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FAQ

What is Downtown Development All About?

Several years ago, residents and city leaders agreed that Amarillo should work to revitalize the downtown area. Multiple meetings were held, studies were conducted and volunteers worked to develop a strategic action plan. That plan was adopted by the Amarillo City Commission in 2008. The plan is accessible here.


How many public meetings were held about downtown redevelopment?

It’s well documented that more than 200 public meetings were held on the downtown redevelopment process. The first meeting was held in 2006. You can read more about the public outreach here.


What are the three main catalyst projects I keep hearing about?

There are three main parts to the catalyst project that were identified to kickoff the revitalization efforts. These projects include a convention center hotel, multi-purpose events venue (MPEV), and a parking garage. These projects are all intertwined and are dependent on each other to be successful.


Will my property taxes go up?

No! Property taxes will not be increased to pay for these projects.


Then how are we paying for them?

The hotel will be privately funded by a NewcrestImage. The parking garage will be funded through user fees,and  lease agreements with the hotel and Potter County. The MPEV will be funded through lease payments from the operator, Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), and revenues from the parking garage.


What is the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT)?

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the hotel occupancy tax is imposed on the rental of a room or space in a hotel costing $15 or more each day. The tax applies not only to hotels and motels, but also to bed and breakfasts, condominiums, apartments and houses. Local hotel taxes apply to sleeping rooms costing $2 or more each day. The tax is actually paid by the customers of the hotel and simply collected by the establishment.


How can HOT funds be used?

HOT funds are very limited in their use, and can NOT be used for general revenue purposes. That means, these funds can’t be used to hire police officers, firefighters or road repairs. HOT funds can only be used to “put heads in beds,” or fill hotel rooms. Click here to learn more about how the HOT funds can be used.


I heard the hotel is getting incentives from the city, is that fair to other hotel operators?

It’s very common for cities across the nation to offer subsidies and incentives to hotels like the one proposed for Amarillo. If we want a convention center hotel downtown, we must subsidize it. The Amarillo Civic Center has was built almost 50 years ago, in that time we’ve never been able to attract a large hotel downtown. That’s because the economics of the hotel just don’t work without the subsidies.


Did local hotel owners have an opportunity to build the hotel?

The city issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in 2010. Eight developers and one architect responded, four of those respondents were deemed to be qualified. A Request for Proposal was drafted in 2010 but cancelled after the top two applicants withdrew from the process citing a lack of incentives.


How big will the hotel be?

The proposed hotel will feature 225 rooms, 17,000 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant and a pool. It will be the only four diamond hotel in Amarillo.


Why does Amarillo need a convention center hotel?

Amarillo misses out on hundreds of conventions and meetings each year because it does not currently have a hotel with the meeting space or proximity to the Civic Center required to host these events.


Why are conventions important to our city?

Conventions are important because they bring people into our city. Most of Amarillo’s operating funds come from collected sales taxes, so the more people we can attract to visit our city, the more sales tax dollars we can generate. Not only that but it also helps keep our property taxes low.

Are there any local firms or parties involved with the Downtown Catalyst project?

Yes, local expertise and involvement has been an important part of the project. Turner Land Architecture has designed the streetscape component for the downtown project. The design of the parking garage has been completed by Lavin Architects, while the development of the retail space is being negotiated with Bob Garrett of G4D. And the investor in the convention center hotel, Chuck Patel, has history in helping develop downtown Amarillo through the completion of the Courtyard by Marriott at the Historic Fisk Building.

MPEV  specific Questions 

How big will the MPEV be?

The MPEV will have a total seating capacity between 8,000 to 10,000. It will have a fixed seating capacity of 4,500.


What type of events can be held at the MPEV?

The MPEV will be the home of Amarillo’s baseball team, the Amarillo Thunderheads. However, that’s only about 55 days out of the year. The rest of the year the venue can be used for concerts, outdoor family movie nights, community events, corporate events, and seasonal events just to name a few. The sky's the limit when it comes to how this venue will be able to be used. If you can imagine it, it can be done!


Where will I be able to park during a ballgame or event at the MPEV?

Parking in the garage and parking in the Xcel building garage will be available to the public. On-street parking and parking in the Civic Center lots will also remain available for public use.

Why do we need a new ballpark, can’t we just fix Potter County Stadium?

Because the City of Amarillo does not own the stadium, renovations would have to be spearheaded by Potter County. The costs of renovation would be high because it would require a great deal of structural changes, including lead paint abatement, new lights and concrete, improvements to the locker rooms, a field overhaul, added concession stands, and compliance to ADA regulations.

Are there any local firms or parties involved with the Downtown Catalyst project?

Yes, local expertise and involvement has been an important part of the project. Turner Land Architecture has designed the streetscape component for the downtown project. The design of the parking garage has been completed by Lavin Architects, while the development of the retail space is being negotiated with Bob Garrett of G4D. And the investor in the convention center hotel, Chuck Patel, has history in helping develop downtown Amarillo through the completion of the Courtyard by Marriott at the Historic Fisk Building.