View Full Version : Gold Dome update

08-09-2004, 08:50 PM
Well, many of the details about the Gold Dome renovation have now been released. I'll let you read it for yourself. The Journal Record showed a picture of the interior dome with the ceiling tiles looks mighty impressive. I've included the picture. Also, I was glad to hear that the dome itself doesn't have any leaks, as Bank ONe suggested. The ceiling tiles were actually causing condensation to build up leading to water drips. Also, glad to hear that all of the offices will have glass walls separating them. This won't allow for much privacy, but it will allow for a more open atmosphere, all culminating on the center lobby.

Anyways, check this out.

Lifting the lid on the Gold Dome renovation
by Janice Francis-Smith
The Journal Record

"People are always asking, 'When are you going to be in here? When? When?'" said Irene Lam, the optometrist who owns the Gold Dome building. "I tell them, 'Soon.'"
If all goes as planned, the landmark building at 1112 NW 23rd St. in Oklahoma City will be ready for tenants by the first of January, said Tom Waken, the Realtor overseeing the project. Waken is talking with a few potential tenants now, trying to determine how much space each business would need before the contractor starts putting up divider walls.

Though renovating a historic structure has presented some unusual challenges, work is progressing to transform the interior of the former bank into retail and office space and an Asian cultural center. Glass walls will separate the tenant spaces, which will be located around the perimeter of the round structure, from the lobby area at the center. Enclosing the area where the former bank's drive-through used to be will provide space for a proposed restaurant.

Workers have spent the last four weeks just concentrating on asbestos removal, and the building just passed inspection on Aug. 2, said Mark Gifford, the project foreman working for Maccini Construction. Headed by President Ron Rocke, Maccini Construction is handling the renovation.

The ceiling tiles have been removed to expose the interior dome. "That's not the inside of the outer dome you're looking at," said Waken. "That's another dome within the dome. It's been covered up with tile, and it's in really good shape."

Water had marred the old ceiling tiles, leading to the mistaken belief that the roof was leaking, said Waken. "But it was actually rainfall of condensation," said Waken. "A rain cloud had been forming up there."

Like the outer dome, the inner ceiling is constructed of ionized aluminum and patterned somewhat like an angular chrysanthemum, though having been protected from the elements, the gold color is a bit more vibrant than on the outer dome. Plans are to drop "light clouds," hanging fixtures that will softly disperse the light, from the interior dome.

Lam's optometry practice, now located just a few blocks away at 2800 N. Classen Blvd., will be the first business to move in, occupying between 1,500 and 2,000 feet on the first floor. Though estimates of the total square footage of the building vary, Waken said the first floor measures about 22,000 square feet, and the second floor 7,500 square feet.

Renderings of the design by Norman architect Mike Kertok show a slim balcony on the second floor and glass storefronts overlooking the lobby area. The lobby is pictured as a welcoming community space, with a few pieces of furniture and potted plants. The lobby could also be rented out after hours for social gatherings, said Waken.

The renovation will restore as many historic features as possible, including a tiled water fountain at the northeast entrance and a huge vault door on the southwest end of the building, but a few new elements will be added, including an elevator to provide access to the second floor and the building's basement.

Waken is looking for a buyer for the 4,500 safe deposit boxes housed in the back, which are very expensive to buy new, he noted. The area where the safe deposit boxes are now would be well suited to storing the archives belonging to the Asian Cultural Society.

The Oklahoma Historical Society has urged the renovators to preserve the old teller cages, eight of which line the eastern side of the lobby. Though the wooden stalls, cut in a zigzag fashion with simple, gold-colored accents, are a historic feature of the building, their continued presence does pose a challenge for the designer. The project team is working with the Historical Society to find a way to both keep the teller cages and provide easy access to the businesses that will be located on the east side of the bank.

Lam and her husband, ophthalmologist John Belardo, paid $1.1 million for the building in April 2003 to save it from demolition. Built in 1958 to house Citizens National Bank and Trust Co., the building had changed hands a few times through bank acquisitions over the years until 2001, when then-owner Bank One announced its intentions to tear the building down and build a new bank and a Walgreens drugstore.

The building's primary tenant for 43 years - from 1958 to 2001 - was Citizens Bank and its successors. Citizens was closed 18 years ago on Aug. 14, 1986, and reopened as a branch of Liberty National Bank and Trust Co. on Aug. 18, 1986. Liberty was acquired by Bank One in 1997.

Historic preservationists and members of the community fought to preserve the building, however, recognizing its historic significance. The dome was designed by the late R. Buckminster Fuller - inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist.

The geodesic dome is the lightest, strongest and most cost-effective structure ever devised. Fuller's dome is able to cover more space without internal supports than any other enclosure, and it becomes proportionally lighter and stronger the larger it is, according to the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

Fuller's daughter, Allegra Fuller Snyder, contacted Waken to tell the new owners of the Gold Dome building that the U.S. Postal Service released a commemorative stamp in her father's honor on July 12. A celebration may be planned for the near future at the post office closest to the Gold Dome building, at NW 24th Street and N. Western Avenue.

