The building's fortunes faded as the property experienced a series of bank tenants that either failed or were acquired by larger bank chains. It was targeted for demolition in 2001 by then-owner Bank One, which was planning to sell the corner to Walgreens.
Months of protests by preservationists and neighbors prompted the bank to reconsider the transaction. The building was sold in 2003 to Lam, an optometrist, who obtained a $1 million federal grant through the city to renovate the Gold Dome into a mixed-use office and retail complex.
The building's upkeep became a problem, and Lam fell behind in her mortgage and property taxes as she lost tenants during the Great Recession of 2009. Lam declined to comment Thursday about Box's demolition plans.
Box said Thursday he is willing to sell the property to a buyer who has the means to make needed repairs and renovations and adapt it for reuse.
Oklahoma City Planning Director Russell Claus said he expects Box's application with the Urban Design Committee will be heavily scrutinized. While under the ownership of Lam, the Gold Dome was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
“It adds another level of consideration,” Claus said. “It's an official recognition of its historic value. It raises the value of that building.”
Randy Floyd, an architect who helped lead successful protests against Bank One, was shocked by news of Box's intentions and predicted he will face a fight.
“It makes me sick to my stomach to think it would be gone,” Floyd said. “I can't imagine anything put on that spot that would cause the kind of passion that people have for that building. I think people will want to rise up again. I can't imagine anyone has lost attraction to that building over these few years.”