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Explosions Echo Across Midland As The Building Of The Southwest Is Demolished

The Building of the Southwest was imploded just as the sun was rising over Midland. ( Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden

After sitting vacant for decades in downtown Midland, the Building of the Southwest was demolished early Saturday morning. Crowds gathered on street corners to watch the seven-story building come down and at 8 a.m loud explosions rang across the city as the tower crumbled to the ground. 

Work to remove the 54-year-old building started in late January and was performed by the Midwest Wrecking Company of Texas. Midland Mayor Jerry Morales said the demolition was a long time coming. He described the Building of the Southwest as an “eyesore” and then said destroying it was a part of the city’s “revitalization program to bring back the heartbeat of the heart of our community.”

Even though the Building of the Southwest has been removed to make room for more development there are still three towers that remain empty in the city center. The Vaughn, the Western Life Building and the First National Bank Building all sit dormant.

There are no plans to demolish any of these buildings though. Morales said, “The other buildings that do sit empty, we hope they will be purchased and revitalized into lofts, office space, or retail space.”

The area where the Building of the Southwest once sat will now be turned into a parking lot. Mayor Morales said he’s hopeful it will be developed further in the future.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.