Work crews this week razed the drive-through portion of the historic Gold Dome in Oklahoma City, but the situation is not as grave as you might think.
Several media outlets reported the drive-through part of the former bank along Route 66 is not historic and actually was hampering efforts to secure and market the property.
The Oklahoman newspaper reported:
Owner and developer Jonathan Russell said the demolition is intended to make restoration of the landmark at NW 23 and Classen Boulevard financially more viable.
“It’s not original to the building and there’s no historical significance,” Russell said. “The property is deed restricted against being a bank, so it can never be a bank again. And having a drive through makes no sense. This creates a pad site that financially will help make the whole project work.”
The drive-through, he added, was hard to secure, and it was an access point for thieves to get inside the dome to steal copper.
Russell told The Oklahoman he was doing more repairs to shore up the building before it can be developed for a tenant.
KOKH-TV, also in Oklahoma City, also reported:
We talked to the owners of the dome and they said the property has been on the market for $3 million and several people have put in bids to buy it, but they want to tear down the dome.
The current owner won’t allow that to happen.
The Gold Dome was built as a Citizens State Bank in 1958 as the fifth geodesic dome in the world. In 2003, it faced demolition until local preservationists protested. Irene Lam bought it and turned it into a retail complex. It was listed as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2012, the building fell into foreclosure. Russell bought the Gold Dome after Edmond, Oklahoma-based TEEMCO abandoned plans to buy and renovate the property in the wake of an oil-price collapse.
The Gold Dome sits at Northwest 23rd Street and North Classen Boulevard, both sections of Route 66.
(Image of the Gold Dome by We travel the world via Flickr)