Liberty Energy, Bass Pro Shops add to Odessa’s positive economic picture

Chris Wright, CEO of Liberty Energy and Tom Manskey, director of economic development for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, shake hands at the groundbreaking for Liberty’s new regional headquarters March 6. (Courtesy Photo)

Adding to Odessa’s overall positive economic picture, Liberty Energy has decided to consolidate its operations at Leeco industrial park.

Liberty broke ground on the $50 million facility March 6. Located in Odessa’s Leeco Industrial Park between U.S. Highway 80 and Interstate 20, the state-of-the-art facility will include office space, a workshop, 50,000-square-foot warehouse and truck wash facility.

The construction project will be managed by Constructable, a Houston-based design-build firm specializing in industrial construction.

The Odessa Development Corporation has awarded the company a five-year agreement with a $2.5 million grant.

“They purchased another company, their pressure pumping business, which had a big presence in Midland. Liberty had a much smaller presence out here in Leeco Park, I think since about 2015,” Tom Manskey, director of economic development at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce said. “When they purchased that business, they looked at some sites around the Permian Basin to consolidate.”

Manskey said economic development had a relationship with the consulting firm Liberty used, Merit Advisors, which is also their tax consultant.

He added that this is not uncommon. The chamber has dealt with a number of tax consultants through the years that also do site selection for companies because they know how to look at incentives and the bottom line.

“They approached us about what could we do and we worked with them. For a project that size, it happened fairly quickly. It was less than a year. We were excited to hear that they chose to do their expansion here. They’re calling it their campus over there. They had some existing buildings. They’re going to build some new buildings including a large office warehouse training (facility), attached to a vehicle maintenance facility that’s going to have 42 bays,” Manskey said.

The truck wash will include six bays.

“They indicated that when they’re done with all this new construction, they’re going to go back to their older buildings out there and do renovations,” he added.

Manskey said he thinks they will be done by the end of 2025.

“Liberty is excited about this new $50 million facility,” Liberty CEO Chris Wright said in a news release. “We are in the business of bettering human lives, and there is no better place to make that happen than in Odessa, Texas, the heart of the Permian Basin. In partnership with our customers, Liberty is dedicated to producing affordable, reliable and secure energy that enables the modern world.”

Officials from the Odessa Development Corporation, Odessa Chamber, and City of Odessa joined representatives from Liberty Energy to break ground on Liberty’s new regional headquarters in the Leeco Industrial Park. Liberty’s development will include maintenance facilities and office space. The construction will include a 42-bay maintenance workshop, six-bay truck wash facility, 50,000 square foot warehouse, and a two-story office building that will include a training center for employees. (Courtesy Photo)

Manskey said the project retains 1,000 jobs and and it will add approximately 456 new jobs.

“Most of the projects we’ve worked with recently, they submit to us their capital investment, they submit the number of jobs they are proposing. Most of them, the investment wound up being much higher. 1PointFive is a good example. On their application at the time they applied, it was an $810 million project. There was a article actually in November of ’22, the CEO of Oxy, which owns 1PointFive now, she stated that they’re already projecting their costs above $1.1 billion,” Manskey said.

In their application, Liberty submitted $34 million in capital investment.

“I think now they’re looking at, when they talked to us last week, approximately $50 million. It’s just additional investment in Odessa; more jobs, which all of the above is good,” Manskey said.

“Some of them will consolidate from other locations with Liberty. Their new jobs to Odessa are approximately 500, but they are hiring and you know the nature of the beast out here they will probably have to continue high hiring but they feel good about it. They have a good benefit package and things of that nature. And one of the things as part of this development, they’re doing an employee amenity deal adjacent to the building that’s going to incorporate a big barbecue area and their employee events out there and cornhole and things of that nature. And so they’re doing a lot to keep their folks out here happy and working hard,” Manskey said.

Bass Pro Shops has announced updated plans for a new destination retail store location to serve the Odessa and Midland markets. The new design will allow the company to expand the previously planned 65,000-square-foot location to an impressive 100,000-square-foot destination retail store building on its reputation of serving the passionate sportsmen and women in the state with the widest selection of quality products at the best prices around all while providing genuine, friendly expert service. (Courtesy Photo)

Bass Pro Shops also is coming to Odessa between Yukon Road and Mission Boulevard fronting Highway 191.

“It was a good couple of weeks there, announcements and jobs. Bass Pro will be a magnet for other things in that area. That’s why the ODC (Odessa Development Corporation) board looked at it. We can’t specifically financially support a retail establishment, but the project was presented as a way to draw business to an area that’s going to attract other business around it. Legally, the statute says if the board determines that it will be really good for business development to put some infrastructure there, then they can support the infrastructure and not the retail outlet directly,” Manskey said.

From what he’s seen in other communities, it will be a very good draw.

“You may see additional hotel development around there because some people when they go shop for a boat and equipment at Bass Pro, it’s all like a weekend. And so I’m in and out. I hate to shop with my wife because she shops and I know what I want. … You’ll see probably additional retail, but in the development plans what they showed us were a much larger area of acreage that the developer owns. It’s going to incorporate professional services, industrial development, workforce housing all of the above. … Looking at the size of their property out there and then the other property owners adjacent that could be 20 years of development for Odessa,” Manskey said.

Waco economist Ray Perryman said Liberty Energy consolidating in Odessa is clearly going to generate a significant economic boost given the size of capital investment expected.

“In many instances, companies are either going to increase their presence or leave entirely, and it is very good news for Odessa that Liberty Energy will be operating and growing here. Because of the highly integrated nature of the Odessa economy with respect to energy manufacturing and services, the area retains much of the downstream activity in the supply chain,” Perryman said.

Guests enjoyed barbecue after the Liberty Energy groundbreaking on March 6. The event was catered by Liberty’s cook team. (Courtesy Photo)

On Bass Pro Shops, he noted that few retail operations are destinations attracting visitors from out of the area, but Bass Pro Shops has proven to be an exception.

“Not only will its presence keep more Odessans spending locally, but will also lead to visits from outside the local area. In addition to direct employment and business operations, Bass Pro Shops also increase spending at other venues by visitors to the area,” he added.

Related to the Workforce Summit in January, Manskey said the chamber received a grant through the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.

“It’s a workforce program of a foundation. It’s partnering with them. They funded the grant. We’re figuring out now what to do. It asks you to choose certain populations. We chose, looking at our geography, new Americans. In the initial discussions, we’re going to talk more about it next week because it’s very preliminary, is potentially how can you take citizens already here in the Odessa area that maybe could work but maybe they can’t legally or other issues and how can we get them from unable to work through citizenship training jobs, (and) hopefully get companies to provide a commitment for certain positions and food on the table,” Manskey said.

He added that he hopes the summit becomes an annual event.

He said some leaders are talking about the need to learn Spanish.

“I used to think differently on that. Prepping for the summit … we’re one of the only countries where you don’t see multiple languages spoken by most people. Even in Canada, a lot of people speak English and French especially in Quebec and Montreal. But … we’re kind of like, well, you need to learn our language. … And I felt that way, but in learning, you know my eyes were open to the fact that well, maybe we could go both ways on it,” Manskey said.

“I still think here in this country, you need to learn English. But we could learn Spanish. It doesn’t hurt,” Manskey said.