Here we gold again …
That unusual structure at NW 23 and Classen has a new owner who wanted it demolished. Gold Dome lovers thus have a new nemesis. And nostalgia day-trippers have a reason to sigh.
Another beloved building is under threat of demolition, this one for the second time in a decade. The Gold Dome isn't commercially viable. Those who want to keep it don't have the means to preserve it. The owner even offered to pay to have the dome hauled away.
The Gold Dome joins other cherished properties that have passed their sell-by date. The former downtown YMCA building was one such property. Stage Center is another. The Y's International Style architecture made it stand out. It's gone. Stage Center has been empty for years. Known nationally for the uniqueness of its design and the renown of its designer, it needs to be demolished or restored. Soon.
A geodesic dome building in Louisiana was lost to the wrecking ball in 2007. What connects Oklahoma City's Gold Dome, the YMCA and the Stage Center is this: The property beneath them is more valuable without the structures than with them. Property owners have a right to seek the highest and best uses of their assets. Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places is great, but it doesn't pay taxes, patch roofs, provide security or repair broken glass.
Older buildings go away all the time without a fuss because they don't stand out. Some unique structures do survive — the Skirvin Hotel, for example. Central High School will soon have its third life as the OCU Law School.
“Oklahoma City just cannot tear down its architectural landmarks fast enough,” an architecture issues blogger wrote. These words are cheap. The Gold Dome was saved by the bell in 2003. For the right amount of gold it could happen again.
Who will answer the bell?