Iconic Oklahoma City church would get reprieve from demolition threat under agreement
First Christian Church would get a reprieve from the threat of demolition under terms of an agreement to be considered Tuesday by the Oklahoma City Council.
Protecting First Christian's iconic white-domed sanctuary from destruction has become a rallying point for historic preservation advocates as the dwindling congregation seeks a buyer.
The council will consider a memorandum of understanding among the city, First Christian and Crossings Community Church to stave off demolition while First Christian and Crossings negotiate a sale.
First Christian, just north of downtown at 3700 N Walker Ave., could become a satellite campus in the heart of the city for Crossings, a megachurch whose main campus is at 14600 N Portland Ave.
The city council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave.
The agreement applies to about 12 acres of the 31.8-acre First Christian property, and includes the sanctuary, Jewel Box Theatre and Education Center. It would:
• Withdraw the Historic Preservation Commission's vote to assess First Christian's suitability for designation as a historic landmark.
• Guarantee the buildings would not be demolished while Crossings and First Christian negotiate a sale, or for as long as Crossings owns the property, should the sale go through.
• Give the city authority to match any offer, should Crossings acquire the property and later decide to sell.
First Christian's distinctive domed sanctuary is described as an “excellent example” of neo-Expressionist design in American architecture’s Modern Movement. The first service was Dec. 23, 1956.
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