By Sylvia Gonzalez
MIDLAND - It's a historic landmark that will soon be a thing of the past. The Midland County Courthouse was built more than 80 years ago but has stood mostly empty as of late.
On Monday morning, the Midland City Council voted to buy the old building at a price of more than $2.2 million. City officials and developers are calling it a Celebration of Rejuvenation. They're talking about what will soon be home to the Energy Tower at City Center in downtown Midland.
The building is expected to be 58 stories high with a state of the art five star hotel. Along with that, there will be Class A offices, retail shops and much more. The building could be a part of the Tall City as early as 2016.
"A dream come true," that's how County Judge Mike Bradford describes the sale of the old County Courthouse to the Tall City. The plans are to demolish the 82-year-old courthouse and build a state of the art building. He says the construction of this one of a kind structure will revitalize the downtown area and bring more revenue to the city.
NewsWest 9 asked William Mayer, a Visionary Partner of Energy Related Properties, why a multi-purpose facility is needed in Downtown Midland, his answer was simple. Everything being planned for the new building is needed.
"It's never big enough, actually it's all needed if you look at it. A hotel is needed, some apartments are needed and office space is not that big. We put it all together, all in one place, that makes it larger than what you would expect," Mayer said.
Downtown parking can be a headache, but according to Mayer, that's not going to be an issue for the multi-purpose facility.
"We are building a 3,000 car garage underneath the structure which will handle really most of downtown and its needs," Mayer said.
After being part of the community for over 80 years, some people feel that the courthouse should be left as is -- a historic landmark, for future generations to enjoy.
"I just feel like Midland is tearing down all of our history and people don't seem to care about where we came from. If you don't remember where you came from, you'll never know where you're going," concerned resident, Sue Brannon, said.
Even if the old courthouse is demolished, Mayer says the old will still follow the new.
"I will tell you with this going forward, this courthouse will be demolished but there will be pieces of it that will be put in place as part of a remembrance," Mayer said.
A press conference will be held on April fourth with the architect in charge of putting together the Energy Tower. By then, we'll know the cost and how soon the project will get started.