Lubbock Needs Another Mall. Change My Mind.
The South Plains Mall. Isn't it cute?
For almost 50 years, Lubbockites have trekked to the Hub City's only indoor shopping mall for holidays, school shopping, cheap earrings, you name it. It's OUR mall, and has been since 1972.
Stores have come and gone, and while we still have a pretty impressive Barnes & Noble, I have to say, the mall is starting to show its age.
Not just that, but the location on Slide Road just north of Loop 289 is not exactly the greatest anymore. It's not unsafe, necessarily, but its central location and status as the only indoor shopping mall in the area tends to bring out the "unsavory" among us. Oh, and it's also miserable trying to park out front in those micro-spaces.
As evidenced firsthand by a coworker who went there recently, now that citizens are starting to emerge from lockdown, the mall is getting even busier than it ever has. With (unofficially) the world's narrowest parking spaces that creates headaches for those who just want a leisurely shopping experience, it can be a chore just to find a good spot.
So, how do we solve these issues?
Simple: let's build another mall.
I'm not suggesting that we need some monstrosity such as the Mall of America (even though that would be cool and a great way to bring in tourists), nor so we need another hip outdoor venue such as the West End Center.
No, Lubbock needs something surrounded by plenty of open space with plenty of parking and room for growth, in an area where residents are already settling in. They don't exactly want to drive all the way to South Plains Mall, but instead would prefer a classy, upscale, indoor shopping center to call their own in which to beat the summer heat and West Texas wind that is just minutes away.
But where to build Lubbock's new shopping hub? Again, you have to look at where the area is growing. Specifically, south and west.
Along those lines, ideally, you would look at some of the wide open spaces south of FM1585. Milwaukee Ave. dead ends into 130th Street just south of the Lubbock Sports Complex, with loads of farm land out that way. That could be an excellent spot for the new Mall of West Texas.
As you can see, just west of Milwaukee on FM1585, there is farmland that stretches all the way to Wolfforth. In addition, there are subdivisions that are being planned as we speak, so why not create a wonderfully upscale, dining and shopping mecca for residents of South Lubbock that becomes a destination for the entire area?
We know it could take years and there will be lots of political posturing and teeth-gnashing. However, Lubbock is growing. Rapidly. We cannot afford to miss the chance to continue to attract young families and business to our region.