LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It is a plan that came together pretty quickly.
In May, citizens voted to abandon the Lubbock Municipal Auditorium and Coliseum, leaving major events like the ABC Rodeo without a home.
“Our group came together and we said, ‘What do we need? What would benefit Lubbock?’" said Randy Jordan, chairman of the Lubbock County Expo Center Steering Committee.
The group decided on a multipurpose dirt arena that could serve as a venue for concerts, sporting events, horse shows, equipment shows, professional rodeos, competitive livestock events and more.
"Quite honestly, I’ve never been a politician, I’ve been a banker for 40 years and I look at plans, I look at things all the time,” Jordan said. “We did as a good a job as we knew how based upon numbers to get an estimate of the construction cost, the land cost, of all of the architecture costs and the furniture fixture and equipment it is going to take to house the arena the exhibit hall and all of these things. All of that together will be within that $50 million range,” Jordan said.
Jordan said the steering committee used the City of Lubbock’s 2017 numbers to get an idea of what the income stream would look like with a 2% increase in the Hotel Occupancy Tax and up to a 5% increase on rental car tax.
The tax increases fell under Proposition A on Lubbock County voters' Midterm Elections ballot, which passed with 65% of voters in favor of the proposition.
Jordan said the car rental tax increase would require legislation, so the major income for this project will come from the Hotel Occupancy Tax.
“For the people to say yes to this step, now gives us that income where by now we go to the commissioner’s court and say ‘Guys, we need to build this. So we need to do a revenue bond, we’ve got the income to take care of it. We will be working to put our endowment together. Those pledges are already out there, the commitments and so forth,” Jordan said.
When determining what the arena would look like, the steering committee said it took into consideration what venues Lubbock already offers and how many attendants ABC Rodeo drew in.
“We felt like we needed to do something that Lubbock doesn’t have. We’ve got the United Supermarkets Arena that will take 15,000 for the big concerts, but we didn’t have anything in between. We’ve got some venues that will take care of 2,500. We thought 6,000. The ABC Rodeo, they have been doing about 4,500 people for last four or five years. With a new venue, we’ve said it’s going to grow, so we have to make room for that,” Jordan said.
Jordan said the plan right now is to have 6,000 permanent seats with an additional 1,000 to 1,500 on the floor.
He said the plan is for the venue to include an exhibit hall that will serve as the home of the Lubbock County Junior Livestock Show and other facilities to accommodate horses.
Jordan said the coliseum seated 8,000 and could hold another 1,000 on the floor, and if that many seats are needed at the new facility, the property will be large enough to accommodate an expansion.
“The footprint we are talking about will take a minimum of 50 acres,” Jordan said.
Jordan said they are hoping to built the facility on 80 to 100 acres so there is plenty of room for trailers to move in and out, which is why they chose the property off of North Loop 289 and University.
“Accessibility, affordability, visibility, all of those things came into play,” Jordan said.
Now that Proposition A has passed, Jordan said the real work begins.