Visitors can get one last glimpse inside First National Center before renovations begin

OKLAHOMA CITY - A beloved downtown skyscraper is seeing new life after a tumultuous past.

New ownership and a multi-million dollar renovation will bring the First National Center into a space for nightlife, living and shopping.

The First National Building is about to close for three years.

Before that happens, owners say they want to give the public a last look at the historic structure before major renovations are done.

"I just thought it would be a good opportunity, hey, let's open the building. Let people come in. Spend one last time taking a look at it,” Co-owner and Developer Gary Brooks said.

The $230 million project will include a hotel, restaurant, apartments, parking garage and shops.

"I think having this development here will really spur other developments, so First National will be the catalyst to really draw other businesses here," Tammy Fate, with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said.

The Park Avenue structure takes up the entire block and is one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown Oklahoma City.

"Programming this hall was one of the first things we knew we had to figure out and get it right, so we did 110 case studies around the country,” Brooks said.

The vaults downstairs will transform into an Italian restaurant, while one corner of the building will be a museum dedicated to the structure's history.

"While we want to create something that's great for the next 80 years, we also want them to understand the last 80 years. Who started the bank? How it happened, how important it was to downtown," he said.

Organizers say they are working to make sure the history throughout the building will be kept alive.

A cafe will be created with the bank teller windows, and artwork will be restored to look like new again.

"Just the opportunity to be a part of this is something that creates tremendous excitement for me, but yeah, we'll be nervous until we finish,” Brooks said.

The Great Hall and the old bank vault rooms will be open to the public on Friday, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Saturday, from 9 a.m. until noon.

After that, demolition, renovation and getting rid of asbestos will begin.