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  1. Default Re: First National Update!

    If you guys are talking about the "skyscraper" that had a "time and temp" "box" at the top, that building was the former Liberty Bank building (now City Place) (befofre the "new" Liberty was built (now "Chase"). The "old" Liberty is now City Place and the new, as said, is now Chase Bank. The "old" liberty had the time and & temp box on the top, but the "new" never did. Some pics have been posted here already about that, but I don't want to search for them! They are here somewhere!

  2. #27
    Prunepicker Guest

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Loudenback View Post
    If you guys are talking about the "skyscraper" that had a "time and temp" "box" at the top, that building was the former Liberty Bank building (now City Place) (befofre the "new" Liberty was built (now "Chase"). The "old" Liberty is now City Place and the new, as said, is now Chase Bank. The "old" liberty had the time and & temp box on the top, but the "new" never did. Some pics have been posted here already about that, but I don't want to search for them! They are here somewhere!
    Here's a photo! Now I know why I thought it was on the 1st National Bank Building. It stayed on that building into the 70's.

    I feel much better.

    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/skyline%20views/citynationalbank.jpg

    Prunepicker

  3. #28

    Default Re: First National Update!

    1stNB used to have time and temp over the phone. That may be where I got the idea.
    Ah, that's a nice little memory you just jogged!

    Long before the Internet of even cable TV, I remember calling that number as a kid to get the temp., especially if we were expecting snow.

    And Doug, once Liberty moved to their new digs circa 1970, the main tenant was City National Bank, and that's why there was a script "City" drawn out on that electronic sign for a decade or two.

    Also, remember that there was a rash of suicide jumpers off that building in the mid-70's?


    It's funny how such a mudane little bit of trivia can bring an absolute avalanche of memories.

  4. Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    Wonder what'll be at the top. I think an observation deck would be great for OKC.
    That is a great idea! I've just come back from New York, where we elected to do the Rockefeller Center (GE Building) observatory, "Top of the Rock", as opposed to Empire State Building. NBC also used it as a sort of history museum on the lower floors, before you shot up rainbow-lighted elevator shafts in glass-ceilinged elevators.

    I think this would be a great, unique OKC history museum. Have an introductory musuem on the lower floors (entrance from the Great Banking Hall) which also serves as a line/queue, then send people up where the and indoor/outdoor observation deck has plaques all the way around the building telling you the history of various visible landmarks/areas.

  5. #30

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Did anyone catch the article in the April 16th edition of the Journal Record (JR)? It talked about the new owners of the First National wanted to turn the old bank vault in the basement into an upscale restaurant, perhaps even called "The Vault". Talks are in the works with several prospective restauranteurs. I think it would be sweet and add to the CBD nightlife. If anyone has access to the article please post it.

  6. #31

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Sure.

    First National tries to put old vault to creative use
    by Kelley Chambers
    The Journal Record
    4/16/2007


    Journal Record Photo
    OKLAHOMA CITY – The answer to the question what do you put in a bank vault is quite obvious – money, valuables, you name it. But what about a vault that’s no longer in use but still intact, complete with battleship steel and 20-ton doors?

    That’s the situation at the First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City, where the building’s new owners are trying to determine how the best use for cavernous vaults on the lower level of the former bank building.

    Zach Martin, who handles leasing for the building, said he would like to see a restaurant move into the space.

    The vaults are accessible now through ornate iron gates on the first floor, tucked away beside a staircase leading to the opulent former bank’s lobby.

    The entire 975,000-square-foot center is undergoing top-to-bottom renovations after it was purchased in May for $21 million by Los Angeles-based Milbank Real Estate Services. Part of the renovation includes the vaults, which Martin said have not been used since the 1980s.

    Martin said the space has potential to be a unique restaurant, complete with the original vault doors, which were installed in 1931. He said some parties have shared his interest.

    “I’ve talked with a couple of restaurant operators,” he said. “We’re in discussion with a couple of people, but we’re really looking for an upscale restaurant for the space.”

    Martin also said he has fended off some who inquired about using the vault for storage. Another stipulation for whoever ends up in the space will be that the new user keep the vault doors and incorporate them into the décor, not that the doors could be easily removed anyway.

