Frequently Asked Questions
About the current status of downtown redevelopment
August 3, 2011
Where are we in the process of downtown redevelopment?
We're at an exciting point. As you know, years of dedication and hard work led to a significant milestone this February: an agreement between the City and Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners for Wallace-Bajjali to assess the benefits and feasibility of specific redevelopment projects in the Civic Center area, and to deliver a recommended path forward in August.
Today, August 3rd, after months of due diligence and transparent public dialogue and input, Wallace-Bajjali and Downtown Amarillo, Inc (DAI) are recommending an implementation and funding strategy for the Civic Center Area projects; a strategy that doesn't rely on increased property taxes or municipal funding instruments such as Certificates of Obligation (CO's) or General Obligation Bonds (GO's).
This is great news for Amarillo. Wallace-Bajjali is recommending a funding strategy for the Multi-Purpose
Event Venue (MPV), new convention Hotel, and Parking Garage that means:
• No additional property taxes
• No Certificates of Obligation (CO's)
• No General Obligation Bonds (GO's).
After today's presentation to the LGC (Local Government Corporation) overseeing the downtown redevelopment process, we anticipate approximately three weeks of deliberation, review, and public input before the City Commission decides whether or not to enter the next phase of the process.
• We are still in the pre-development phase—Phase One
• Phase One accomplishes all of the elements agreed-upon in February:
- MPV (Multi-Purpose Event Venue) – 4,500 fixed-seats with more than 6,000 total seating for ball games and additional seating for concerts
- Convention Hotel – 300 rooms, plus meeting facilities
- Parking Garage – 750 spaces
• Additionally: We've said these projects won't be built unless it makes sense for the people and City of Amarillo. The projects make sense; that's why we're recommending a go-forward strategy.
• Immediately next, having presented the funding and go-forward strategies, we'll answer the LGC's questions
• Next week, we will invite the citizens of Amarillo to another public presentation on Monday, Aug 8th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Regency Room at the Civic Center
• Public input has been a cornerstone of this process and we will continue to engage in transparent public dialogue with the people of Amarillo
• In the coming days, the LGC will decide whether or not to forward the recommendation to the City Commission
• If the LGC recommends we go forward with the plan, the City Commission will consider the details—including public input—and make its determination
• If the Commission decides to go forward, then we draw up agreements and go into the development phase—Phase Two.
If property taxes aren't paying for the three Civic Center-area projects, what is?
At the most basic level, "if you use it you fund it." Different funding mechanisms come in at different times, so the three initial projects (MPV, Hotel, Garage) will be paid for by a combination of existing public sources, private investments and user fees. An example of public sources is the existing Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), which allows taxes gathered from hotel stays to be reinvested in Amarillo's redevelopment. Ultimately, the people who use the facilities in the Civic Center complex will fund them. (The Civic Center complex includes the MPV, Hotel, Garage, Civic Center and Globe-News Center.)
Who will own the three Civic Center-area projects?
The City of Amarillo.
What will the City contribute operationally?
The City will incur no operational requirements, deficit or ongoing costs for these three projects, all three will be operated by third parties under contract.
What benefits will the City receive from the projects?
• For over two decades the community has held the goal of redeveloping downtown Amarillo, and part of that vision has been a full service hotel. The three projects in Phase One are a major step towards reaching
Amarillo's goals for redevelopment and increased opportunities.
• The City will own more than $100 million in assets anticipated to provide more than $400 million over the next 20-25 years. The hotel will generate approximately $10 million a year in value over the next ten years alone. The MPV is projected to create a value of more than three times (3x) its cost.
• Presently, the city struggles to compete with other communities to attract business to the Civic Center.
These first projects help strengthen the Civic Center as a venue, and position it for further growth and expansion.
• The City and citizens will benefit via new jobs and revenue streams including the HOT and sales taxes.
Sales Tax is a crucial source of revenue for the City of Amarillo, so the increased sales from new activities represent a significant revenue stream.
• The City will receive additional economic stimulus from all the activities related to the project: new business activities, increased use of downtown by more citizens, tourism, etc.
When will ground break on these projects?
Groundbreaking is anticipated for Spring of 2012. Site preparations will start for the Hotel first, with work on the MPV expected to start later in 2012. The Parking Garage will break ground last as its site will serve as the initial staging area for construction.
What are the expected completion dates?
• Hotel – Fall 2013
• Garage – Fall 2013
• MPV – May 2014
How many jobs will be created?
• Several hundred jobs will be created overall, with hundreds of construction jobs first, followed by long-term employment opportunities for the MPV, hotel and garage.
• The projection for the Multi-Purpose Event Venue alone is:
- 180 jobs during the construction phase
- 76 full and part-time career opportunities
- $72 million in net earnings for the people employed over the course of the first several years
Has the site been selected?
• Yes, a site for these initial projects has been selected based on the input of the people of Amarillo and land planning experts. The basic layout for the projects is:
- MPV south of City Hall
- Hotel south of Globe News Center
- Parking structure South of Hotel
• The public provided us with recommendations. We listened to those recommendations; both the site selected and the plan developed are based on those recommendations.
It looks as if the new projects are being built where Coca-Cola is located now.
What will happen to the Coca-Cola facility?
Coca-Cola is staying in Amarillo. It is relocating to a new facility, which benefits both Coca-Cola and Amarillo.
For more information about the public redevelopment process for Downtown Amarillo, and to provide feedback, please explore the resources online at www.downtownamarillo.com.
Frequently asked questions about the current status of Amarillo's downtown redevelopment.