LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Employees are expected to start moving into Citizens Tower by Nov. 1, but as that date quickly approaches, there are many questions about parking.
Downtown Lubbock near 14th Street and Avenue K will soon be home to a city complex which will include Citizens Tower, LP&L, Municipal Court, and a new police headquarters. This means hundreds of people will be working in the area every day.
“Parking will not be complete on that site when we move into the tower, now the perimeter parking will be," said City of Lubbock Councilman, Steve Massengale.
City officials tell the KCBD Investigates Team that they may have to bus employees to and from Citizen’s Tower during the first few months of work, because with the addition of the other offices, there is simply not enough space for everyone to park.
“We’re going to utilize the lots that we have that surround the perimeter of this project and if we have to, we can ship people back and forth via bus to the civic center, Massengale said.
The city is looking into building a new parking deck, but they have not yet explained where the funding will come from. City officials say they originally set aside $700,000 for a surface lot south of Citizens Tower, but once Municipal Court and police headquarters were added to the complex, the city did a parking study and determined their original plan wouldn’t work.
While touring the Tower, Massengale explained, “We feel like, rather than spend $700,000 on a surface lot here to the south of Citizens Tower, let’s incorporate that money into a more permanent solution. What that is, we’re not sure yet, but we’re working hard to find that solution.”
That parking study, which cost the city around $37,000, concluded that a new parking deck and the perimeter lots would give employees and visitors the needed 578 total spots. Those spots would all be for employees in the future police headquarters, Municipal Court, LP&L, all the citizens visiting, as well as the nearly 600 employees at the tower itself.
Something Councilman Massengale says will be enough, even though there are many more employees than there are parking spots.
“Well I guess that assumes everybody drives, I guess that assumes 600 cars come to work every day. I doubt if everybody drives to your work every day; some people were probably dropped off, maybe, I don’t know, somebody rides a bus, maybe somebody rides a bike. What they look at is current staffing, they studied the parking habits and routines and came up with that number.”
Even with the changes to the parking plans, Massengale says the tower is still on budget.
“First off, it would not be part of this project. It would be a separate project, so it will not affect the budget of the tower, but it would be somewhere in the range of $5 to$7 million in early estimates for us to put a deck up.”
Aside from the $700,000 originally budgeted for parking, so far it is unclear where the rest of the money will come from.
"We’ve got out work cut out for us,” Massengale said.
When asked where the rest of the money would come from Massengale said, “It would be hard for me to speculate at this point. It’s something that the facilities committee is going to work hard on this month.”
There used to be a parking garage next to the Tower, but the city says they had to tear it down because it would have cost $13 million for repairs. Massengale said they hope to have a solution for parking by the end of July. He adds that, so far, Citizens Tower is right on track budget-wise.
To break it down, without parking, the entire complex is expected to cost nearly $92 million - around $5.5 million for Municipal Court, $22 million for police headquarters, and $64.5 million for Citizens Tower.
The KCBD Investigates Team will follow up with the councilman by his July deadline to see what plan the city will implement, to keep you up to date on the timing and cost of this project.