Strategic Action Plan
In 2008, the Downtown Amarillo Strategic Action Plan was adopted by the City to outline a vision of downtown Amarillo as a vibrant urban area where people live, work and play. The plan sets forth goals for enhancing the financial, business and entertainment sectors in downtown and attracting urban lifestyle living elements. These are some of the key goals identified in the plan:
- Maintain Downtown Amarillo as the financial, government and civic center of Amarillo and the Panhandle.
- Attract development of urban lifestyle living within Downtown and the adjacent area.
- Develop 400 to 600 new housing units in Downtown
- Reinforce Downtown Amarillo as the key entertainment and retail center of the City to include cultural amenities, restaurants, night clubs, cinema theaters, civic events, festivals and retail.
- Attract 6 to 10 new restaurants/night club venues
- Support the Civic Center area with the development of one or more quality hotels.
- Develop one or more 300+ room hotels.
- Implement urban design and open space design standards to assure that Downtown is a beautiful and comfortable area for all the residents and visitors of Downtown, addressing quality landscaping, parks, public art and proper orientation of buildings to the street.
- Attract more educational opportunities to Downtown.
- Attract a major presence from high education (ie Amarillo ISD, West Texas A&M, Amarillo College, Texas Tech)
- Attract family oriented venues, events and programs that bring groups to Downtown.
- Consider downtown for a minor league ballpark and associated mixed use entertainment venue.
- Develop a coordinated police and security program to ensure that Downtown is safe day and night.
- Implement parking support including joint private/public use of parking lots and structures.
- Rehabilitate selected historic buildings.
Download the Strategic Action Plan
Civic Center Area Redevelopment
One of the goals of the Downtown Strategic Action Plan is to attract a 250-300 room convention hotel that could bring additional conventions and visitors to downtown. The Strategic Action Plan also suggests exploring a baseball stadium as a venue that could bring thousands to downtown and create the synergy needed to bring private investments. A Convention Hotel Market Feasibility Study was completed which indicates that there is market demand for a full-service convention hotel of 250-300 rooms, and that the City would likely gain conferences and attract more business travelers with this type of hotel downtown. Additionally, a Market Study for a potential multi-purpose entertainment venue was completed.
In February 2011, the City and Wallace Bajjali Development Partners entered into a development agreement to explore potential redevelopment projects within a 54 block area surrounding the Civic Center. Wallace Bajjali was tasked with determining the feasibility and financing plan for a convention hotel, parking garage and multi-purpose entertainment venue. Wallace Bajjali recommended proceeding on the three projects and submitted a detailed plan for implementation. On August 23, 2011, the City Commission approved moving forward on this public-private partnership. The City Commission also authorized the establishment of the Amarillo Local Government Corporation, an entity that is managing the implementation of the three projects. Progress is underway on the hotel lease and development agreement, the various economic development agreements and other contracts that will allow the project to proceed. Once the hotel lease and development agreement is signed by the Local Government Corporation and Wallace Bajjali, a schedule will be released for design and construction of the projects. For more information on this project, click here.
Bringing people to live downtown is an important part of the redevelopment of the City’s core. One of the goals of the Downtown Strategic Action Plan is to develop 400-600 housing units in the downtown area. In order to provide more detailed information that could be shared with developers and financial sources, Downtown Amarillo, Inc. retained a consulting firm, Jacobs, who worked with Leland Consulting to perform a detailed market and feasibility analysis for downtown housing. The study provides an indication of the number, type and pricing of housing that the downtown market could support. Also included in the study is an analysis of other similar downtowns, the number and type of housing they have been able to attract, and the tools that were put in place in the redevelopment of those downtowns.
Download the Downtown Housing Market Study
Civic Center Area Land Use and Parking Studies
DAI worked with a consulting firm, Jacobs, to study potential land uses in a 50-block area surrounding the Civic Center. The study includes a detailed analysis of parking needs. Both the land use and parking studies will include a detailed analysis of the market needs and demand, and implementation strategies. These studies are part of the effort to implement the broad strategies and goals outlined in the downtown strategic plan and will provide much needed detail to be able to implement improvements downtown.
One of the key steps to moving forward on implementation of this plan is identification of a private developer can can participate with the City in a public private partnership. Wallace Bajjali Development Partners has been identified by DAI as a firm that has the expertise and access to private capital, as well as successful redevelopment and new development projects in other urban areas. On February 15, 2011, the City Commission, after its own due diligence in looking at the potential of a partnership with Wallace Bajjali, approved a development agreement that outlines a public-private partnership with Wallace Bajjali. The Next Steps were outlined at the Commission meeting by David Wallace.
Download the Land Use Plan Recommendations
Download the Downtown Parking Study
Download the City/Wallace Bajjali Contract
DAI, in partnership with the City of Amarillo, Center City, Inc. and the Center City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone, has completed a streetscape study for 6th Avenue and Polk Street. The concept plan includs an analysis of both the aesthetic and functional improvements for the two corridors. Planned improvements include new sidewalks, walkway trees, pedestrian lighting, new trash receptacles, bicycle racks, and kiosks. Also in the plan are bulb-outs at the corners that reduce the pedestrian crossing distance and brick or pavers replacing the asphalt in each intersection. The concepts that were developed from this study are being used to implement streetscape projects for projects downtown, including Courtyard by Marriott, PRPC, 9-11, Potter County Courthouse, and Happy State Bank projects.
Download the Streetscape Concept
Public Improvement District
A public improvement district (PID) is a tax paid by property owners within a designated area for services provided within that area. Multiple PIDs exist within the City that provide various services desired by the property owners within those PIDs. Downtown Amarillo, Inc. is currently studying the potential of a PID for downtown that could provide needed services, such as increased security, trash pickup, sidewalk cleaning, and maintenance of landscaping and sidewalk infrastructure. The PID also has the potential of providing a funding mechanism for improvements downtown, such as benches and trash receptacles. Property owners will be involved in this process to explore the potential of a Downtown PID and the costs and level of services needed for downtown. On April 5, 2012, the process for exploring the potential of a PID was kicked off at a property owners meeting. To see the presentation provided at the meeting, click here.
DAI is working with a consulting firm, Jacobs, to complete a comprehensive circulation study for downtown. The primary focus of the study will be enhancement of vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle circulation downtown, especially in the Civic Center area, considering the significant projects planned for that area. The study includes an analysis of one-way to two-way streets that could improve traffic circulation, and pedestrian amenities such as bulb-out locations. The traffic counts have been completed and preliminary recommendations are anticipated to be completed soon.
DAI is working with a consulting firm, Jacobs, to complete design of wayfinding signage downtown. Wayfinding signage is a consistently designed group of signs that help users of downtown get to their destinations, including parking. It can help people easily find public parking without circling blocks. A focus group meeting has been held to provide initial input on design, and a second meeting is planned to review three potential signage designs.