KONE escalator modernization project at First National Center in Oklahoma City wins Elevator World’s Project of the Year Award

Press Release Published 01/18/2023

KONE EcoMod™ solution takes top honors in escalator modernization category

First National Center lobby and exterior
Photos by Tanveer Badal.

Lisle, Ill., Jan. 18, 2023 – KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has received top honors in Elevator World magazine’s “Project of the Year” for its escalator modernization at the First National Center in Oklahoma City.

Originally completed in 1931 as the First National Bank & Trust, the now restored First National Center features The National Hotel, Autograph Collection with 146 rooms, the Great Hall fully restored as an expansive public gathering & dining space, the First Residences at First National apartment homes, as well as restaurants, bars and First Retail Center.

Modernization of six escalators was a key part of the renovation. KONE needed to seamlessly and elegantly blend state-of-the-art modernization equipment into a framework designed and constructed nearly a century ago, while serving the diverse needs of hotel guests, apartment residents and visitors. The innovative KONE EcoMod™ solution made the modernization possible by retaining the original escalator trusses and avoiding costly and disruptive demolition. The new technology also reduced the operating costs of the First National Center and provided enhanced safety. KONE also modernized the building’s elevators with KONE ReGenerate™ DX solutions.

“We’re honored to have this project recognized by Elevator World,” said Ken Schmid, executive vice president, KONE Americas. “We closely collaborated with our customer and provided immense care to help them restore such a unique, historical building, and we’re proud to have been a part of this restoration.” The escalator modernization project, highlighted in the January 2023 issue of Elevator World, was completed in March 2021. This is KONE’s sixteenth “Project of the Year” win in the escalator modernization category since 2005. More details about the project can be found on Elevator World’s website here.

For more than a decade, Elevator World has recognized top projects through extensive judging and selection by a panel of experts on various categories including innovation, originality and creativity, challenges overcome, installation methods and techniques and the use of advanced technology.

For more information on the KONE EcoMod™ solution, please click here.

About KONE

At KONE, our mission is to improve the flow of urban life. As a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, KONE provides elevators, escalators and automatic building doors, as well as solutions for maintenance and modernization to add value to buildings throughout their life cycle. Through more effective People Flow®, we make people's journeys safe, convenient and reliable, in taller, smarter buildings. In 2021, KONE had annual sales of EUR 10.5 billion, and at the end of the year over 60,000 employees. KONE class B shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. in Finland.

About The First National Center

The First National Center is one of Oklahoma City’s preserved historical treasures with a uniquely independent spirit. Following an extensive restoration effort and one of the biggest renovations in the state's history, the iconic bank and landmark monument has been transformed into a hotel with 146 guest rooms alongside new residences, restaurants, bars, and retail offerings. Originally opened in 1931 and widely considered as one of the region’s top architectural treasures, the First National Center is on the Historic Register and was once the largest building in Oklahoma. The restoration is part of the First National Center project and includes repairs to murals, decorative painted ceilings, stone columns, cast stone, metal finishes, vault doors, and safes. More than a building, it tells the story of the city’s tremendous growth and its arduous challenges. The First National Center is located at 120 N Robinson Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 on the corner of Park Avenue and Robinson Street, at the epicenter of the Central Business District. For more information, visit www.firstnationalokc.com.

2023-01-18 KONE escalator modernization project at First National Center in Oklahoma City wins Elevator World’s Project of the Year Award

Share this page


Are you interested in KONE as a corporate business or a career opportunity?

Corporate site

Would you like to find out more about the solutions available in your area, including the local contact information, on your respective KONE website?

Your suggested website is

United States

Go to your suggested website