK.com.

 
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