In October 1995, Market Lubbock Economic Development Corporation (Market Lubbock) was formed to contract with the city as a not-for-profit economic development corporation. Programs were also developed in an effort to retain and expand local business development and to assist in the recruitment of new business. In 1996, the Lubbock City Council approved a Grant Management Agreement whereby Market Lubbock would conduct economic development on behalf of the City of Lubbock. The City Council voted to fund Market Lubbock with three cents of the ad valorem tax. Years later in 2003, Marc McDougal, the mayor at the time; David Langston, a previous mayor; and Mike Field, chairman of the Market Lubbock Board at the time, saw an opportunity for Lubbock to enhance economic development, job creation and capital investment by asking citizens to approve a portion of the sales tax to be dedicated specifically to economic development.
As a result of the efforts of these and other business leaders of Lubbock, in November 2003, the citizens of Lubbock voted to fund economic development activities through the collection of 1/8 of one percent of the city’s sales tax allocation, thus, the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) was created one year later in October 2004. Market Lubbock is still in operation today coordinating its efforts with LEDA to continue to promote economic development in Lubbock. It also houses Visit Lubbock, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, dedicated to promoting tourism, conventions and sporting events in Lubbock.
Since the formation of LEDA, the organization has succeeded in various projects all geared toward helping local companies retain and expand their operations, while also working to recruit new business to Lubbock. In response to corporate decision makers’ and site selectors’ recommendations, in 2006 LEDA purchased 586 acres of raw farm land east of Interstate 27 (I-27) to develop the Lubbock Business Park, providing a place where businesses could locate or build new infrastructure close to the airport, I-27 and other major highways. One year later, LEDA obtained the Lubbock Rail Port, a 526-acre tract of land located just north of the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport.
Past and present, LEDA and Market Lubbock, leaders have made economic strides in the community. From 1995 to 2003, David Sharp served as the president and CEO of Market Lubbock. Then, in 2003, Gary Lawrence was hired as president and CEO of LEDA and Market Lubbock where he served until his retirement in 2010. In February 2010, John Osborne joined the organization as president and CEO where he continues to serve today.
Since its inception in 2004, LEDA has played a major role in growing the Lubbock economy. The organization’s accomplishments include assistance in creating thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvements and billions of dollars in cumulative economic impact to the Lubbock area.