LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's a sign that Lufkin's economy is looking much better compared to other cities across the nation. More construction and expansion projects could bring more jobs.
The City of Lufkin's Economic Development, Director, Jim Wehmeier said, "We're blessed that we are not feeling it quite as bad as a lot of places. Our employment has risen but our employment basis is also growing at the same time."
Wehmeier explains he's excited that several projects are expected to come to pass in Lufkin. Lockheed Martin's company expansion is going to bring 100 jobs to the city. He also says the city is looking at more investments projects as well.
"We've got the Courtyard by Marriott hotel that's due to open in September. I think Loggins Culinary, will be ramped up and they'll be in full production in about 3-4 weeks," said Wehmeier.
In conjunction to all the Highway 59 construction, there is Lufkin's latest economic project, a 15,000 square foot retail plaza and eco-park in the Garden District Shopping Village. The plaza plans to house some much-needed merchants-- with a variety of retail stores and restaurants.
David Miles, president and developer of Card-Miles Enterprises, LLC, explains what future shoppers can look for, "We have plans for some men's clothing stores, that we're working on, a men's cuttery, and a Mexican restaurant," he said.
Two buildings now under construction will facilitate a cell phone company and a coffee-bakery franchise. The plaza plans to have outside patio seating for the proposed coffee-bakery.
Miles believes this project will bring another boost to Lufkin's economy. Miles said, "For employees in the area of 100-150 jobs, that's just in this 15,000 feet, that's full and part-time jobs." He adds, "Depending on the business themselves that's about 6-8 million in revenue."
Wehmeier says community projects like this will help secure a bright future for Lufkin. "For a community our size we have extraordinary diverse community."
Miles agrees he adds, "Lufkin and Angelina County are poised to grow as much in the next 20 years as we have in the last 40 years. "
The Garden District developer, David Miles, notes the plaza should open its first store, Cellular One, in December. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by Spring 2010 .