Lubbock County Expo Center anticipates groundbreaking in 2023, working to cut costs

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 8:31 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As the Lubbock County Expo Center begins announcing private sponsors of the project, its leaders believe they can break ground this year and invite citizens to enjoy the venue in 2025.

On Apr. 11 the LCEC said Great Plains Distributors would be a founding sponsor, making Coors Light the Official Domestic Beer Partner and Dos Equis the Official Import Partner.

“We are using that to try to get some of the other prospects that we’re talking to, to move forward and see the excitement that’s happening here,” Greg Garfield of Garfield Public Private LLC, the project developer, said.

Garfield told the Local Government Corporation overseeing the project at its meeting Wednesday he expects to secure more sponsors, including for naming rights opportunities soon.

“Our list of naming rights prospects, we’ve got over 265, I think, prospects on that list,” Garfield said. “We’re obviously more active with a select group of those right now. We’re working the telecommunications category, we’ve got several meetings set up this week. We’ve got work in the financial institutions, including banks and others. Insurance companies, we’re in conversations with several of those groups.”

Discussions involving more specifics happen during executive sessions at the Local Government Corporation meetings.

On the public side of the fundraising for the Expo Center, Lubbock County calculates at least $7.2 million in the bank collected through the hotel occupancy and rental car tax.

At the site of the venue, North Loop 289 and North University Avenue, the LCEC expects to spend around $6,000-7,000 within the next month to construct walls on an elevator pit, which would prompt an inspection by the City of Lubbock and extension to the building permit set to expire in May. The LCEC has already poured a slab previously to gain a prior extension.

It’s also working to cut costs, especially as the price of construction has increased. They have referred to these efforts as “value engineering.”

“We’re not sacrificing any operational concerns, that kind of stuff, but some of the major components were looking at differing include some of the towers that are on the project,” Matt Edwards, Project Executive, said. “We still have these architectural towers at the two entries but there are also towers in the four corners of the arena. That was almost a million and a half dollars in savings.”

Edwards told the LGC of other cost cutting, like lowering the roofs on the buildings, changing seating systems and more. The equestrian pavilion will also be moved away from the main building for better functionality as well as value engineering.

“We feel like with the value engineering and improvements of design, we’ve been staying within the budget that we have for the project,” Garfield said.

The LCEC previously called them phases of the project but now refer to them as components. The first, which includes the livestock arena and warm-up canopy, is budgeted at around $90 million.

To aid with private fundraising, the LCEC is hosting its 2nd Exponanza event. Clay Walker will headline a concert on May 20 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. For ticket information, click here.