When we talk about the transformation of Oklahoma City, we often talk about new commercial and residential developments taking place around us. The innovative architecture, modern amenities and often new accessibility to goods and services are positive signs of a city’s growth. Another indication of progress is recognizing and preserving the architectural and cultural history of our city.
In the recent past, we have seen several important restorations of historic buildings in Oklahoma City such as the Skirvin Hotel, the Ford Motor Co. Assembly Plant (now the 21c Museum Hotel), Page Woodson School (now The Douglass at Page Woodson apartments) and the ongoing restoration of the First National Center. Restoring these buildings has brought new life and new commerce to the areas surrounding them.
There are the practical economic reasons for historic preservation. Redeveloping older structures creates jobs, reduces the crime and blight of abandoned buildings and increases property values and tax revenues. Often, redeveloped buildings are the catalysts for revitalization by encouraging other businesses to move into the area and further investments in redevelopment. Areas such as Bricktown, Midtown, Film Row and west downtown have experienced district-wide revitalization, spurred or amplified by the redevelopment of historic buildings.
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