Lubbock's Depot District is Booming - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/29/04

Lubbock's Depot District is Booming

May marks the ten year anniversary of the Depot District, and over the last ten years the area has undergone quite a face lift. New establishments are popping up this spring, but according to those in the district there is still room to grow.

Parking Limited in Growing Depot
The ever growing area known as the Depot District is drawing record crowds these days. The area once known as a college hang out is developing into an entertainment district for all ages. With martini bars, breweries, nightclubs and live music, but the growth in this Lubbock hotspot doesn't come without growing pains.

When the sun goes down on the South Plains, the lights in the Depot District turn on, showcasing restaurants, bars, clubs, and live music. In the last few weeks and the next few to come, four new establishments are opening in the area.

"We're all excited about it. Anytime you get some more construction and new businesses coming in all it can do is help the rest of the people down there all the other businesses draw more people into the area. So not only is it exciting for the new owners coming in, but it's going to be exciting for everybody," said President of Depot District Association Damon Richards.

Richards says the growth is good, but their ideas are even bigger. "I would like to see an entertainment art area, a place people can come to not just a night time, they can come down to it anytime of day. They can visit the area, walk around we'll have things for them to do. But we especially want to make it into a weekend type area where people can come in on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday and have something happening all the time."

Kurt Villard, owner of Klusoz opened in January of 1997, just a few months before Bleachers and Tom's Daquiri. "In the Depot, we all feel like we are all, even though we all obviously compete for every single person that comes down here, we also know that one establishment down here doesn't function without everybody else. That is the key to cornerstone of creating an entertainment district, and that is working with everyone else," says Villard.

It appears that it's working. On any given weekend hundreds of people flood the area, lining up to get in, or coming early for a good seat. It seems the idea of having a choice within walking distance works. "In the four five years I've been involved in the area, there has been significant change. And to me all of the change has been for the better," Richards says.

But just like the rest of the Hub City, this area has suffered with the hard times, business has been slower the last two years. A former hot spot known as the Red Door turned into a fiery blaze last August, but following an asbestos check the owners are set to demolish this eye sore in the near future.

"To me all of the change has been for the better. People have come in, taken some old warehouse, old buildings, they've fixed them up and come up with unique things and it's really pulled together," Richards said.

Pulling in customers from sunup to sundown. Retail hot spots like Bijou, Hulla B'Lu and TC Ellis's welcome Lubbockites in the daylight then they turn over the Depot to their neighboring vendors for the late night crowd.

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