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News / Nation & World

Oklahoma City could become home to tallest building in U.S.

But some residents are concerned about proposed 1,907-foot-tall structure

By Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News
Published: April 19, 2024, 9:09pm

New York City will no longer be home to the tallest building in North America if a plan freshly approved by Oklahoma City officials stays on course.

However, some residents near the site of the proposed Legends Tower have expressed concerns about the 1,907-foot structure — a number representing the year Oklahoma officially became a state.

Three months after announcing plans to build the tallest skyscraper in the country, the Oklahoma City Planning Commission approved zoning for a building that will stand 131 feet taller than lower Manhattan’s One World Trade Center. Once completed, Legends Tower will be a football field bigger than 1,550-foot Central Park Tower, North America’s second-tallest building.

Part of a large project

According to the AO architecture firm behind the design, Legends Tower will be part of a mixed-use project called The Boardwalk at Bricktown, featuring nearly 2,000 apartment units, a Hyatt hotel, a sports arena, and 110,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment.

But while the planning commission gave its blessing on the height of the estimated $1.6 billion project, officials held off on approving bright signage that isn’t sitting well with locals, according to The Oklahoman.

“We’re not Las Vegas,” Oklahoma City resident Cynthia Ciancarelli told officials. “We’re not Manhattan.”

Ciancarelli and other Oklahomans worry that proposed ad space on the building could cause sensory issues and appear “a bit tacky.”

She also expressed concern that Oklahoma City is already a “one-stop shop for disasters,” including earthquakes, tornadoes and terror attacks.

In 1995, 168 people were killed when a domestic terrorist detonated a truck full of explosives outside a federal building — but tornadoes are a far more regular occurrence. The National Weather Service reports that the Oklahoma City area has been hit by more than one twister on the same day at least 30 times.

But a well-designed skyscraper could survive in the area known as “Tornado Alley,” the architecture firm said. At a planning meeting last week, the team offered reassurance that engineers will build a concrete core surrounding the skyscraper’s elevator shaft, and that the windows will be capable of withstanding a tornado without damage.

City is growing fast

Experts told The Oklahoman that once completed, Legends Tower and The Boardwalk at Bricktown could be a boon to continuing growth in Oklahoma City, which the U.S. Census Bureau says is the sixth-fastest-growing city in the nation.

Construction is set to begin later this year on parts of the project, with Legends Tower coming later.

If all goes according to the city’s plans, Legends Tower will become the sixth-tallest building in the world, behind China’s Ping An International Finance Centre.

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