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The original item was published from 12/28/2007 10:08:34 PM to 6/29/2008 12:00:05 AM.

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Posted on: December 28, 2007

[ARCHIVED] Economy booming in Levelland

More than $3.3 million in new housing was built between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1 of this year - the most ever recorded in the city of 13,000 residents 30 miles west of Lubbock. The current construction boom in Levelland is vastly different from the construction that was taking place in the city even just five years ago.

In 2002, there were seven new houses built in the city, with a total value of $503,000. That same year, two new businesses opened in Levelland.

Fast forward to 2006. Twenty-nine homes worth $2.4 million were built in town, along with 12 new businesses.

And as of Dec. 1 this year, 21 new homes worth more than $3.3 million and seven new businesses opened in Levelland.

"Now we're getting interest from outside developers who have noticed the growth potential," said Dave Quinn, Levelland's director of economic development.

The city also saw its first $1 million home built this year on Levelland's growing east side.

"That's a big deal for us here in Levelland," Quinn said.

And the residential growth is likely to continue into 2008.

The city recently installed water and sewer systems, along with new streets, in a vacant area adjacent to the Holly Heights subdivision. Doing so clears the way for the construction of 36 more homes in the city.

A 64-unit apartment complex also is under construction, marking the first time a new apartment complex has been built in town in more than two decades.

And it's not just housing being built.

Between 2005 and 2007, 34 new businesses opened in Levelland. The prior three-year period, from 2002 through 2004, saw only 15 new businesses built.

"It has been a nice two or three years for us," Quinn said.

The city's growth momentum began about three years ago when Wal-Mart opened a store on the eastern edge of Levelland, Quinn said.

Shorty after the Wal-Mart opened, a new strip mall adjacent to the Wal-Mart opened with a handful of retail stores.

Then, Sundown State Bank opened a new branch in Levelland 18 months ago, and Aim Bank is in the process of moving into a new building on College Avenue.

Dollar General also opened a new store there in 2007.

This year also saw the opening of two new hotels in Levelland, a Holiday Inn Express and Best Western, which combined added about 110 rooms to the city.

Manufacturing growth also has picked up recently in Levelland, which has added valuable jobs to the local economy.

The Levelland/Hockley County Ethanol Plant broke ground in 2006 and should be operational by February 2008. The $65 million facility has attracted roughly 350 temporary workers to the area and upon completion will employ about 35 permanent employees.

"An economy is like a three-legged stool and you need all three legs to be strong," Quinn said.

The three legs, Quinn explained, are retail/commercial growth, residential growth and industrial growth - all of which have been expanding in Levelland.

As a result of all the growth, the city's sales tax revenue has jumped from $450,000 in fiscal year 2005 to $554,000 in fiscal year 2007.

The city is on pace to exceed $600,000 in sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2008, which would mark a new high for Levelland.

To comment on this story: 766-8754 766-8706

This story first appeared on our Web site at 4:24 p.m. Thursday.

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