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Councilman appeals demolition of historic downtown bus station

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OKLAHOMA CITY-- A historic building could soon see a wrecking ball in order to make room for a new parking garage, but it won't happen without a fight from a local councilman.

Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid filed an appeal to stop the demolition of the historic Union bus station.

"Our argument was that this entire area represents a critical part of Oklahoma City's history," Preservation Oklahoma Executive Director David Pettyjohn said.

Preservation Oklahoma spoke at the Downtown Design Review Committee's January meeting that approved the demolition of nine buildings, including the 1941 Union bus station.

Shadid's attorneys told us he's concerned about the lack of historic buildings in the state and with how the decision was made.

The appeal states the development guidelines are “contradictory” and “unclear,” and Shadid's attorneys say they want a more thorough investigation into whether the bus station can, in fact, be preserved.

This is the first time the demolition of a building will head to the district court.

"It is kind of a unique situation in particular that a city councilman is the one that's challenging the decision, so it will be a little unique," City Attorney Dan Brummitt said.

Hines development firm plans to build a 27-story tower and parking garage.

Their renderings include preserving the bus station sign, but that's not enough for some.

"Historic preservation is more than just preserving one element of a building,” Pettyjohn said. "Preserving a sign is not the preservation of an entire building."

Now, it's up to a court to decide whether this former hot spot will live on intact or transition into new life as a parking garage.

No formal date has been set for the judge to hear the case. Hines development declined to comment.

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