Chase Bank’s name may soon disappear from the top of Cotter Ranch Tower as the bank considers building a new downtown branch at E.K. Gaylord and Dean A. McGee.
For years, a 1,014-square-foot, one-story building at E.K. Gaylord and Dean A. McGee has stood as a reminder of what was one of downtown’s largest banks — Liberty Bank & Trust Co. Cotter Ranch Tower was once the home of Liberty Bank, and the smaller building was designed as a downsized version of the 1971 tower.
Liberty vanished through a series of bank acquisitions, its remnants now a part of Chase Bank’s much smaller downtown branch. Matthew Cragun, an engineer with Cumulus Design, presented designs for the new branch that he admitted are far different from what the bank originally submitted to the city for consideration a month ago.
The application had a prototype suburban bank branch Chase builds across the country — a design Cragun admitted did not match up with Oklahoma City’s downtown design ordinance. The new proposal is still one story – below the ordinance’s two-story minimum requirement — but now has a flat roof and more urban design.
Cragun said seven of the nine drive-thru lanes at E.K. Gaylord and Dean A. McGee are rarely used, and the new branch would feature just three lanes.
If the new building is constructed, the unused building would be razed, although 20,000 square feet of basement space would remain. That space, he said, likely will go unused or be used for storage.
An official with Chase Bank declined to comment on the project. Sources have told The Oklahoman the branch, if built, would likely involve the relocation of all remaining bank operations from Cotter Ranch Tower.
Dick Tanenbaum, a member of the Downtown Design Review Committee, told Cragun the plans submitted will likely win approval despite failing to meet the two-story minimum requirement.