08-09-2004, 09:00 PM
I like the use of glass. From the article, it's unclear what the Asian Cultural Center will be composed of and where it will be located. Other than the central lobby space and archive space, I wonder what the cultural component will look like.

Joe Schmoe
08-10-2004, 04:24 PM
I'm so glad that they (we) saved the gold dome from demolition, but I have to admit that I am mourning the loss of Jeff's cafe across the street. Jeff has moved a few blocks north on Classen, but now it's out of my neighborhood & too far to walk with kids for breakfast. Jeff & I have watched each other's kids grow up & I miss my local greasy spoon.

The real crime that I'm amazed isn't covered more, is the subjection of our City to corporate warfare between Walgreens & Eckerds. They chase each other around town, building across from one another with the express desire to drive each other out of business.

The downside for the City is that when their plan works, one or both of those stores will be closed. It is a guaranteed empty building. Cheaply made, they will have to be torn down before another company will move in. This will make the corners a blighted area for sometime to come.

Having worked for the City, I'm not surprised that they choose short term tax gain over the interests of the citizens. This should not be allowed, but hey individual taxpayers never count...

08-10-2004, 08:56 PM
I definitely agree with you Joe. Our city needs to do something about Walgreens and Eckerd being on every corner in town. Like you say, the buildings are cheaply made and when and if ither chain goes out of business, the buildings will have to be demolished. 10-20 years from now, that won't be too nice of an experience to have to watch.

08-11-2004, 05:24 PM
Eckerds will be taken care of in due time... It will no longer exisit. They will be converted to CVS in the very near future. In fact, the first CVS will open soon in Del City.

Actually the Eckerd (CVS)/ Walgreen marketing strategy is really smart. They are very much competitors, so, having them close together as most are or will be is really intellegent marketing.

I am glad, however, that Walgreen agreed not to demolish the Dome. I only wish they had used it for their location.

Joe Schmoe
08-11-2004, 06:40 PM
"Like you say, the buildings are cheaply made and when and if ither chain goes out of business, the buildings will have to be demolished. 10-20 years from now, that won't be too nice of an experience to have to watch."

I don't think it'll take that long. How could the demographics of any neighborhood support two drug stores? They can't. The loser has to dip into corporate funds to support the effort.

I'd like to see the sales figures (which are obviously confidential,) but I wonder who is winning.

I agree with MrAnderson that it is smart corporate planning, but it would be smarter for the City to limit it. It is cynical manipulation of the neighborhoods where it is used. Capitalistic choices in price & selection will prove out the winner, but neighborhoods will be blighted by the prefab hulk of it's competitor.

I am certain that losing a venerable local cafe (one of the earliest, if not the first Beverly's) & it's nice quirky 50's architecture, to a prefab store that is only placed there because they hate Eckerd, is a negative.

We know how much they love the neighborhood, they wanted to push over the Gold Dome for their corporate war.

I'l never shop at Walgreens, they look like bullies to me.

Joe Schmoe
08-11-2004, 06:52 PM
Beyond my Walgreens rant, I am gratefull to Dr Lam for having the vision to take on the Gold dome. It is fitting that it is a successful Asian that has invested in our area.

I am glad that the dome is in better shape than first thought, but it is NO surprize that the bank overstated the degeneration of the dome to justify tearing it down. The same was done with the downtown YMCA, a nice internationalist style building that was allowed to rot so that the new owners could make a parking lot.

Dude, there I go ranting again...

I love old buildings.

08-11-2004, 10:02 PM
Joe, I couldn't agree with you more, in regards to old buildings, the Gold Dome, and the old YMCA. Bank One lied about the status of the Gold Dome saying that it's biggest problem was that it was leaking, and the leaks would cost millions to fix. It's awfully funny that Dr. Lam buys the building and contractors find no leaks at all, just condensation collecting between the ceiling tiles and interior dome. It just goes to show me that Bank One really had no intentions of saving that building if they didn't even do the proper research into costs for renovations. Also, it was Bank One's fault that the building deteriorated in the first place. They're the ones that were responsible for maintaining the building. If they would've pulled proper maintenance on the building, it wouldn't need so many repairs now, all at one.

In regards to the old YMCA, when a buyer offered to purchase the YMCA and bulldoze it, it took no time for the deal to be completed. Owners of the YMCA rushed as quickly as they could to try to get that building torn down. Fortunately, with the Gold Dome, the fact that it was in a historic district saved it, by allowing citizens time protest and find a buyer......while Bank One was having to go through all of the necessary steps with the Urban Design Commission, or whatever it's called. There was no time at all to protest the destruction of the YMCA building. It's definitely a lost treasure. Oh well.......I still have a picture of it in my Modern Science text book from was listed as a fine example of international architecture and there's a great picture of it when it was newer. I'll scan the picture and try to post if, if this board will allow me.

08-11-2004, 10:14 PM
Here's a pic of the downtown YMCA from the late 60's early 70's. I'll try to add it to the Photo Gallery as well.