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Efforts to demolish Gold Dome in Oklahoma City put on hold

Oklahoma City historic building's owner says he feels “boxed in,” and is willing to listen to ideas for saving the landmark structure.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: March 26, 2013

The owner of the Gold Dome is putting demolition plans on hold and is promising to listen to all ideas and pitches.

David Box, also owner of the Greens Country Club and Box Talent, bought the building for $800,000 after it was seized in foreclosure by Bank 7 from the prior owner, Dr. Irene Lam.

When Box bought the building, he promised he had no intent of tearing it down, though he said he had no plan for the property. He said at the time he did “due diligence” and was familiar with the building's maintenance challenges. He said existing leases would be considered.

But on March 13, Box unsuccessfully sought a demolition permit to destroy the Gold Dome. His request was denied by the city, which requires that any exterior changes to the property, including demolition, be approved by the Urban Design Committee.

His suggestion that he would pay someone to simply take the roof also is on hold.

Box said Monday he has heard concerns and criticism of those who want to save the Gold Dome, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I really like the building,” Box said. “I'd like to save it. But I feel as if I'm boxed in, I'm in a corner. I'm looking to the city or citizens to help. I bought it at a sheriff's auction. I was the only bidder. It probably wasn't as well thought out as it should have been.”

When the Gold Dome was built at NW 23 and Classen in 1958, the two-story building with the familiar round anodized aluminum roof was touted by Citizens Bank as “the bank of tomorrow.”

The building was based on the geodesic design by noted inventor, architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller.

The plight of the Gold Dome is drawing national attention, with the Architect's Newspaper Blog noting that combined with threats against downtown's Stage Center, “Oklahoma City just cannot tear down its architectural landmarks fast enough.”

Box told the blog he was willing to pay $100,000 to someone to take the geodesic dome roof off his hands.

“I'm just looking at all options,” Box explained. “The goal is to save the dome if I can, or find a partner to make it happen.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author 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...
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