Demolition Of Several Downtown OKC Buildings Approved

Thursday, January 15th 2015, 7:04 pm
By: News 9

Downtown Oklahoma City development continues to soar as plans for a high-rise and a multi-level parking garage get underway.

But the construction boom comes at cost, as nine historic buildings are to be demolished.

This new development is bittersweet for some who can remember when many iconic downtown buildings like the 1941 built Union Bus Station were in its heyday. The city voted Thursday, out with the old and in the new.

The "499 Sheridan" Project offers a 27-level office tower, complete with a 9 and 10-story parking garage. Developers with Devon, who will use much of the office space met with city leaders to show off their plans.

The building will be multifunctional and have retail spaces and a massive garden plaza.

Many Business owners at the city's meeting said they loved the ideas.

"The business community remembers very well the condition of downtown less than two decades ago and the momentum created must be continued," said one downtown business owner.

But to make way for the new high rise, historic buildings must go, which include the unused Union Bus Station, the Lunch Box, Black Hotel, Motor Hotel and the Carpenter Square Theater. They are buildings that have been downtown for decades, some as early as 1917.

And in a sweep, the City Council voted to demolish them all. Preservation Oklahoma said it was stunned at the vote.

"The downtown design review committee voted to demolish the majority of our last remaining stretch of our Main Street, we have the potential of losing a major part of our history," said David Pettyjohn, executive director for Preservation Oklahoma.

The Preservation Oklahoma Board will meet soon to discuss if they'll appeal the city's decision. Similar demolition projects like the Stage Center have gone all the way to district court for a ruling.

The developers said they do plan to save the old signs for Union Bus Station and the Lunch Box.

“Sure there will be markers saying their existence, but nothing beats having the actual structure.”