The Western United Life Building

The Western United Life Building Main Photo

11 Oct 2023


The Western United Life Building, starting as the McClintic Building, was proposed to the Midland City Council in 1947 and was completed in 1949. Floors and offices were added, and occupants moved in and out until the 1980s when oil prices plunged, and the building became vacant. After the last tenant left in the early 1990s, the Midland high-rise watched over Midland's growth while the building slowly decayed.

Before this building sat to watch over downtown, its completion in 1949 brought a six-floor building to our skyline. The project was proposed at $1 million as “one of the most modern and attractive [buildings] in the Southwest and will conform to the attractive appearance of other buildings which form Midland's impressive skyline.” Some of the early tenants included Atlantic Refining Co., Sinclair Prairie Oil Co., and Tide-Water Associate Oil Co.

A fire in September 1950 brought more work to be done on the building with an additional three floors added to the “skyscraper”. At the time, the Western United Life Building was the largest building in Downtown Midland. 

With construction changes, the building also underwent a number of name changes from the Petroleum Life Building to finally the Western United Life Building. Some of the businesses that worked in the building included the Best Yet Answering Service, GEOSEC, Mosely Petroleum, the Subsurface Library, Petroleum Life Insurance Company, and the restaurant Beef Delight. 

The plunge in oil prices in the 1980s struck a blow to downtown office occupants, and tenants in the Western United Life Building dwindled until the building became vacant in the early 1990s. For more than three decades, the Western United Life Building has been empty, watching over Midland's growth while the building slowly decayed. Tragedy struck in the building in 2017, leading to the loss of a young life. 

In 2018, the Midland Development Corporation purchased the Western United Life Building in conjunction with the community's initiative to revitalize downtown Midland. Since the purchase, multiple efforts were made to redevelop the property but the cost of renovating 180,000 square feet proved insurmountable. 

In the fall of 2022, the Midland Development Corporation Board of Directors and the Midland City Council approved contracts to demolish all standing structures on the downtown block. Both the Western United Life Building and the former West Texas Gas buildings are located on this block.

The demolition will bring a blank slate of nearly two acres for something new downtown to complement Centennial Park and the Bush Convention Center. The MDC and the City of Midland have issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of this block and are seeking a project that will fit the aesthetic of downtown Midland and provide amenities for Midlanders and visitors alike.