One interesting theme came out yesterday in the joint press release issued by SandRidge Energy and Preservation Oklahoma through the City of Oklahoma City: the idea that somehow First National is in need of preservation.
The idea just dangled there without any attribution or explanation. The building isn’t on Preservation Oklahoma’s most endangered list. And while yes, it is facing a foreclosure threat, all indications are it will either remain in current ownership, which has invested in its upkeep and continued leasing, or could end up in the control of a local group with a good track record of overseeing downtown properties.
So if the First National isn’t the most endangered building downtown, what is?
Well, let’s go back to the convention center location hunt, shall we? It’s no secret the mayor favors the site south of Ford Center and across from the planned Central Park. City staff has already bought a couple of properties in the area, and the mayor has indicated that regardless of what site is chosen for the convention center, he wants to direct $30 million from MAPS 3 to buy OG&E properties in this same area.
If the city proceeds on this course, the above building will be in the target zone for demolition. It still stands. The city also has this building in its sights as well – a building that was bought at one time by a company that was seriously desiring to renovate the property until they were told not to by city staffers who pointed out it stands on the edge of the planned central park: