Those protesting the proposed razing of historic Classen Circle in Oklahoma City earned a victory when the Braum’s restaurant chain withdrew its rezoning application for the project.
Several Oklahoma City news outlets, including the The Oklahoman newspaper, reported the Braum’s withdrawal Friday, which was confirmed by city councilman Ed Shadid.
Classen Circle, which contains two bars, a restaurant and a record store, isn’t out of the woods. An attorney for the landowner recently said the plan is to tear down the complex regardless of what Braum’s did. The attorney couldn’t be reached for comment by Friday in the wake of the Braum’s withdrawal.
It’s not hard to figure out why Braum’s backed out of its plan. The proposal proved unpopular when it first was disclosed. More than 13,000 people signed an online petition opposing the plan. A Save Classen Circle page on Facebook drew more than 900 fans, and dozens of people attended a public hearing in mid-September to oppose the plan.
Oklahoma City planning commissioners last month, citing several concerns, also refused to advance the rezoning proposal last month. They were supposed to revisit it Oct. 12, but Braum’s pulled the plan.
Preservationist Mark Faulk celebrated the Braum’s withdrawal, but told KOCO-TV more work needed to be done.
“When I get a win like this, I automatically think what are the next two steps,” Faulk said.
“We have to convince the owner the building is worth saving,” he added. “Whether sell it to someone to restore it or restore it himself.”
Classen Circle is home to the HiLo Club, Drunken Fry, Classen Cafe, Charlie’s Records and a few apartments. The main structure, known as the Donnay Building, was built in 1948.
Classen Circle sat on a 1950s alignment of Route 66. Current-day Oklahoma Highway 66, overlaid onto Interstate 44, also sits nearby.
(Image of Classen Circle in Oklahoma City by Matthew Rutledge via Flickr)