Downtown development: Revitalization projects breath life into Midland and Odessa
The cities and their leaders are investing in the city centers and bringing more businesses to downtown.
Author: Tate Owen
Published: 6:33 PM CST February 21, 2020
Updated: 6:33 PM CST February 21, 2020
ECONOMY 2 Articles


Both Midland and Odessa are capitalizing on thriving economies. To get an idea of what that looks like, all it takes is a quick look downtown.  

City leaders are investing and breathing new life into the city centers and giving people a reason to go downtown.  


Downtown development: Revitalization projects breath life into Midland and Odessa

Chapter 1


Micromarkets and hotels make their way to the Tall City

The city of Midland has taken on a big city concept in small bites.  

The Midland Micro Market is made up of tiny spaced retail shops. It's a market-style concept that has really taken off in big cities.  

"New York, Chicago... they have these types of things and Midland Downtown didn't, so we just wanted to be able to bring a variety of businesses to downtown Midland," said Lauren Johnston, Co-founder of the Midland Micro Market.  

It was Johnston and her sister-in-law's dream and they made it a reality.  

The Midland Micro Market is designed to attract small local business owners.  

Simply put, the spaces available for lease are like retail versions of tiny homes with short leasing terms. The shortest term is just a week long.  

The short leasing terms allow a variety of businesses to have the chance to set up shop.  

This creates the opportunity to discover something new each time you visit the Midland Micro Market. 

"The great thing is all of the shops sell something different we're not competing with each other so we're able to be a community," said Elizabeth Resch, an owner of a flower shop housed at the Midland Micro Market.  

The market sits across the street from Centennial Park, another downtown development that is highly anticipated.  

The Midland Micro Market is working to add another location around the corner. That's in addition to the Downtown Lofts and eateries.  

The Development Corporation is also talking about building a hotel.  

Chapter 2


Restaurants and a convention center breathes new life into Odessa

It's an exciting time to be in Downtown Odessa too.  

New places to eat are popping up everywhere and businesses are bringing more and more people back to the city center. 

The City of Odessa is hoping that the revitalization of the Ector Theater will give people a renewed love for the place many call home.  

The finishing touches are being put on the historic centerpiece of Downtown Odessa.  

"The old theater was primarily just a stage and a movie screen. We've now developed and redesigned this place to be a total performing arts theater," said Michael Marrero, the Odessa city manager.  

The city has mixed old and new. The Ector Theater will be attached to the already booming new Marriott Convention center 

The Convention Center has already spurred new developments- Starbucks and Torchy's Tacos.  

The hope is that once revitalized, the theater will bring even more life downtown similar to the way it did in its prime.  

"When in its heyday it was one of the main theaters in the entire city, so this was where you came to watch all of the latest movies and where you came to meet your friends just to hang out," said Marrero.  

Local artists are already getting the chance to check out the Ector Theater.  

Sam Canty and his band got to perform on the Grande Stage and experience the theater in what the city is calling 'Ector Site Sessions'. 

"Something that Odessa... it's nothing that I've ever seen in Odessa before so I think it's going to be an opportunity to bring music and obviously other things culture-wise back to the downtown," said Sam Canty, the lead singer of local band Treaty Oak Revival.

The city is planning a formal grand opening once the theater is completely finished being restored.  

While there aren't any set in stone plans right now, the City of Odessa has also been approached by developers to discuss the possibility of Downtown Loft living spaces being created.  

It's a new era in Downtown Odessa. From storefronts to infrastructure, the city is investing in downtown from top to bottom.  

The first phase of the Grant Avenue Revitalization project is underway and, city leaders want the public's input.  

There was a public meeting, but officials say nobody showed up. 

They still went door to door to businesses to ask for input so they still have data to work with.  

"We as a city could come up with a project but we don't know really what their issues, what they see every day as a problem or good thing. We don't have that experience or input and that's what we're trying to get... what they see every day," said Hal Feldman, the City of Odessa Traffic Coordinator.  

Feldman said the city will now take the data they did get and come up with a preliminary plan.  

Once that is created another public meeting will be held.  

The city told NewsWest9 that meeting should take place in the next couple of months. 


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