Downtown Amarillo Inc. reached another milestone Wednesday in the revitalization of downtown.
The new hotel and parking garage lease was approved by the Amarillo Local Government Corporation. An agreement Downtown Amarillo Inc. said has been long awaited.
"This is a public-private partnership and those are certainly more complicated than just a private partnership," said DAI's executive director Melissa Dailey. "It's more complicated in terms of funding and so a lot of work goes into preparing before you can even turn dirt."
T hat agreement officially kicked off the second phase of the revitalization. The beginnings of the demolition have already started along Buchanan where the parking garage will go, and the hotel will take the place of the parking lot south of the Globe New Center.
As part of the ongoing revitalization efforts, DAI conducted circulation and way-finding studies to help make downtown more pedestrian friendly.
"We are looking mainly at east-west streets like 7th Street for example," said Dailey. "Can that be turned from one-way to two-way to enhance the circulation around this project? As we build and develop, we need to make sure that the circulation and the traffic patterns make sense so that people can easily get in and out in the easiest fashion, quickest fashion as possible."
Beth Duke with Center City said many groups like DAI, Center City, the Local Government Corporation, the City of Amarillo, and TIRZ are all working to improve Downtown Amarillo. Some new changes, she said, have already made downtown look better.
"You can begin to see as these different projects develop how downtown can look," said Duke. "For example, around the courthouse square we have the new pedestrian lights, the beautiful lawn, the benches, things that make it more inviting and better for pedestrians."
Downtown Amarillo Inc. still needs to work out some other final agreements before moving forward with other phases of the revitalization, like the Multi Purpose Event Venue (MPEV).
"One of the agreements that's yet to come is the agreement for the MPEV," explained Dailey. "Amarillo Economic Development Board is working with Coca Cola, have made a lot of good progress with them to relocate them so that we can develop the ballpark. Those negations need to be completed before we can do the MPEV agreement."