By Mitch Borden
After standing for more than a half-century in downtown Midland, the nine-story Building of the Southwest is slated for demolition tomorrow morning.
“After decades of an empty building, we are thrilled to remove this eyesore,” said Midland Mayor Jerry Morales in a press release. “This is a milestone in our efforts to revitalize and renew the heart of downtown.”
Since late January, Midwest Wrecking Company of Texas has slowly been demolishing the building, first by breaking down the interior, the basement level and an adjacent garage. The 54-year-old Building of the Southwest will be imploding tomorrow, beginning early Saturday.
The planned demolition means part of the city center will be closed off to traffic. Beginning at 11 p.m. tonight and going until noon Saturday, a nine-block area will make up the exclusion zone around the Building of the Southwest. The zone’s perimeter will consist of Ohio Ave. to the north, Loraine St. to the east, Wall St. to the south, Marienfield St. to the west.
The public is urged to avoid the downtown area tomorrow morning.
Dubbed the “Tall City,” Midland’s downtown has become known for its towering buildings — a few of which have mostly sat empty for decades following the oil bust of the 1980s. Out of the 23 high-rise buildings downtown (there are 145 total buildings in the downtown corridor), only 4 are currently empty: the Vaughn, the Building of the Southwest, the Western Life Building and the First National Bank Building.
Across the street from the Building of the Southwest, the Vaughn —which developers have attempted to renovate in the past —has a new development offer. It’s set to become condominiums and an office space, the type of mixed-use Midland officials are pushing for in the downtown corridor.
Previous estimates found renovating the Building of the Southwest would’ve been a bigger cost to the City rather than demolishing it