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Could The Flaming Lips help save Oklahoma City's Gold Dome?

Whatever the future of the Gold Dome in Oklahoma City, it's not likely to thrive as an income-producing investment property. It needs an owner, not another mere investor.
by Richard Mize Published: March 23, 2013
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Dear Gold Dome lovers:

I feel your pain. I, too, am a lover of the Gold Dome, the “bank of tomorrow” when Citizens Bank built it back in 1958.

Yes, it's pretty, in its Buckminster Fullerish, President Eisenhowerish, “At the Hop,” “The Purple People Eater,” “Hard Headed Woman,” Danny & the Juniors-Sheb Wooley-Elvis Presley way.

Dig.

It is lovely, even, for a geodesic dome.

But the “bank of tomorrow” is the investor's albatross of today.

Functional, apparently, the dome is not. Whatever its past successes, it has failed in the past decade as a functional building — meaning one capable of producing income for an investor. Form has won over function.

First one owner, Dr. Irene Lam, whose heart was in it, tried to make a go of it, but her efforts fell victim to the Great Recession.

And now another owner, David Box, whose heart apparently is not in it, is trying to throw in the towel. “We applied for a demolition permit to see if we could get it,” he told The Oklahoman. “To see,” he said.

Of course, he'd have to go before the city Urban Design Committee for approval before tearing down the Gold Dome. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Meanwhile, people are hoping for another uprising of architects, historic preservation fans and funky old building lovers to gin up support for saving the Gold Dome again. That's what happened almost a dozen years ago.

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by Richard Mize
Real Estate Editor
Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked...
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