An Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden landmark is receiving new life thanks to the creative collaboration on historic tax credits between Oklahoma City Zoo officials and Bank of Oklahoma. What started as a simple donation grew into something much more when Bank of Oklahoma was able to buy out tax credits and free up $4 million in liquidity to allow the OKC Zoo to make much needed improvements to its historic Love’s Pachyderm at Expedition Africa.

“Bank of Oklahoma was generous enough to donate to Expedition Africa, our new exhibit opening this summer,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Oklahoma City Zoo’s executive director/CEO. “And in those conversations, we shared that we needed some professional guidance navigating a historic tax credit on our pachyderm building which was constructed in the 1960s and is on state and national historic registries. Bank of Oklahoma was quick to pull together the expertise needed to come to the table with a solution that would allow us the flexibility to move forward.”

“Essentially, Bank of Oklahoma was able to buy or absorb these tax credits and thereby provide the Zoo with additional liquidity they needed to make the most of this project,” said Greg Wheeler, Bank of Oklahoma’s OKC market CEO. “We saw this as an investment into our city, and into a piece of OKC history, and were thrilled to learn that renovating this facility meant additional job creation and community education programs. The pachyderm building will continue to be an OKC Zoo landmark that will create memories for many future generations in OKC,” he continued.

An architectural highlight of Expedition Africa, the pachyderm building has been reimaged with animal habitat spaces where guests can enjoy up-close views of iconic African species, an expanded outdoor veranda offering open views of the Zoo’s multi-species savanna and giraffe feeding opportunities, an interactive children’s area and more.

Lawson added, “This represents tremendous forward momentum for the Zoo and we couldn’t be more excited about our next chapter.”