    Martin suggested that a restaurant in the space could simply be called “The Vault.”

    “The vaults will stay vaults,” he said. “I’d hate to see this turned into storage.”

    Another former bank vault that has found a new use is at the Gold Dome on NW 23rd Street and Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City.

    The geodesic domed building was saved from demolition a few years ago and now serves as office space and a multicultural community center.

    Rick Pritchett, with Precor Realty Advisors, which handles leasing for the building, said the owners of the structure found a unique way to make use of the old bank vaults.

    “Probably the best use of all of these vaults is being used at the Gold Dome,” he said. “It’s actually an art exhibit room.”

    Inside two vault doors at the Gold Dome is a small gallery in about 1,000 square feet, where artists display their work. Pritchett said the artwork is changed out every few weeks.

    Martin said the real appeal of the First National vault space is its nod to the past that just can’t be replicated in newer buildings.

    “You can go out and build a hotel or restaurant as nice as you want it, but it’s not the same,” he said. “This is 1930s art deco with nickel, copper, these great vault doors and U.S. Navy battleship steel.”

  7. Default Re: First National Update!

    that would be cool, but in a way is sad that a big bank will not move in and take it over.

    but yeah, it would be a fantastic location for a 5-star continental dining restaurant; something the state does not currently have.

    And would be some pretty kewl adaptive reuse. !
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  8. #33

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Thanks for posting the article mentioned Spartan.

  9. #34

    Default Re: First National Update!

    With the Purple Bar at Nonna's, the Red Piano Bar at the Skirvin maybe they should have a bar in the restaurant in the FNB tower called the Gold Bar.

  10. Default Re: First National Update!

    Good name, CC.

  11. #36

    Default Re: First National Update!

    The Gold Bar sounds like a cheesy casino, I like "The Vault". Has a more modern urban ring do it.

  12. Default Re: First National Update!

    true

  13. Default Re: First National Update!

    I like THE VAULT. That would be impressive. I'm anxious to see what comes out of this First National deal.

    -----------

  14. #39

    Default Re: First National Update!

    How big is this vault?

  15. #40

    Default Re: First National Update!

    It's this big.

  16. Default Re: First National Update!

    Yeah, I like "The Vault" also.

    This would definitely be a hip, upscale 5-Star Fine Dining name for an restaurant establishment or the name of a dance club.
    Oklahoma City, the RENAISSANCE CITY!

  17. #42

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Although the owners are being intentionally vague, I'm actually encouraged to hear they now realize they are going to have to spend considerably more than $8 million to renovate this jewel. They have done a fantastic job with some older properties here in Los Angeles.

    Also, I love their comments about keeping the banking hall open to the community!


    ************

    Slow but steady: First National Center owners take time planning, getting to know OKC market

    by Kelley Chambers
    The Journal Record
    5/11/2007

    OKLAHOMA CITY – A little over a year ago Raymond Yashouafar and Simon Barlava had never been to Oklahoma, much less anticipated they would become regular visitors to check in on one of downtown Oklahoma City’s most recognizable buildings.

    But with the purchase of the First National Center for $21 million in May 2006 by Alliance Property Investments Inc. and Carla Ridge LLC, Milbank Real Estate Services came on board to manage the building.

    Yashouafar, vice president for operations at Milbank and Barlava, asset manager for Milbank, became the face of the buyers in Oklahoma City.

    Los Angeles-based Milbank has a history repositioning historic buildings into high-end office and condominium space.

    Since the sale, Yashouafar and Barlava have hopped a plane from L.A. about every two weeks to keep their finger on the pulse of First National. Locally, the property and facilities have been managed by Becky Chapo and Gary Gorbet. Zach Martin with Sperry Van Ness handles the leasing.

    Looking back at their first year in Oklahoma City, Yashouafar and Barlava said the company is pleased with the purchase but added it’s a big task to revive the ailing landmark.

    “We came in here pretty much with our eyes closed,” Yashouafar said. “Our first concern was the comfort level and safety of our tenants.”

    As Milbank realized the building renovation would likely cost more than their original estimate of $6 million to $8 million, they placed a particular focus on retaining the art deco look of the building and the ornate banking lobby on the second floor.

