The Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St., may be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Drexel Theatre, 2254 E. Main St., may be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

At a March 27 meeting, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board approved the theater's nomination and forwarded it to the National Park Service, which is expected to make a final decision by early summer, said Barbara Powers, a historic preservation officer with the Ohio History Connection.

"They have a 45-day review period," Powers said. "We should know by the end of June, early July."

To be eligible for listing on the National Register, a property or district must qualify for at least one of the following, according to the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board's guidelines:

* Be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to history.

* Be associated with the lives of significant historical figures.

* Have a distinct architectural style or represent the work of a well-known architect or designer.

* Produce, or will produce in the future, important historical information.

The National Register considers "properties that are 50 years or older, so the Drexel certainly meets that, having been built in 1937," Powers said.

The fact that the Drexel has maintained much of its original art deco architecture also makes it eligible for the National Register, she added.

"In this case, the idea of a neighborhood theater, an entertainment venue from the early 20th century," makes the Drexel historically significant, she said.

Friends of the Drexel Inc., an independent, nonprofit organization, nominated the theater for the recognition. Friends of the Drexel purchased the theater in 2011 and converted it from a for-profit business to a nonprofit organization. The theater is now operated by Friends of the Drexel and owned by CAPA, a Columbus-based nonprofit arts organization.

Being added to the National Register would result in historic preservation tax credits that would assist in future renovations, CAPA President and CEO Bill Conner said.

"We don't have many buildings that represent that art deco era, so this is one of the few," he said. "It's a very special theater; it's a special building. We felt getting the historical designation would be a big positive. As we do the renovations, we'll keep that deco style in mind."

Being added to the National Register of Historic Places bolsters a property's cultural relevance, Powers said.

"It tells the property owner, it tells the community, that they have something worthy of preserving," she said.