Akron’s skyline will never be the same again.
Workers have removed the iconic dome atop the restaurant in Tangier as the historic complex prepares for its next chapter.
There will be no salvage of the distinctive blue ornament. The structure was dismantled and thrown into a dumpster.
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The LeBron James Family Foundation purchased the restaurant at 532 W. Market St. last December with the intention of transforming it into a community retail, dining and event space by 2022.
Founder Edward A. George opened the restaurant in 1954 at 663 E. Exchange St. across from Mason Park in East Akron. Following a devastating fire in 1958, it moved to West Market Street a year later.
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The famous dome was erected on July 16, 1976, during a $ 5 million expansion project that brought Tangier’s capacity to 2,000.
“It was a big deal when my dad installed it in the 1970s,” longtime owner Ed George, the founder’s son, said on Monday. “God knows what this thing cost. It made us a point of reference, I tell you what.
The 30-foot-high, 3,000-pound fiberglass dome was constructed in 12 sections and assembled on the roof. It was lifted by a crane and bolted to metal I-beams above the main entrance. The summit stood 50 feet above West Market Street.
The vaulted ceiling created the illusion that customers were looking at the dome as they entered the restaurant. A little secret: the hollow dome was at the top of the roof and was not visible from below. In fact, it wasn’t exactly above the lobby.
Akron’s Ernest Alessio Construction Co. oversaw the 1976 expansion project, which included a three-level parking lot for 550 cars, a 7,200 square foot ballroom and the 300-seat Sultan’s Cabaret, a hall Las Vegas-style entertainment.
The dome weighed for 45 years before being dismantled.
“We are moving quickly,” said contractor Dan Beam, owner of Akron’s Beam & Skeans Construction with business partner Matt Skeans. “It was taken apart on Friday and it’s in a dumpster as we speak.”
He had 12 hours to organize the project after receiving a phone call Thursday night from Frank Lucco Co. about an opening on the schedule the next morning following the cancellation of another job.
Beam workers arrived around 6 a.m. and began to tear down the dome. A team from Lucco arrived at 8 a.m. and started dismantling the sections with a crane. The job was finished at 10 a.m.
“We cut it up and smashed it and put it in the dumpster,” Beam said.
It was sad, he said. The workers wished they could save the dome – one guy even thought it could make a great outdoor bar – but it was just too heavy to salvage.
“You couldn’t move it,” Beam said. “You’d have to take down the power lines and everything. It was just too big.
George said Beam called him and asked if he wanted to take a look.
“Well, I don’t have such a big dog,” George joked. “I can make a niche out of it. What am I going to do with it? “
He had heard a rumor a few months ago that the dome might go on sale, but he doubted it. By the time someone takes it apart, moves it and reassembles it, it would be cheaper to buy a new one, George said.
Tangier continues to host this year receptions and other events reserved before the sale of the building. The final event will be New Years Eve.
The LeBron James Family Foundation is considering renaming the venue House Three Thirty, a reference to the Akron area code. The complex will benefit the families of the I Promise school and the children supported by the foundation.
Renovations continue at the entertainment complex. The minarets at the corners were dismantled and the facade of the building was painted black.
The sign remains in the front for now. But there is no dome.
“Well the place doesn’t even look like Tangier anymore,” said George.
Mark J. Price can be contacted at [email protected]