AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The streets of downtown Amarillo were once lined with retail shops.
Now, a local commercial real estate group hopes to bring retail back to downtown.
"Downtown Amarillo used to be where all of the retail was and then we went through a phase and we’re still in it where there’s not any retail particularly down here, so this is just our opportunity to start bringing it back,” said Joe Bob McCartt, President of McCartt & Associates.
The Levine’s Department Store was built in 1936 and served as a retail hot spot downtown for decades until it closed. McCartt & Associates acquired the old Levine’s building at 800 S. Polk Street and began renovations a few years ago.
In a large space on the first floor that will be known as The Shops at 800, they will open up eight spaces for “pop-up retail,” providing temporary, short-term retail space for local small businesses.
"It'll be something that nobody's really seen here before,” said McCartt. “There are eight spaces all very close to each other. It'll be quite a shopping experience, I think."
As the area sees more development with new businesses and places to eat, retail may be the final piece of the puzzle for a thriving downtown.
“After people started building shopping malls, shopping went closer to where people lived, instead of closer to where people work,” said Beth Duke, Center City of Amarillo’s Executive Director. “Well now that we have all these great restaurants and we’ve made downtown more walkable, people want a place to shop during their lunch break or during the day.”
With the building originally serving as a retail space, Duke says bringing pop-up retail to the building brings it full circle.
"I think bringing the retail back in Levine's really brings it full circle because these pop-up stores are going to be a big draw,” said Duke. "And now people will have a chance to go in and window shop while they're downtown just like they did when the old Levine's was here."
McCartt says the need for retail also comes as downtown takes on a residential atmosphere,.
"It's hard to decide which comes first - the residential or the retail,” said McCartt. "We have to start putting this retail in here to supply some of the needs to some of the people who are starting to move down here."
Retail, residences and restaurants are all working together as downtown Amarillo sees a renewed purpose in the city.