It has been five years since the estimated $1 billion downtown redevelopment project began. In that time, not much progress has been visible, but work is being completed.
"Basically the first five years was trying to get a handle on what we had, which was about 21 million square feet of ground that we had to cover and most of it with building that were vacant," said Delbert McDougal.
Most of that time has been spent burying utility lines.
"Phase one of that is basically complete. We're in the engineering stage of phase two and then phase three goes all the way to Marsha Sharp," said McDougal. "It's going very well. It's slow, it's a process that up to this point you can't see what happened. That frustrates people and I understand that but you've got to make those changes in order to make the redevelopment of downtown possible."
The next building to be completed is the Pioneer Hotel.
"It should be open well before June quite honestly and that's going to really be the first thing of any nature on the taller buildings downtown," said McDougal and he believes the redevelopment will be a huge benefit to Lubbock.
"It's going to really put Lubbock and downtown on the national map," he said. "I think it's an absolute must, especially now with the reality of Texas Tech's growth and the medical facilities in the downtown area it's certainly something that will happen."
Another idea they are exploring is a possible rail line downtown that McDougal believes is an important part of redevelopment.
"We're involved in a fact finding mission to determine exactly where it would go, what the cost would be and how it would actually work between downtown, overton, Texas Tech and even back to the depot district and finally back over to the civic center," he said. "I think it is a huge deal because of the lack of parking in downtown because of the lack of parking at Texas Tech I think it really be a major asset to downtown assuming we can get it done."
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