New demolition furthers downtown Amarillo renovation

New demolition furthers downtown Amarillo renovation
WT Amarillo Center / Source: WTAMU
WT Amarillo Center / Source: WTAMU

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - If you take a short drive down Polk Street in downtown Amarillo, you'll see a lot of construction and renovation going on.

Monday morning, the demolition of the old Blackburns department store added to that work.

Once removed, the land will be renovated into a parking lot for future tenants and patrons of the old Levines building next door.

That building will house offices and a bakery, with tenants moving in by the end of this year.

Just a few blocks down Polk, the the old Woolworths building is still being renovated, despite the lack of action from the outside.

The two restaurants and jazz club inside are set to open by August of this year.

"Downtown Amarillo has been a major underutilized asset ever since the air base closed," said Joe Bob McCartt, owner and managing partner of the Levines and Woolworth buildings. "The time has finally come to get some of these things going and redevelop the entire area."

Down on Tyler Street, WT's Amarillo Center has almost completed phase one of its renovation.

On Thursday, staff will take final construction plans to the Texas A&M Board of Regents for final approval.

Phase one will finish in June, and phase two would begin immediately after that completion.

The four story building will house 10 classrooms, two speech clinics, admin offices and more amenities for four university programs.

"The speech and hearing clinic will be there, communication disorders program, the licensed professional counseling program will be there, social work program will be there," said Randy Rikel, VP for Business and Finance at WT. "We're hoping to move those full programs so students won't have to come to Canyon and Amarillo, they'll be at one place or the other."

WT's Amarillo Center, which will hold classes for upperclassmen in those majors only, is set to open in the fall of 2018.

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