A new story for The National

History comes alive in Oklahoma City with the highly anticipated debut of the region’s restored crown jewel, The National, Autograph Collection, at the First National Center. The building opened in 1931 as an iconic bank and historic landmark, and stands proudly over 32 stories to this day. After a comprehensive restoration and one of the largest renovations in state history, the bank’s former office tower has been transformed into a 146-room hotel, along with opulent new apartments, restaurants, bars and retail offerings.

Widely considered one of the region’s greatest architectural treasures, the First National Center is on the Historic Register and was once Oklahoma’s tallest building. Oil drilling, banking, and the story of Oklahoma City’s tremendous growth and arduous challenges are all woven into the fabric of the First National Center, reflecting the “modern frontier.”

This spring, the First National Center is set to become the epicenter and “living room” of Oklahoma City, reimagining the 1.1 million square feet. property in an Autograph Collection property, The First Residences at First National, Stock & Bond Steakhouse, Tellers Restaurant, The Great Hall bar, The Library of Distilled Spirits (in the bank vault), the National Ballroom, a hair salon and an explosive bar—all under one roof. Restoration efforts include repairs to murals, decorative painted ceilings, stone columns, cast stone, metal finishes, vault doors, and safes. The Great Banking Hall has been completely restored and will be used as a public hall. The basement and ground floor will feature a mix of high-end retail, multiple restaurants and bars, and commercial spaces.

The National, operated by Coury Hospitality, comprising the historic building’s first eight floors will feature 146 rooms (including 16 suites and the iconic Presidential Suite) designed with intentional and raw elements from the former building’s previous life. As a unique respite for locals and travelers celebrating the vibrant Oklahoma City community, the hotel rooms pay direct homage to the original design elements found at the famed property, retaining the boutique charm with inspired touches.

Taking what was originally intended to be offices for the former bank and many of the city’s most influential businesses, the rooms have been redesigned in detailed and sophisticated accommodations, with dark royal blue color palettes for a more intimate and inviting setting. Located on the third floor lives a 900 square feet. Presidential suite with a large dining table, high ceilings and several connecting rooms.

The intersection of old and new: intentional design

Redesigned and brought to life by NE Development & Partners, ADG, Flick Mars Architects and EverGreene Architectural Arts (historic preservation specialists known for restoring the Jefferson Memorial), First National Center evokes a level of refined endurance and opulence felt upon entering the building. Monumental in size and intricate in every detail, The National serves as a preserved hotel landmark and symbol of Oklahoma’s travel and connection to its past with an art deco and neoclassical design aesthetic.

“A deeper dive into the existing building revealed a mix of Art Deco and Neoclassical architectural styles blended in a grand way,” said James Flick, Architect/Partner, Flick Mars. “The Art Deco style was introduced to the exterior, the Barber Shop where the Mayor would hold ‘court’, the elevator lobbies and the Beacon Club; founded by a large two-story neoclassical banking hall, adorned with oversized hand-painted murals with a touch of art deco stylization.

Determined to breathe new life into the space and retain the existing structure, charm and banking artifacts of the 1930s, the First National Center is an embodiment of the building’s noble heritage – a moment of civic and national pride for the one of the finest examples of American craftsmanship.

“So more than most modern hotels, The National’s enveloping combination of architectural styles with a storied history gave the project exceptional credentials that Flick Mars wanted to highlight via the interior experience,” Flick said. .

Upon entering the lobby, guests are immediately greeted by large marble columns in the grand lobby and walls adorned with four large murals – the Louisiana Transfer, the Sunset Trail and two of the Oklahoma Land Run, all painted by Edgar Spier Cameron in 1931, depicting scenes of significant events in Oklahoma history, surrounding the “Great Hall Bar” and the lounge centering the space.

“There was a combination of design strategies that we used depending on the value and existing condition of the spaces within the hotel; these strategies include both restoration and adaptation,” Flick said. “Spaces with most of the original details intact included the 2nd floor grand foyer (former bank lobby) and the 1st floor entrance and elevator halls. Most floors had the original elevator lobbies and at least some of the original marble paneling in the hallways to work with. We kept these areas intact and had the finishes cleaned and repaired. Basically, the spaces had to be able to function within a hotel, hence the combination of a restoration part, an adaptation part to a certain extent. We have never focused on modern design per se.

