Downtown Fisk Construction

After years of planning, construction on downtown Amarillo's only hotel kicked of on Friday.

Those involved with the project call this a major step in revitalizing the area -- converting the historic fisk building into a new marriott hotel.

"The opportunity to actually see new construction happening right here where all neighborhoods of this city will be coming together in even greater numbers is a realization of many years of hopes and dreams by so many people," said Amarillo Mayor Debra McCartt.

The project was 21 months in the making and pushed by several downtown redevelopment groups like center city.

"Finally we'll have a place for people to stay when they come to all of our entertainment downtown, the civic center, when they come to do business,"said Beth Duke of Center City.

Those groups long hoped a tax break called - tirz - tax increment reinvestment zone - would draw the hotel to our area.

But in the end that played only a minor role.

But no matter why it's here, community leaders agree this is a step in the right direction for a bright downtown future.

People we talked with at the party say it's important to keep downtown momentum going. That means trying to attract a conviction center hotel and more small businesses.