The new owner of the historic Gold Dome building along Route 66 in Oklahoma City has filed for a demolition permit — a reversal of his earlier pledge to keep the structure, according to a report in The Oklahoman newspaper.
David Box, who bought the building in September, said renovating the Gold Dome would be “prohibitively expensive.”
City records show Box attempted Wednesday to apply for the demolition permit, but was then advised he would first need to get a certificate of approval from the city’s Urban Design Committee. […]
When Box bought the building, he promised he had no intent of tearing it down, though he added 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. […]
Box said Thursday he encountered unexpected challenges with the building’s roof and mechanical systems.
“The more I got into it, the more problems I found,” Box said.
One intriguing wrinkle: a city planner contacted by The Oklahoman said the demolition application would be “heavily scrutinized” by the Urban Design Committee. This indicates the panel will be reluctant to approve the permit.
The geodesic Gold Dome was bank building, built in 1958. It sits at Northwest 23rd Street and North Classen Boulevard, both sections of Route 66. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A couple of observations:
— Box told the newspaper he would consider selling the property to someone with the means of making the necessary repairs. He should strongly pursue this option, as he has established he is no longer trustworthy. If you make a pledge to keep a beloved historic structure after buying it, it’s not unreasonable for the public to expect you uphold that promise.
— Don’t be surprised to see another round of public protests against the Gold Dome’s razing. That helped preserve the structure last time. Randy Floyd, an architect who helped lead those protests during the 1990s, said he’d do it again if necessary.
UPDATE 3/15/2013: Steve Lackmeyer, a reporter at The Oklahoman who’s been following the Gold Dome situation, had some interesting comments during an online forum.
Lackmeyer said: “I know of interests who are interested in buying the Gold Dome to preserve it.” He also said it’s unlikely the city will approve Box’s demolition permit, and added: “Don’t be surprised if this ends up being resolved in court.”
(Hat tip to Kory Willis; photo of the Gold Dome by QuesterMark, via Flickr)