Art Deco details are seen and felt inside and out, from the nearly century-old marble floor in front of each ticket window, to the aluminum aviation beacon that towers 456 feet above the pavement, at the gates of restored safes and a symbol that is unmistakably Oklahoma: the corn stalks that adorn the entrance to the building.

“An example of preserving history while adapting space to meet the needs of a modern hotel is found in the Great Hall,” Flick said. “We didn’t want to compete with the ornate details of the space, but we had to infuse energy into the space as it is the very heart of the property. We achieved this by adding a bar in the center of the Grand Banking Hall to the location of the original customer deposit/withdrawal forms area. We designed a bar and back bar element to enhance the ambiance of the room without detracting from the grandeur of the space. We have created a central bar evoking the art deco spirit of the exterior, without being a period piece. We surrounded it with four simple metal gates that frame the four entry points of the central bar. These elements bring a human scale and dynamism to the space.

World-class dining and drinking take center stage at the First National Center

The historic property will unveil several dining and beverage concepts under the direction of bespoke hotel management and development company, Apicii, and Michelin-starred culinary chef Jonathan Benno. From Tellers and The Great Hall to Stock & Bond and The Library of Distilled Spirits, each concept is imbued with a distinct personality and offerings that embody traditional Oklahoma City hospitality with unparalleled craftsmanship and locally sourced ingredients. reflecting the wealth of the region.

Cashiers (inside the National)

Tellers serves authentic interpretations of regional Italian cuisine with traditional Italian cooking methods and the philosophy of using seasonal ingredients with integrity form the basis of homemade pastas, Neapolitan pizzas cooked in a wood oven and vegetables and steaks of local origin cooked over a wood fire. grill. Tellers’ extensive Italian wine list highlights the breadth and diversity of Italy’s wine regions and unique grape varieties. Tellers is located in the historic gallery of the First National Bank among the original tellers, which have been meticulously restored. The atmosphere of Tellers and The Great Hall embraces the building’s rich heritage as a friendly common space.

The Great Hall (inside the National)

The Grand Hall evokes the majestic European bars open all day. The grandeur of this architectural masterpiece is the perfect setting to enjoy espressos accompanied by freshly baked pastries or craft European cocktails such as Italian aperitifs and Spanish gintonicos complemented by antipasti and Neapolitan pizzas from Tellers.

Stock & Bond (within the First National Center)

Stock & Bond is an American steakhouse that pays homage to the rich agricultural history of the High Plains, where ranchers and farmers have worked the land and raised cattle since the early 1800s. Stock & Bond also celebrates American distillers who have perfected their craft with an extensive selection of whiskeys and bourbons that complied with The-Bottled-in Bond Act of 1897, which stated that whiskey must be the product of a season of distillation from a distillery, aged in a bonded warehouse federal for at least four years and bottled at 100 degrees.

The Distilled Spirits Library (within the first national center)

The Distilled Spirits Library houses over 1,500 unique expressions of distilled spirits. The curated collection is documented in the library’s Encyclopedia, which highlights the rich history of liqueur making, from fermentation to distillation, aging and blending. The Library of Distilled Spirits pays homage to craft cocktail culture with a selection of over 200 classics. Bartenders will combine their in-depth knowledge of spirits and classic cocktails to create remarkable experiences for customers. The Distilled Spirits Library is located in the basement of the historic First National Bank building, with records of rare and fine spirits stored in the bank’s signature vault.

The first residences of the First National: where art, history and elegance meet

Art, history and elegance combine to create The First Residences at First National, an iconic living space in the heart of Oklahoma City, professionally managed by NE Property Management. The First Residences offer 193 spacious home configurations, including studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and penthouse floor plans that combine sleek, modern interiors.

“The National’s wraparound architecture is poised to tell an exciting new story – magical,” said Flick. “Rich in history, The National fuses an enduring presence with innovative amenities with nods to a storied past, including all conveniences and indulgences.”

High-end community amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, meeting rooms, 14-story parking lot, premium shopping experiences, rooftop terrace with heated infinity pool, cabanas as well as 24/7 valet and concierge services make this luxury apartment building suitable for a variety of lifestyles.

About Darnell Yu

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