    And while both Yashouafar and Barlava said at times it would have been easy to cut corners or make swift decisions, they focused on the integrity of the building rather than a completion date.

    “We will not make a decision for the sake of making a decision,” Barlava said. “We would like to make sure the decisions being made are the right decisions.”

    He also said some elements of the building can’t be rushed, including plans for the 12,000-square-foot Great Banking Hall.

    “Our goal has been and remains that the banking hall is part of the history of Oklahoma City and First National,” Barlava said. “We cannot change the use of the banking hall where it would not be accessible to the community as a whole. It’s probably the most attractive space I’ve seen in my life.”

    And while the process may seem to be moving slowly, both men said they would like the renovations completed by 2010.

    Dave Lopez, who was the president of Downtown OKC Inc. when First National sold last year, said Milbank’s slow-but-steady approach to the renovations is a good idea.

    When the building was sold however, Lopez said he was leery, yet optimistic, about yet another owner for the structure.

    “I was encouraged,” he said. “But because of the history of the First National I wasn’t sure what the intent was of the new owners. But it’s been clear now that they’re looking for a long-term investment doing what they can to be part of the downtown renaissance.”

    Barlava said that one of the biggest challenges coming into Oklahoma City was getting to know the market.

    “Every market has its own systems, and for us to get to know the right people and learn the proper channels to go through has been very enjoyable,” he said. “Our first year has been a year of learning and understanding.

    “The better First National does, the better downtown Oklahoma City will do,” he said. “I’m a true believer that the more activity we generate, the more vibrant surrounding areas will become.”

    And while the building has seen some changes, Yashouafar and Barlava have both been tight-lipped about specific plans and deadlines.

    There is a method, however, to their reticence.

    “We don’t want to make any false advertisement or dangle carrots in front of people and say ‘this is what we’re going to do’ then not be able to do it,” Yashouafar said. “This has been a good year to see what the community wants. Each city has its own needs and desires.

    “Instead of saying ‘we will do this, we will do this,’ we want to show people this is what we’ve done, this is what we can do,” Yashouafar said.

    And while the building is slowly taking shape, Barlava said he still encounters skepticism from people who wonder if Milbank is truly the company that will bring First National back to its former glory.

    “The one question that everybody continually asks us is whether or not we are still as committed to the project as much as we were when we first took it over,” he said. “I can comfortably tell you that if anything, we have become more committed to it. We can see the potential very clearly now that our plans are set and clear, and the renovation is about to get executed.”

  18. Default Re: First National Update!

    I would rather them hold back on promises like this, then tell us huge plans that might never happen.

  19. #44
    Patrick Guest

    Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by jbrown84 View Post
    I would rather them hold back on promises like this, then tell us huge plans that might never happen.
    Which is usually what happens. How many fancy hotels has Brewer promised us now? Wasn't he planning on getting most of his canal space leased out the first year or so after the canal opened?
    What about the Steel Yard? Or The Factory? Or the Galleria Mall? Or Hogan's promises for a skate/bike shop with rentals on Lake Hefner, and his promises to build a board walk? And Springcreek Village's promise for upscale stores like Saks, Nordstroms, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Balliets, BC Clark, etc?

  20. Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    And Springcreek Village's promise for upscale stores like Saks, Nordstroms, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Balliets, BC Clark, etc?
    It that particular case it was The Oklahoman that made presumptuous predictions. SCV has actually turned out to have a good collection of upscale local boutiques and such, as well as several restaurants, a Legacy Bank, and Ballenger's.

  21. Default Re: First National Update!

    I've added an updated blog post which contains much more "historical" 1st National information than the 1st: Doug Dawgz Blog: First National Center

    The pics ... click the "http://xxx" links for larger images ... additional historic text is in the blog post

    Postcards from my collection

    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...alpostcard.jpg


    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...lpostcard2.jpg


    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...lpostcard3.jpg


    The Announcement In 1930
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...national01.jpg



    1931 Was A Heady Year
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...national02.jpg



    The Great Race
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...tionalrace.jpg



    The Entry To The 1st National
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...ionalentry.jpg




    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...onalentry2.jpg



    The Beacon
    (below which would be The Beacon Club from 1941-1997)

    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...ationaltop.jpg



    The 1986 Bank Failure
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...ionalfails.jpg



    The Grand Banking Hall In Better Days
    http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49...lgrandhall.jpg


    More descriptive text is in the blog post.

