OKC Historian Fights To Save Old Film Exchange Building

Thursday, July 25th 2013, 10:53 pm
By: News 9

The fight to save an historic building downtown is beginning to gain some steam.

The old Film Exchange building is set to be demolished, but a local historian is fighting to keep it. The plan is to make way for the new $130-million 70-acre central park planned downtown.

There's a couple of things that the MAPS planning committee is going to want for this building to have a future. It has to work within the scope of the original plan, and somebody has to pay for it to be renovated.

It's the beginning of what supporters believe could be a long fight to keep an historic piece of downtown Oklahoma City.

"We don't have a lot of our history left standing down here," said Historian and Urban Archeologist, Bradley Wynn. "There are many reasons for that; urban renewal is one of those reasons."

Wynn is leading the push to save the old building, built in the early 1900's. Wynn says the building represents the history of Oklahoma City's unique connection to film making, and what was once a bustling and thriving portion of Robinson Ave.

"Ours is the only one left standing intact with its history," said Wynn.

But Wednesday, David Todd Dir. of MAPS 3 gave the all clear to demolish the historic building to make way for the future of Core to Shore. Today though, after some discussion that decision was put on hold. 

"They've given us a reprieve, but it's kind of a window to work within to get us secured," said Wynn.

"I think they just wanted to get more information and make a decision based on a well-informed point," said Todd.

Todd says another issue is finding a developer willing to invest in the building, and make it a viable part of the existing plan.

"There's so much that would be needed to revitalize and renovate that piece of property," said Todd.

Old pictures show the downtown gem in its glory days. Wynn already has a vision of it becoming another historic anchor for downtown development.

"We have an opportunity as caretakers to save this now," said Wynn.

The city council will have the final word on the buildings future. They're expected to discuss the issue in September.