Lubbock County Expo Developer expects ‘major announcements’ in ‘short order’
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The developer of the Lubbock County Expo Center told a meeting of both governing boards Wednesday that sponsorships will be secured over the next few months, and he expects to then make those announcements.
Private fundraising efforts are one of the reasons construction has yet to begin, now going on five years since Lubbock County voters approved the project.
“We’re still very positive that we’re going to get there in very short order with some major announcements to follow, including hopefully, the Expo Center title sponsor,” Greg Garfield of Garfield Public/Private LLC said.
“We’re in discussions with companies about the overall Expo Center naming rights sponsorship, and the arena, as well as multiple sponsorships at lower levels, including soft drink, malt beverage, financial institutions, auto companies, insurance companies. All those things are going to stack up to give an annual amount that [the Lubbock County Expo Center] will be able to secure a bank loan to provide the remainder of the funds to start construction on the project.”
The Lubbock County Expo Center Local Government Corporation gathered with the private Lubbock County Expo Center Board representatives Wednesday for their first monthly meeting of 2023.
Garfield staff told them some sort of foundation work would need to be done at the site of the Expo Center on North University and North Loop 289 or the building permit with the City of Lubbock would expire in May.
“Any kind of foundation work that requires a rebar, concrete inspection, basically tags the city system to extended an additional six months,” Matt Edwards, Garfield Public/Private Project Executive, said. “May will sneak up on us pretty quickly. We want to have a plan B set in place.”
Edwards said the same issue came about last November and an elevator slab was laid. Edwards also told the board members that construction documents are set to be complete in January and would be shared with all parties for review.
“Really the focus has been, for the past five or six months, focusing on any kind of cost-saving opportunities, which we’re continuing to do, as I’ve said many times, we’ll continue to do all the way through bid time,” Edwards said.
Garfield said the project is within budget and has $296,000 in contingency funds. The first phase of construction is still expected to cost nearly $90 million. The remaining three phases are budgeted at $7.1 million, $11.8 million and $11.6 million.
Garfield believes that the announcement of the Expo Center’s major sponsors will have a snowball effect for the others. The identity of potential sponsors has remained confidential, but the developer says proposals total more than $50 million over 20 years.
“We have to be strategic about the announcements as we roll out,” Garfield said. “As we secure the sponsorships in the next few months, we want to make sure we’re announcing the big sponsor first. We’re going to get a big bang for our buck for that and I think our title sponsor for the Expo Center is going to want the biggest bang for the buck by being the biggest announcement first. Also, once that big announcement happens, it’s going to set a bar and allow, I think, for other sponsors, to make it easier to secure those sponsors.”
The LGC also recommended that Lubbock County enter into a Right to Compel Title Agreement with the LCEC on Wednesday. According to Garfield, it would allow all land at the Expo Center site to be exempt from property taxes. That agreement now goes to the Lubbock County Commissioners Court for approval.
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