View Full Version : Gold dome Renovation spurring development

07-21-2004, 01:08 AM
Well, the renovation of the Gold Dome is spurring more development in the area! Check this out!


Gold Dome rescue hailed

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

A successful battle by preservationists to save the Gold Dome at NW 23 and Classen Boulevard is being credited with the redevelopment of a half-dozen properties along the inner-city corridor.
With construction about to begin on a Walgreens across the street from the Gold Dome, three businesses decided to move to other locations instead of taking the cash and closing.

For Dr. James Graham, the preservation battle has ended with an expansion of his Classen View Veterinary Clinic in a renovated empty building next to his old location and a move of Oklahoma City Beautiful's longtime home to an empty lot down the street.

"I've had some wonderful clients who have supported me since 1975," Graham said. "And to me, it just wasn't right to take the money and run. And I also have a wonderful staff. If I had taken the money and run, they'd be without jobs."

Graham bought the two old homes on the southwest corner of NW 23 and Classen almost 20 years ago and has been preparing for this day since an Eckerd drug store was built a few years ago on the intersection's northeast corner.

He said the home rented by Oklahoma City Beautiful the past dozen years was in especially bad shape when he first bought it.

"We totally rebuilt that building it was completely gutted," Graham said. "It's got new Sheetrock, new plumbing and new wiring. We spent $25,000 doing it, and it's a nice building, so why bulldoze it?"

Graham is spending every dime paid to him by Walgreens, and added some of his own money to the project, bringing his total investment along Classen to more than $1 million.

Graham, who had to bulldoze the home where his practice was located, admits he could have also torn down the home rented by Oklahoma City Beautiful. But an empty lot at NW 31 and Classen across from Memorial Park and the home of Neighborhood Alliance seemed like the ideal spot for the agency's home.

Janie Deupree, Oklahoma City Beautiful's executive director, called the new site a perfect pick.

The agency's staff, meanwhile, will still be just a short walk from their old neighbor, Jeff's Country Cafe. The restaurant's old home, once a Beverly's Restaurant, is also being torn down to make way for the new Walgreens. The cafe recently reopened in a former Dennys. "The customers like the building much better," manager Mike Mantooth said. "It's roomier, lighter, and we've got better parking."

Michael Smith, who helped lead the effort to save the Gold Dome, said the resulting development is proof that saving one historic building can often boost the fortunes of the entire neighborhood.

His only regret is that the former Beverly's building, a symbol of onetime city institution, will be lost forever.

"When a landmark building is saved, quite often the people interested in that property find another site," Smith said. "And that was the case here."