AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Construction on Amarillo's second downtown catalyst project, the parking garage, is set to begin in just a couple weeks, but builders now have less than a year to finish it.
If all goes as planned, you will be able to park in Amarillo's downtown parking garage by next February. City officials say it's going to take an aggressive construction schedule to meet that deadline.
The city aims to start building the four-story garage on March 1. By contract, the garage must be completed two months before the convention center hotel next door opens.
"A project this size generally takes about 18 to 20 months to do, and we're cutting it down to basically 11 months to turn this project around," said Jerry Danforth, the facilities manager for the city.
The city wants to hire locally owned Western Builders for the job because the company says it can build the garage almost $1 million cheaper than the city expected, bringing the price tag to $15,650,000 instead of $16,500,000.
"It was well below what our estimate for the project was, which is great for us because that allows us to not issue as much debt and it allows us to provide a little more money for finish out as well," said Deputy City Manager Bob Cowell.
Western Builders' bid is expected to be approved next week. In the coming months, the city will make other big decisions on who will operate the garage and how much it will cost to park inside.
"The public will certainly be made aware of the discussions going on and we'll certainly want to talk about what's being thought about," said Cowell. "One of the things you have to guard against is you don't want to set parking rates politically. You want to set them based on the business model. You want to make sure your rates are covering your expenses."
Cowell said there will be a public meeting when they have a better idea of how much parking might cost.