YMCA

The YMCA building was built in 1948 on the Northeast Corner of 5th & Robinson. Following the 1995 Murrah Bombing, the building was razed. The building had not been rendered structurally unsound as a result of the bombing, but it did suffer substantial superficial damage. I have been advised that the building was one of a handful of International Style buildings remaining in the United States, (cont. ...)

1948.ymca.jpg
(... cont.) and, even though civic efforts were made to preserve it, the building's owner apparently considered that a street-level parking lot was a more appropriate use for the property, and the building was unnecessarily destroyed.

From a generous anonymous source comes this greater detail:


It would be historically accurate to state that The City of Oklahoma City was offered the building free of charge by the YMCA, but The City declined because of fear of the cost to abate the asbestos in the building.

After The City declined to accept the building from the YMCA, it was purchased for about thirty thousand dollars. After a year or so of inactivity, the City began putting pressure on the building’s owner him to do something with the property. OKC had spent about $60K to have the building boarded and cleaned up and also was also concerned because of the negative visual impact due to the buildings proximity to the Murrah Memorial.

An investor entered the picture and decided that demolition of the building and construction of a surface parking lot would be a profitable investment. As it turned out, perhaps that was the case. The City recently purchased the parking lot from him at a price that I believe was a profit.

But, earlier, there was quite a bit of media coverage and public controversy surrounding the effort to save the YMCA building. Several members of the architectural and engineering community and others joined in this effort. A redevelopment plan and proforma was developed that demonstrated the economic viability of the building. Three hearings in front of the Urban Design Commission resulted in a denial of the demolition permit based on the same language in the Urban Design Ordinance that kept Bank One from arbitrarily leveling the Gold Dome Bank Building. However, after two hearings before the Board of Adjustment, the UDC decision was reversed and the demolition permit was approved.

Following meetings with the YMCA supporters, a legal defense fund was organized and an appeal was filed in District Court. See the case docket sheet here. But, after spending about $25,000 on legal fees and with litigation costs having no end in sight, the case was voluntarily dismissed, and demolition of the building began in June of 2001.