Amarillo, TX - The weight of unfinished projects left behind by the former downtown master developer is still being carried by the City of Amarillo, but officials said that weight became a little lighter Monday.
Wallace Bajjali, the now defunct developer, was supposed to fill retail space on the ground floor of the downtown parking garage.
The Local Government Corporation (LGC), the group overseeing the development, now needs to fill 24,000 square feet of retail space along Buchanan and 6th Street.
"What we're looking for is someone who will come in and take charge of leasing the retail space, that is putting the tenants in there, and then operating that space so that the LGC is not involved in that process," explained Richard Brown, the president of the LGC.
At a meeting on Monday, the group announced G4D, Limited as a candidate to take on the task. "It's made up of local people like Bobby Garrett," said Brown. "The principal entities behind that are Coldwell Banker to do the leasing side and Southwest General Contractors to construct the facility. So we're very happy we got a response from a good entity."
Brown said they will begin negotiations with the potential operator to see if they can strike a deal. While this is considered progress, some members of the LGC said there needs to be more communication between the group, Downtown Amarillo Inc. and the newly elected city council before projects proceed as planned.
"We need to sit down with our new council members, we need to talk with them about why we did what we did, what we've done to try and move forward and where we stand in the process," said Brian Eades, a fellow councilmember and LGC board member. "Then they can weigh that against how they see the public feeling about these various issues and then we can move ahead."
The LGC is considering a marathon-type meeting where they will try to condense years worth of work into hours. "That's eight years summarized in four or five hours," said Eades. "Then, if you break it down from there each individual project has a lot of detail, including budgets and operational details. It is very difficult, but if individuals are motivated, we have very able city council members. They will be able to pick it up rather quickly I think."
The group aims to host a meeting between all parties involved sometime within the next two weeks.