Realtor: Potential buyers lined up for Stage Center


By Molly M. Fleming
The Journal Record
Posted: 04:48 PM Monday, February 25, 2013 4:48 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY - It's not every day that the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects takes a stance on saving a building.

But for the Stage Center at 400 W. Sheridan Ave. in downtown Oklahoma City, the chapter has voiced its opinion that it would like to keep the building intact.

"There just seems like something could be used for the building," said Melissa Hunt, the chapter's executive director. "We came out and really worked with the (Oklahoma City) Community Foundation because we had so many members that said, 'We can't let this building go.' We feel like it's pretty important."

According to the building's Realtor, Mark Beffort, keeping the building intact may be a possibility.

"We've had one group look at it that wants to reuse the facility, while others are looking at developing the site," said Mark Beffort with Grubb and Ellis.

He said he has shown the property to more than a dozen interested parties, and that number has been narrowed to between three and five.

"We do have an interested party that has indicated interest in keeping the existing structure," he said. "But they don't know if they would. We want what's in the interest of the city, but we're making sure whoever buys the site is able to execute their plan."

The buyer of the property could be named by the middle of April, Beffort said.

"We are not under contract with anyone yet," he said.

The purchaser of the property will be named based on three criteria: the price offered, the buyers' capability to execute their plan, and the ultimate use of the structure.

Stage Center is owned by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. There is no price on it.

Hunt said the purchaser will get a building that is in decent shape, considering the 2010 flood. However, the building does not have heat or air conditioning, which is an additional expense the new owner would have to resolve.

"The upper floors were not flooded," Hunt said. "It's been empty since 2010 and it's in remarkably good shape. Where it flooded in 2010 - all of that has been cleaned up."

At one time, the building was being considered for the National Register of Historic Places, but that proposal was put on hold when the Oklahoma City Community Foundation filed a formal objection to the listing.

Hunt said that despite the foundation's objection, the new owner could still put the building on the register if they desired.

The Stage Center, originally called Mummers Theater, is considered historic by architectural groups because it was designed by John M. Johansen in 1970. Johansen was a student of Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright. The building received the American Institute of Architects National Honor Award in 1972. That same year, it was placed in the permanent building model collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


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