Local Artist Laments Loss Of OKC's Stage Center

Thursday, January 16th 2014, 8:59 pm
By: News 9

For over 40 years, Stage Center has been the focal point right here at the intersection of Sheridan and Hudson. Now after a 3-2 vote, the Downtown Design Review Committee has decided to change this intersection forever.

"We have a tie, so I assume I need to vote," said Committee vice-chair Gigi Faulkner.

After an hour and a half of deliberation, Faulkner delivered the final say.

"I am going to vote, ‘Aye,'" said Faulkner.

That vote approved the demolition of Stage Center.

"It's a cultural atrocity to knock it down," said OKC citizen Jenny Woodruff.

Woodruff was in attendance at Thursday's committee hearing.

"I don't have any power.  I'm just an artist," said Woodruff.

And it's the art that has her wanting stage center to stay.

1/16/2014 Related Story: Demolition Approved Of Stage Center In Downtown OKC

"We have something unique and special and not recognizing that and getting rid of it demises our stature on the planet," said Woodruff.

Throughout the hearing others stood in support of Stage Center, with comments like "Stage Center is the dot on the exclamation point that is film row." But that viewpoint did not reign supreme today.

"It's an indication of cultural death," said Woodruff.

"We understood there was going to be opposition, but we're very excited about what we're going to do," said Rainy Williams.

Kestrel Investments President Rainy Williams and his company will now continue towards their $100-million project.

"The arts festival is a premiere event and we hope our project only enhances that," said Williams.

Alongside a 14-16 story OG&E headquarters the plan includes a stage, an 8-10 story office or hotel and a green roof.

"Once the permit is issued we will take the next steps quickly," said Williams.

Now that permit could be delayed. Ten days are now issued for appeals. And if there are appeals, the board of adjustments will hear the protests. Developers plan to begin construction sometime in the middle of next year. The building process would last between 12 and 18 months.