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Route 66 News

New Gold Dome owner files for demolition permit

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)

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5 thoughts on “New Gold Dome owner files for demolition permit

  1. Steve Brant

    Thanks for this very sad news.

    I belong to the community of people who studied with Buckminster Fuller. 2013 marks 30 years since this pioneer died, and I think it would be criminal for this also to be the year this great structure is torn down. A lot of people like me are meeting as Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL in early April. ( http://www.fullerfuturefest.com )

    I will make sure this news is talked about there and will also reach out to the Buckminster Fuller Institute in NYC and two of Bucky’s most famous students (Amory Lovins and Bill McDonough (who is a world-class architect)) to get the world out about saving this historic structure.

    Please keep us informed of future developments with the demolition request review process!

  2. DynoDave

    Very disappointing. I hope they can find a way to save it. Anyone have any idea what the technical challenges are with the roof? Obviously it’s shape and materials are unique, but what are the issues?

  3. Ken The Landrunner

    In an Oklahoma City news broadcast which aired on Thursday, March 21, Box told reporters that he would be willing to donate the Gold Dome portion of the building for preservation to whomever wished to dismantle the dome and haul it to a deserving location. Since the cost of accepting such a donation by a museum or preservation group would be quite an expensive undertaking, Box added that he would also pitch in $100,000 of his own money to help defray some of the dismantling, hauling and other expenses involved.

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