Downtown Lubbock: One Square Mile of Opportunity
Downtown Lubbock • October 5, 2023
One square mile. It doesn’t seem like much right? Well, when you’re talking about the size of a city’s downtown area, it’s pretty sizable. To put it into perspective, Lubbock’s downtown area is the same size as Atlanta’s–larger than both Austin and Dallas.
It’s no secret that it’s been one of the city’s main goals in the past decade to rejuvenate and revitalize the downtown area. If you haven’t noticed, we’ve made some serious progress. But the exciting part is–there’s so much more to come.
Recently, we sat down with two major players in the downtown scene–Brianna Brown, Business Development Director for the City of Lubbock, and Jorge Quirino, Director of Downtown and Special Projects for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. In two separate interviews, both Brianna and Jorge described downtown Lubbock in one word: opportunity – specifically for businesses. We’re trying to make sure the opportunity they’re talking about isn’t unintentionally one of the best-kept secrets in Lubbock. So, let’s talk about it.
Why Is Downtown Important?
It’s what the people want! No, seriously. Studies show that the desire and need for more accessible, lively downtown areas is trending across the country.
“We know we have to have a competitive, vibrant downtown if we want to keep the younger workforce that's actually going to drive the economy in the decades to come. We have to play in that arena with them if we want to stay relevant,” said Jorge.
Both Jorge and Brianna stressed the importance of appealing to the younger demographic, especially Texas Tech students nearing graduation. We want them to fall in love with Lubbock during their time at university and choose to make it their permanent home. Improving downtown is a vital way to contribute to that goal.
“That's why bike lanes are going up everywhere. That's why the parks are being improved,” shared Jorge. “The city is really putting a big focus on that. We know that a thriving downtown kind of extends to a thriving community.”
Business Opportunities in Downtown LBK
With all this talk of improving downtown, filling it with booming local business is crucial to that growth. The good news is that there is plenty of room for new businesses to open or established businesses to expand into DLBK.
According to Brianna and Jorge, housing is desperately needed downtown. More and more people are looking to live in the area, but there aren't enough options to meet the demand.
We’re also never going to say no to more delicious downtown restaurants. With the downtown population expanding in terms of people who live, work, and go to school in the area, a new place to grab a bite to eat will always be appreciated and frequented by the community.
No matter what business you plan to bring to downtown, the community is ready to welcome and support your endeavors.
“I think downtown business owners want to see each other thrive,” said Brianna. “We all kind of share a common goal. What benefits me, benefits my neighbor, benefits their neighbor kind of thing. And so I think it's something cool to be a part of, especially right now when we're really on the cusp of seeing some really significant change.”
Another perk of opening a business in downtown is the opportunity to apply for the Downtown Grant Program. There are two options for grants through this LEDA program. You can apply for a Facade Grant, a Permittable Grant, or both! You can apply for these grants annually.
A Facade Grant provides assistance with almost anything you can see from the street of your business. Think repainting, new signage, or replanting some landscaping.
A Permittable Grant provides assistance with any project you have to receive a city permit for.
If you’re a business owner interested in applying for a grant, Jorge is who you will talk to. He says LEDA worked very hard to make the application process as painless as possible, hoping the grants were accessible to anyone interested. And when you go through LEDA for business development needs, grants are not the only support you’ll receive.
“We're helping in that small way with some of those expenses, but also being their biggest cheerleader through all of our resources that we have available to us,” said Jorge. “From the news, press conferences, social media, or our website–anything where we can get the word out.”
What’s to Come
For the last decade, the City of Lubbock and its municipal organizations have fought hard to make downtown Lubbock all that we know it can be. Businesses are moving back in, community members call the area home, and the arts are thriving like never before. And let’s not forget the Lubbock Downtown Park! All of these changes and improvements will be instrumental in making the heart of our city one of its most loved areas.
Jorge shared excitement for the future of downtown Lubbock. “This is not something that anyone could fix in a couple of years... but the effort from the city, developers, mom and pops, citizens of Lubbock all wanting it..it's happening at a much faster rate.”
Downtown Lubbock is thankful to have people like Jorge and Brianna leading the charge.
“I don't take ‘no' very well, so I'm going to keep fighting the fight until somebody tells me I'm not allowed to anymore,” said Brianna.
If you’re a business owner interested in applying for a Downtown Grant, please email Jorge at [email protected]
If you’re interested, you can donate to the Lubbock Downtown Park Fund here.
If you’re interested in opening a business in downtown Lubbock, please contact the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance.