Downtown Amarillo Development

Downtown Urban Design Standards

One of the recommendations of the Downtown Strategic Action Plan adopted by the City Commission was to develop downtown urban design standards that would insure that projects help each other succeed and result in a better, livable downtown. In August 2010, the City Commission adopted design standards as part of the zoning code for downtown projects. These standards help protect the investment of property owners by providing for quality redevelopment in a safe, attractive, pedestrian-friendly environment.

The downtown urban design standards provide guidance for modifications to building exteriors, walkways, landscape and signage. Any modifications that occur to the exterior of a building or the public right of way will be reviewed by City staff for consistency with the standards. Most applications will be able to be reviewed and approved administratively as part of the permitting process. Major redevelopment projects that incur a cost of 50% of the property value (as indicated by PRAD) or more, and all new construction projects will be reviewed by the Downtown Urban Design Review Board, a board appointed by the City Commission.

For more information, contact Kelley Shaw, City of Amarillo Planning Department, 806-378-3020.

Download the Entire Downtown Urban Design Standards

Only need to look at one section of the design standards?  Click on the links below for individual chapters:

Purpose and Process


Building Edge (for all exterior building modifications)

Street Grid and Parking


For more information or to discuss your project, contact Kelley Shaw, Planning Director at the City of Amarillo, (806) 378-3020.

Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ)

Tax Increment Financing is a public financing mechanism through which the growth in taxes, or increment, associated with new development or redevelopment can be captured and used to pay costs associated with economic development for the public good. The City of Amarillo created TIRZ #1 in November 2007 and adopted the Tax Increment Financing Policy and Procedures and application in March 2008. The TIRZ encourages economic development within the TIRZ boundary that would not occur without the assistance provided through tax increment financing. Some goals for TIRZ #1 are to:

  • Promote a desirable mix of uses including residential, commercial and industrial developments that would otherwise not occur
  • Increase and diversify the long term tax base of Amarillo
  • Remove blight by encouraging redevelopment
  • Assist in financing public infrastructure improvements
  • Encourage private development and investment
  • Reduce or abate environmental hazards which create a barrier to development
  • Accomplish goals, strategies or objectives as set forth in the TIRZ Project and Financing Plan

TIRZ funding can be used for a variety of eligible projects including but not limited to:

  • Public infrastructure projects, such as streets, sidewalks, street lighting, walkway trees, and walkway furniture
  • Public spaces or facilities such as auditoriums, arenas, athletic and exhibition venues
  • Public art
  • Preservation corridors, including parks, trails and other public spaces
  • Public parking facilities
  • Abatement of environmental hazards
  • Land acquisition
  • Chapter 380 economic development activities

More information can be found in the Tax Increment Financing Policy and Procedures.

To apply for TIRZ funding or for additional questions, contact Kelley Shaw, (806) 378-3020.

Development Projects:


Civic Center Area Redevelopment - DAI is working with the City and the private development partner, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, to redevelop a 54-block area surrounding the Civic Center.  The initial catalyst project includes a convention hotel, multi-purpose entertainment venue and parking garage.  NewcrestImage, who developed the Courtyard by Marriott at the Fisk downtown, has been brought in by Wallace Bajjali to build and operate the convention hotel.  For more information, click here.

Courtyard by Marriott – Construction is complete on the $12.5 million renovation of the historic Fisk building at Polk and 7th St. that has brought 108 quality hotel rooms to downtown Amarillo.

First Baptist Church of Amarillo - The First Baptist Church of Amarillo has completed a major transformation as it implemented a major expansion. New buildings complement the historic buildings on the church campus, and new walkways and landscape have been installed. For more information, click here.

Cal Farley’s Alumni Housing - Cal Farley's has built new Alumni housing with 11 units – almost double the former alumni building. For more information, click here.

Ellwood Park – $500,000 in Senior Park improvements have been completed at Ellwood Park. This is a partnership between Keep Amarillo Beautiful and the City of Amarillo. The improvements compliment the nearby senior living facilities by providing walking trails, benches and senior exercise equipment.

Happy State Bank - The construction of a new motor bank for Happy State Bank is complete at Pierce and 12th Streets.  Improvements include walkway improvements with new sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian lighting and bulb-outs.

Polk Street United Methodist Church - Polk Street United Methodist Church has completed a $12 million expansion of the church.  The expansion includes walkway improvements around 2 blocks, including trees and pedestrian lighting.

Potter County Courthouse - This historic courthouse has undergone a $16 million historic restoration inside and out.  The building has been returned to it's original grandeur, and new walkway improvements are complete, including sidewalks, trees, pedestrian lighting and benches.  The TIRZ funded the streetscape improvements.

6th Avenue Walkway Reconstruction - A section of the 6th Avenue walkway improvements between Fillmore and Taylor Streets has been reconstructed with new sidewalk, trees and pedestrian lighting.

Vineyard Manor - Vineyard Manor has completed its rehabilitation of a 1920s apartment building in downtown Amarillo across from the Amarillo College Downtown Campus. The development includes 16 affordable housing units as well as streetscape amenities including; nine trees, seven pedestrian lights, and planters.

Amarillo College Downtown Campus - Amarillo College has completed the reconstruction of a parking lot south of their downtown campus.  The now called Fuqua lot, which is the former location of the Fuqua house, includes tree-lined streets, pedestrian lights, and new sidewalks.

911/PRPC - 911 and PRPC partnered to improve the walkway between Jackson and Van Buren, to include trees, new sidewalk and pedestrian lighting.

Toot 'N Totum has a new location downtown. Construction is complete, and the facility includes 16 fuel pumps as well as the required streetscape elements for new downtown development; including street trees & lighting. 

Herring Bank has received approval from the Downtown Urban Design Review Board to renovate the historic former Blackburn Shaw Memorial Chapel and Funeral Home at Pierce & 5th St into their downtown bank.  This Spanish Revival building was purchase by Herring Bank in 2010 but has been vacant for years. Improvements include streetscape around the entire half block owned by Herring Bank.

The Lofts on 10th - A historic building at 10th and Tyler, to the west of Young Sushi, will undergo redevelopment. The development will include seven market-rate residential units with retail at the ground level. The project will add pedestrian friendly steetscape elements, including street trees, lighting, and other amenities.

Plemons Village  - Plans are underway to restore three historic buildings on 10th between Van Buren and Jackson Street.  11 Residential units will be developed, with retail on the ground level.  One of the buildings is a historic 1920s gas station.  The project owner is seeking historic tax credits and is in the process of approval with the Texas Historic Commission and National Park Service.

West Texas A&M University - The Commerce Building on Tyler at 7th has been purchased by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation for a downtown campus for WT.  WT is now located in 4 floors of the Chase Tower and plans to move to The Commerce Building once the remainder of funding is raised and the building is redeveloped.  The Amarillo Area Foundation is working with WT to raise the remaining funding for the project. 

Firestone Building - A new owner plans to redevelop the historic Firestone building at 10th and Tyler to market-rate residential units.  Plans on the project are in process.

New Office Tower for Xcel Energy - Opus Development is building a new office building, the first in decades downtown, for use by Xcel Energy.  It will be located across the street from the planned Multi-Purpose Event Center on Buchanan between 7th and 8th.  The $42 million project will cover the entire block and includes structured parking for employees, as well as city parking to replace the City's lot currently on the site.  The project frees up office space in the Chase Tower for companies looking to move downtown that otherwise could not due to lack of available space.