I guess it couldn't last. In the 90's, downtown revitalization became the next big thing, and even Lubbock tried to get a piece of the action. The city rezoned a couple blocks of transmission shops and electronics supply houses and named it 'The Depot District.' Suddenly, there was a dance club with a dress code and there was a brew pub in an old glass factory and I think there was a cigar bar, but it didn't last. Along the far edges of the District, you'll find a few columns like this one. They mark the farthest boundaries of the Depot Empire. On one side, microbrew and valet parking. On the other, barbarians.
For a while, there was the Depot District and there was the rest of downtown, and the rest of downtown was as reliably stagnant as ever. But even that began to change. A few years ago, some guy bought up a bunch of abandoned buildings and converted a couple of them into lofts. Lofts. I couldn't believe it. For years, decades maybe, the only people who lived downtown lived in halfway houses, or in the SRO's above the pawn shops on Broadway. After the lofts showed up, the city figured it was a good time to restore Broadway. They widened the sidewalks and planted trees and put up a bunch of Old Time streetlights. The idea wasn't to restore the street to how it used to look, but to restore it to how it should have looked. Maybe the Broadway renovation is part of some bigger scheme to turn downtown into something it never was. A bravely misremembered downtown. I'm not sure that's so bad. Sure, I'd prefer an ultra-modern City of Tomorrow. But a City of a Yesterday that Never Happened is almost as good.