Lubbock's tallest building getting $20 million makeover, adding apartments

NTS Tower
Lubbock's tallest building is getting a $20 million makeover. MRE Capital and Austin-based Structure Development announced on Tuesday that the historic NTS Tower in downtown Lubbock will be re-developed into the Metro Tower Lofts.

The tower will hold 89 residential housing units with a mix of efficiency, one and two-bedroom lofts for lease. NTS will use the second and third floor for its servers and will continue to use the roof for its communications equipment.

“NTS is actually gonna remain on floors two and three with their servers, they will remain tenants in the building, and then floors four through 18 will be apartments,” said Alison Blalock with WestMark Commercial/TCN Worldwide Real Estate.

Construction on the building will begin this fall and will last until fall of 2021.

“We’re going to keep as many historic features of the property as we can, the first floor will remain very similar to the way that you see it right now,” Blalock said.

MRE Capital has completed 18 residential developments across the Midwest and five in Texas, including Conrad Lofts in Plainview, Blalock said.

Completed in 1955, the NTS Tower is the tallest building in Lubbock at 274 feet. The 20-story building was originally known as the Great Plains Life Building after an insurance company that served as its first occupant.

It suffered heavy damage in the 1970 Lubbock tornado, and sat vacant and derelict for several years amid talk of possible demolition. After extensive renovation, the building was reopened in 1975 and has been occupied ever since.

The NTS Tower is the second tallest known building to have survived a direct hit by an F5 tornado. The tallest is the ALICO building in Waco, TX which is two stories taller also survived a direct hit from a F5 tornado in 1953.

Currently, the building's 9th - 20th floors are unoccupied by order of the fire marshal.