Downtown Amarillo Development
Downtown Redevelopment has many partners, all of which have different roles.
Downtown Amarillo, Inc. is the non-profit organization formed for the purpose of implementing the Downtown Strategic Action Plan. DAI focuses on planning and economic development initiatives that will bring the economic vitality back to the heart of the City.
The City of Amarillo is an integral part of any development in any part of the City, including downtown. The City sets policies that affect development, and is the public partner in public private projects downtown.
Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) is a funding tool, among others, for downtown redevelopment. The TIRZ is not an additional tax, but directs any increase in tax revenue from the base year of 2008 that result from increases in property values to be utilized for downtown development. The TIRZ primarily focuses on investment in public infrastructure.
The Amarillo Local Government Corporation is the legal entity that can manage and implement the Civic Center area redevelopment projects. It brings together the public and private partners of DAI, the City and the TIRZ, to implement the 225-room convention hotel, 750-space parking garage, and multi-purpose entertainment venue.
Center City of Amarillo, Inc. manages marketing and events for Downtown Amarillo. Center City coordinates events such as the Polk Street Block Party, High Noon at the Square, and the Electric Light Parade.
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.
Civic Center Area Redevelopment - DAI is working with the City 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, will build and operate the 225-room convention hotel. The City will construct the 750-space parking garage which will provide parking for the public, as well as provide leased space for the hotel and for Potter County. Design is underway on both the hotel and parking garage. The Local Government Corporation, which manages the project, is exploring a process for construction and operation of the MPEV. To review lease and development contracts on the project, click here. For more information, click here.
New Office Tower - The Opus Group is developing a $42 million office building, to be located on the block bounded by Buchanan, 7th, Pierce and 8th. This is the first new construction of an office building in decades downtown. Xcel Energy will be the primary tenant in the building, which will be across the street from the site for the multi-purpose entertainment center.
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.
Liberty Theater - DAI is working in partnership with the City and High Plains Public Radio to redevelop the historic 1921 Liberty Theater building and adjacent building at 4th and Pierce. High Plains Public Radio would occupy administrative space in the adjacent building, and the theater would be a flexible space available for performing arts groups, receptions, recitals, meetings and other uses. A committee has been formed to raise $1 million needed to bring the two buildings back to life. If you are interested in donating or getting involved, email Melissa@downtownamarillo.com.
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.
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.