Downtown development plans are one step closer to making changes

Downtown development plans are one step closer to making changes
Downtown Amarillo is closer to starting construction on some big changes.  

It's been a long time coming but now the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation owns all the property they need to start making those changes. 
For months the proposed location to build a baseball park, hotel and parking garage near City Hall has sat vacant, but that may soon be changing. 

"A lot of things are going to start happening just in the next several months we hope in terms of getting that hotel off the ground," said City Council Member Ellen Robertson Green. 

One of the biggest delays was deciding what to do with the Coca Cola building, located in the proposed construction zone. 

But now that a building permit for a new Coke building has been approved, construction to build the new plant will allow the company to move out of downtown. The new building will be located in the Center Port Business Park in northeast Amarillo. 

"Really it's a win win situation. In building them a new facility, it works better for Coke, building them a new facility and keeping them in Amarillo," said Melissa Dailey, with Downtown Amarillo Inc. 

The $8.5 million construction project is said to start in the near future.

Once the company is out of it's downtown location,  it will open up the opportunity for construction to begin on the City's other plans, which Robertson Green says will be beneficial for our community. 

"The one place that belongs to all of us is downtown. It's our common meeting place, and so it's a good place to start investing in the city," she said. 

Although the Downtown Development group hopes construction will begin as soon as possible, there is a loose end or two that may continue to hold up that process.

"As soon as the contract for the hotel is completed, then that will set in motion a schedule for construction. But until that is done, we can't lay out a schedule yet," Dailey said. 

But when this does happens, the City hopes everything else will fall into place.  

Although there is no concrete time line right now, the City hopes construction will be done by 2017 or 2018.