Bringing Back Downtown Lubbock A Work in Progress, Will Take Time

Published 03/19 2014 06:26PM

Updated 03/19 2014 10:31PM

By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- Two years after city leaders had a celebration about Phase One of downtown redevelopment getting started, the Mayor said the overall project will take time.

Downtown redevelopment will take about 15 years, but Mayor Glen Robertson said it's something that is still being worked on, and is starting to gain a little bit of attention.

"I think if you're looking at a short term view, you'll be disappointed, but if you're looking for the long term, for the long haul for the city of Lubbock, I think we'll see some great things," Mayor Robertson said.

Phase one of the project, which city leaders announced was underway in March 2012, is almost done, according Mayor Robertson. That phase is moving utility wires that are in alleyways and walkways underground, for both safety and eye-appeal.

The project is starting with bringing utility lines underway section by section. This first section that is almost complete is a part that is from 10th Street down to Broadway from Avenue L to Avenue Q.

"I think phase one is like, 99% complete. Those utilities are underground, I think it went very well," Mayor Robertson said.

He also said some lines still need to move.  Mayor Robertson said the downtown master developer, which is McDougal Companies, has a few different phases lined up, but he's not sure exactly which one will be the next one to begin.

"This last year, we're starting to see a lot of activity, and it's taken the last 5 years of planning, developing, doing some of the burial of underground, planning for the rest of the engineering phases, there's had to be a lot of work done behind the scenes, but now we're starting to see investors kind of poke up their head, 'well now, wait a minute, maybe I'll look at downtown again'," Mayor Robertson said.

Mayor Robertson said one thing he thinks could bring people downtown is housing, especially for Texas Tech students. As TTU is looking to grow in the coming years, Mayor Robertson said that could be an opportunity for people to move.

"I don't see any other market for people wanting to live downtown than perhaps Tech students, so I think it would be a great fit and spur development," Mayor Robertson said.

He said where the people go, the money will follow.

"Each student spends an average of $22,000 a year in the city of Lubbock, that's just huge," Mayor Robertson said.

Marc McDougal is in the early stages of putting together plans for a light railway downtown, which could take people from Texas Tech, downtown, and even into the Depot District. Mayor Robertson said this is something that has the potential to work, if downtown is developed. "I think it's a great idea, a great concept, but it has to work in tandem with everything else going on in downtown," Mayor Robertson said.

He also said one goal is to get some of the old and abandoned buildings downtown back onto the taxroll.

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