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Gold Dome: the Debate Continues

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: March 28, 2013

“It’s future is as good as gold….” Um, not so fast.
As debate continues over the future of the Gold Dome, I’m digging up videos and information provided by preservationists on why they think the structure is worth saving. Have no doubt, an effort is underway to prevent a repeat of past protests … and while the owner, David Box, has not yet filed for a demolition permit with Urban Design, that does not mean he is promising to keep the structure standing.
Okie Mod Squad has a great history you can read here. Note, the building is listed as one of 100 best buildings in central Oklahoma by the Central Oklahoma Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Architects Newspaper blog, meanwhile, noted after learning about Box’s demolition plan that “Oklahoma City just cannot tear down its architectural landmarks fast enough.”
Oklahoma City has won accolades in recent months from the architectural community with both a cover story on Architectural Record magazine and top honors from the National Architectural Foundation. But will those accolades turn to jeers if two nationally respected properties – Stage Center and the Gold Dome -are torn down in the same year?
There are assumptions being made that because Dr. Irene Lam lost the Gold Dome in foreclosure that it’s a failed property that can’t be saved. Lam is an optometrist. Her heart may have been in the right place, but tenants during her tenure argued she did not know how to manage or develop the property. She had no such experience.
I am hearing interest in the development community in buying the Gold Dome, preserving it and giving it a new life. But whether they can pay the price Box paid remains a question. He is seen as having paid too much for the structure – and the question is out there among critics as to whether he did so assuming he could easily raze the Gold Dome and replace it with a gas station or other commercial use taking advantage of the high traffic count at NW 23 and Classen (he denied having intent to tear it down when he bought it).
Box is now engaging with the preservation community on their Facebook page, and it will be interesting to see if they can provide him with a way forward that keeps the dome intact.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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