McDougal says Omni building needs to go

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 8/30/2012 8:45 am

It's 50 years old, and looks every bit of its age in a bad way. The Omni building has been a target for vandals, firebugs and thieves.

The mastermind behind Lubbock's downtown re-development, Delbert McDougal, said three weeks ago vandals targeted the Omni building.

"They actually stole most all of the copper from the top floor to the bottom, at wholesale they probably collected something over a $100,000," he said.

The Omni has seen its share of problems. In 2010 panels of marble fell off blocking a sidewalk and part of Avenue K. Last year it even caught fire, the cause is unknown.

McDougal said there's just no more value in this dilapidated, sometimes dangerous property.

"There is just no other option at this point other than to demolish the building and start all over," he said. "It is to a point that you have do something with it in order to move on with revitalization."

Lubbock Chief Operating Officer Marsha Reed said, "Unless it was under our ownership there is really nothing we can do at this time."

The owner of the 11-story building lives in Houston. The city reports the cost of demolishing the shell of a highrise could land between $2 million and $4 million, but it's unknown who might end up picking up the tab.

"It was doubtful anyway anybody would come in and spend that kind of money to fix it, and you have added to the point it really doesn't make it a whole lot of sense," McDougal said. "I think the best thing do is put enough heat on the lenders and people involved to either tear it down, or spend the money to fix it."

Reed adds the Omni building is a frequent topic of discussion for the Structural Standards Commission due to safety concerns. That board hears appeals on property condemnation.

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sharober - 8/30/2012 2:13 PM
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And I'm sure ole Delbert would just love to be the one to demolish it and build something else....and rake in a few hundred thousand for it.
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