The skyline of Midland, TX (pop. 114,000) has a long way to go before it can rival those of Houston or Dallas, but the rebirth of the Permian Basin has sparked plans to develop what would be the sixth-tallest building in the Lone Star State.
Energy Tower at City Center would have 58 stories and open in 2015 if developer Energy Related Properties and architect Michael Edmonds succeed with their plans. The multi-use facility would combine retail, shopping and dining with a hotel, residential condos and commercial office space in the "heart" of downtown Midland.
"Economic activity is very strong in the Permian Basin -- it's a 'shale gale' of economic activity. The area is one of the fastest growing in the country and appears to be poised to continue growing as folks from all over the state, from Houston and even Austin, come here to work in the oil and gas industry," said Texas economist Ray Perryman, founder and president of economic analysis firm The Perryman Group.
While about 500 miles separate Midland and Houston, the fortunes of the two cities are increasingly linked, Perryman said.
"Because of its location and role as the 'Oil Capital of America,' Midland pulses the Houston economy," Perryman said. "Oil and gas businesses need a presence in both cities; that is why there is substantial demand for quality retail, housing and commercial office space in Midland."