Developer confident funds will be secured to move forward with Lubbock County Expo this year

Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 9:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock County Expo Center developers expect to submit a building application to the City of Lubbock by the end of March. While not setting a groundbreaking date or revealing how much fundraising has been done, Greg Garfield of Garfield Public/Private told KCBD enough funding would be secured to forge ahead with the $120 million venue project.

“We have confidence through commitments that have already been made and through work that has been done by Bonham/Wills and Associates, our naming rights consulting partner, that the value is there that will allow us to secure, over the next several months, all of the private funding that’s necessary to move forward with the project,” Garfield said.

At the March 22 meeting of the Lubbock County Expo Center Local Government Corporation, a discussion of the private fundraising took place during the executive session.

“This is really to preserve our ability to negotiate the best deal for the project and to protect the confidentiality of the donors until the deal is structured and they want their name to be disclosed,” Garfield said.

The project budget presented at the meeting still shows the initial phase of the Expo to cost $89,776,660. The Lubbock County Auditor told the LGC that the Venue Fund has a balance of $5.9 million. That’s the collection of the Hotel Occupancy Tax.

While it’s unknown when construction would begin at the North University & North Loop 289 site, the earliest opportunity would be this summer, based on a schedule shown to the LGC. According to the schedule, the building permit submission will be on March 31. It’s expected the permit would be pulled prior to June 1.

“It typically takes several months from initial contact to contracting the funds for us to set a date for breaking ground on the project,” Garfield said. “I don’t want to put a date out there right now. I think it’s very possible for it to happen this year.”

Chairman of the Lubbock County Expo Center Board Randy Jordan promises things are moving faster after a slow down, which he said was primarily due to the pandemic.

“It was going to be a fool’s errand to try to go out and raise the kind of money we needed to raise during that time period,” Jordan said. “What we did do is that we continued to work on the planning, the designing, the development. We hired the right people to move it along.”

He said while there have been circumstances beyond the control of the respective entities, the working relationship among them will continue to ensure the Expo Center comes to fruition.

“To our citizens of Lubbock County, be patient,” Jordan said. “We’re working very, very hard to bring this to fruition. The LGC LCEC, the County, everybody wants this to happen. We’re given a lot of time, energy, and effort to see that it happens. So, just be patient with us. We’re going to get there.”

For the Lubbock County Expo Center website, click here.

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