  22. #47

    Default Re: First National Update!

    I'm shocked no one posted this yet. It's from the July 5th edition of the JR:

    First National hires property manager

    July 5, 2007

    OKLAHOMA CITY – In addition to the process of renovating the First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City, the building’s management company has hired a new property manager.Milbank Real Estate Services, based in Los Angeles, came on board last year when the building was purchased for $21 million by Alliance Property Investments Inc. and Carla Ridge LLC.

    The management group has hired Emily Dobson as property manager effective July 9.Dobson and a staff of 10 will oversee construction, leasing and maintenance of the nearly 1 million square feet of space in the center including the 32-story tower.“I’m here to support this revitalization process at First National Center from top to bottom and everything in between,” Dobson said.With a 10-year track record of building management, Dobson has managed several Oklahoma City buildings including The Tower, Chase Tower (also known as the Cotter Ranch Tower,) and City Place.“I’m very excited about the future of First National Center,” Dobson said. “I have always loved this building. It has its own unique personality. It takes a special group of people to care about a property like this.”

    Milbank reports recent improvements have included work in the interior and the exterior, as well as fixing the clocks that extend prominently from the building at the corner of Park and Robinson avenues.Years of dirt and grime have also been removed on the exterior, thanks to a power wash on the building’s exterior.Inside the center, new fire and life safety systems have been installed as well as updating mechanical systems and installation of Wi-Fi Internet access in the building’s restaurants and coffee shop. Plans are also in the works for a multimillion-dollar renovation of the building’s common areas.Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said the chamber is excited about the renovations and hopeful the improvements occur in a timely manner so the chamber has a product to market in recruiting office users from both Oklahoma and from out of state.“It is something that has started a couple of times, and we’re really anxious to see it happen,” he said. “The First National is obviously the single-largest facility with a high vacancy rate in the downtown market so anything that improves that facility and would attract new tenants goes a long way in helping us achieve our other objectives.”

  23. Default Re: First National Update!

    Quote Originally Posted by metro View Post
    I'm shocked no one posted this yet. It's from the July 5th edition of the JR:
    Shock yourself in your sensitive parts, as well, my man! And thanks for the update!

  24. Default Re: First National Update!

    The article stated that the exterior has been power washed. I don't recall seeing the entire building being washed all the way up to the top. It would've been noticeable to most people, I would assume. I'm ready for this building to be fully restored and have companies moving in left and right. Hopefully this happens sooner rather than later. The occupancy downtown will improve greatly when this building is fully leased. Then we can get excited about the new Devon Tower!!

  25. Default Re: First National Update!

    Finally, some good news. Lackmeyer's been a busy man lately. This one is at NewsOK: Renovations to light up downtown building

    Renovations to light up downtown building

    First National Tower turns on red lights Wednesday
    in celebration of Valentine's Day.
    By Steve Lackmeyer
    The Oklahoman

    Downtown's First National Tower was lit up in red Wednesday night as owners sent candy and valentines to their tenants with promises of major improvements to follow.

    Emily D. Dobson, property manager, said Milbank Real Estate recently completed $1.2 million of improvements that included a new fire alarm and life safety system, domestic house water pump, fire sprinklers, gutting of 10 floors in the east tower to the complex, duct, roof and electrical repairs and sidewalk sealing.

    The valentines and boxes of chocolates delivered to tenants include an invitation of a March 12 announcement of the next phase of renovations to the tower, which was built in 1937 and is considered one of the city's top architectural landmarks.

    "Valentine's Day marks an exciting beginning for the First National Center,” Dobson said. "The red lights symbolize more than the holiday, it represents a new era and an exciting future for this beautiful building. The owners of the building have promised extensive renovations and they are ready to deliver.”

    Dobson said improvements to date have mostly been in-house.

    "What we're getting ready to do will be visible,” Dobson said. "It will be awesome.”

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