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Historian Ramps Up Effort To Save 89-Year-Old Film Exchange Building

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A piece of Oklahoma City’s heritage could soon fade into the past. The Film Exchange building at SW 5 Street and Robinson Avenue, is set to meet the wrecking ball. A piece of Oklahoma City’s heritage could soon fade into the past. The Film Exchange building at SW 5 Street and Robinson Avenue, is set to meet the wrecking ball.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A piece of Oklahoma City’s heritage could soon fade into the past.

The Film Exchange building at SW 5 Street and Robinson Avenue, is set to meet the wrecking ball.

Now, one historian is ramping up the effort to stop it.

It's the only thing left of what was a thriving film distribution industry in Oklahoma City.

One historian has been fighting for more than two years to save it, but his efforts might have gone unheard.

“This is something that can draw people here. This is a destination point. This is a new gateway into the city. That’s the way it needs to be seen. Not just as an old building,” historian and urban archeologist Bradley Wynn said.

Wynn has been aggressively leading the push to save the building since 2013.

“It would make no sense to tear down a building that is just ripe for building out,” Wynn said.

But, the 89-year-old building stands in the way of a $130-million, 70-acre park that will extend from the core of downtown Oklahoma City to the shore of the Oklahoma River.

The city said the design calls for everything from a cafe and sports facilities to a lake and nature walks.

“This is a nearly 100-year-old building that can contribute to the overall park design,” Wynn said.

“We understand people are passionate about it, but we think the best plan right now is to move on,” MAPS Program manager David Todd said.

The city already had plans to get rid of the old building two years ago. But that was on hold, until now.

“We gave them 90 days to come up with those plans and feasibility studies, and we’ve actually been waiting more than a year,” Todd said.

But, Wynn argues ideas that weren't about public use were turned down.

“There are those out here who would like to move into this building, but they’re not being given that opportunity to even be listened to because it’s not meeting the strict guidelines that the city has placed on it, and that’s why we never stepped forward with anything,” Wynn said. 

Plans to tear the building down will be considered by the Oklahoma City Downtown Design Review Committee Thursday. Wynn says he'll be there to plead his case.

“I love progress. I love my city and I love seeing it grow, but at what cost,” Wynn said.

A demolition protest is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at SW 5 Street and Robinson Avenue.

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