Downtown Development in Early Stages - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/2/08

Downtown Development in Early Stages

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Downtown Lubbock will get a makeover, but there is a lot of preparation that needs to happen first. NewsChannel 11 told you last week that the city contracted Delbert McDougal to head up the downtown redevelopment project.

Several parts of downtown are rundown. Developers plan to revitalize the area, which is about one square mile, but first they have to deal with about thirty miles of power lines and redoing some downtown streets.

Lubbock residents are excited about the possibilities redeveloping downtown will bring.  

"I'd probably like to see more of like a shopping center," said An Tran. 

"Anything more with the arts would be nice," said Adam Reed. 

"More family oriented businesses, that we can get people to come in from out of town and boost up everything we've got going for Lubbock," said Elias Perez. 

Developers hope to see those things too, but first they have to deal with a mass of power lines. The power lines used in downtown run through the air and close to buildings, making it dangerous to work around them.  Before construction can start, developers will move power lines underground, and many of the older lines will be replaced. To do this and keep power running to the businesses already in the area will take some time and many millions of dollars.

"It'll be a couple or three years before you will see much more than demolition down here and digging some holes and closing some streets," said Tony Privett of High Plains Research.   

Developers say it's a process similar to the Overton area redevelopment recently completed near downtown. That project took almost ten years to complete. This one is estimated to take ten to fifteen, but developers say it will be worth the wait.

"The vibrancy of downtown is so important to all of the city, whether or not you come here or you use it or not, but the fact that you have the core services here. You've got people living, you'll have more economic vibrancy, you'll have a lower crime rate, and it'll just be a showcase for the city," said Privett. 

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