Cleanup is underway after a fire yesterday at the First National Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
Owner and developer Gary Brooks says the fire only charred a few rooms on the 26th floor of the 33-story building. Brooks say it hasn’t set back construction on one of the country's largest historical restoration projects.
The building opened in 1931, but sat empty for decades until Brooks purchased the property. His goal is to transform the building into a high-end hotel and apartments by July of 2020 using $200 million in renovations.
Right now crews are removing asbestos and demoing parts of the building. The building features a massive great hall with Art Deco design that once served as the bank lobby. All the original fixtures and stonework will be preserved.
The hall will serve as the hotel lobby and feature a bar and café. The bank's large vault under the hall will provide space for a restaurant and speak-easy style bar.
Brooks says his inspiration for the renovation job came partly from what he saw when he visited the Chicago Athletic Club Hotel.
“Only once in lifetime can a developer get a chance to do a building like this, so we are having a lot of fun,” says Brooks.