Our mission is to promote preservation statewide. preservationoklahoma
Preservation Oklahoma's Appeal of
The SandRidge Proposal for
Downtown Oklahoma City
Facts, Information and FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions:
POK's role in the community is one of education and raising awareness of the historic nature of structures and places across the state of Oklahoma and the need to preserve and the benefits of restoring that history. We want the community to have a FULL understanding of the proposal including its risks and benefits, and to ensure that preservation policies already in place are enforced.
2. Isn't SandRidge's proposal to create a new pedestrian space a good thing for downtown Oklahoma City?
While POK applauds SandRidge's decision to remain downtown, we believe that their corporate headquarters can exist downtown without sacrificing other important elements, such as viable, historic buildings, density, and urban character. We want to stress how extremely important it is to consider these things prior to demolition, because once a part of history is gone (regardless of what replaces it), it can never be returned.
3. How does the SandRidge proposal of 2010 compare to the Urban Renewal Movement in Oklahoma City during the 1960's?
Urban Renewal was an exciting time for Oklahoma City, with big plans for expansion and regrowth within the downtown area. Unfortunately, this growth came at a higher price than most people expected, and Oklahoma City is still feeling the negative effects of the removal of countless historic buildings today. SandRidge did not exist during the time of Urban Renewal, but we hope that they (and the Downtown Design Review Board) will learn from the mistakes that hindsight has allowed the citizens of Oklahoma City to recognize.
4. The Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office has stated that the buildings slated for demolition are not eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Why should we care about the buildings if the State Historic Preservation Office doesn't?
There are very strict guidelines ruling eligibility for inclusion on the NRHP, including the architectural integrity of the building (IE the amount of modification from the historic appearance), the historical significance of the building (IE an important event taking place there, an important figure being closely associated with the building, a unique architectural example, etc.), and the age of the building. Under those guidelines, the initial assessment of the buildings is that they don't qualify.
BUT: two points must be understood:
1. Buildings that do not qualify at this time CAN still be listed in the future - see the before and after photos above. This happens FREQUENTLY all over the country. A few examples include the Arvest Bank Building in Bartlesville, the Wells Building in Sapulpa, and the Skirvin in OKC.
2. Just because a building is not eligible for the National Register, this does not mean that it has no historic merit. Oklahoma City's ordinance refers to historic properties, but does NOT single out only those listed on or determined eligible for inclusion on the NRHP. It can be dangerous to assume that a building is not worth saving just because it is not listed on the NRHP.
5. Won't it cost millions of dollars to restore these buildings? How can we make SandRidge spend that much money?
First off, comparable figures from the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office for similar projects show a much smaller cost than what SandRidge has said it would take. The average cost for large commercial properties within urban settings is around $150-$170 per square foot. This is much smaller than the figure of $300 per square foot that has been previously reported, and for OKC would probably be even less than this national average. These types of projects have been done successfully and affordably all over Oklahoma City, such as in Bricktown, Midtown, Film Row, and Automobile Alley, and can happen here, too.
Second, SandRidge does not have to spend this money. They could put the buildings up for sale (making a lot more money than they ever will off of demolishing and then landscaping the sites) to other interested parties who may wish to purchase the buildings and rehabilitate them utilizing the tools currently in place for historic preservation. This includes the Historic Preservation Tax Credit program which offers (both national and state) credits for the responsible rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings.
6. What is POK doing about the SandRidge proposal, and what comes next?
The Board voted 2-1 in opposition of demolition for the remaining 2 structures, the India Temple and the Oklahoma City Savings and Loan. Since at least three votes were required, the question of the two remaining buildings is still being considered.
POK continues to meet with community preservationists to work toward educating SandRidge and the Board of Adjustment (as well as the community) about the historical merit these buildings hold. We are also open to exploring alternative options with SandRidge.