Part of the Great Plains and the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, Amarillo had its beginnings in 1887, when the Fort Worth-Denver City railroad was constructed across the Texas Panhandle. Centrally located in the Texas Panhandle and bordered by New Mexico and Oklahoma, Amarillo’s economic history was closely tied to agriculture and the energy industry. These days businesses such as copper refining, fiberglass production, meat packing, ordnance manufacturing, customer service operations, and aircraft assembly operations have diversified the city’s economy. Serving as a regional medical center also plays a key role in Amarillo’s economy. Today, Amarillo is home to 190,695 (per 2010 Census) people and always welcomes newcomers. Amarillo is a strong community of neighborhoods; proud of the quality of life assets available to residents and visitors alike. A wonderful city to live, work and play!
Downtown Amarillo in particular has undergone a major revitalization effort that started in the early 2000's. In 2006, the Center City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #1 (TIRZ) was created as a financial tool to encourage redevelopment. With a Downtown Strategic Action Plan adopted in March 2008, goals and strategies were developed to attract major new investment and redevelopment to the area. These included developing new housing, hotels, office/commercial, retail, and entertainment venues.
Shortly after the strategic action plan was adopted, new Downtown Amarillo Urban Design Standards were also created that apply to the exterior of buildings being redeveloped along with the streetscape such as trees and lighting.
So far, since 2006 the TIRZ has seen property values grow from $139 million to over $209 million in 2017. Major catalyst projects such as the City's public private partnership Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center opened in September 2017, along with a new parking garage with 25,000 square feet of available retail space completed in Summer 2017. A new Multi-Purpose Event Venue broke ground in January 2018 that will be home to a new Double AA minor league baseball team when it is complete in April 2019.
Notable private sector projects recently completed include the Historic Marriott Fisk hotel, Xcel Energy headquarters, Toot'n Totum's first location downtown, Double R Lofts, Lofts on 10th, and the Historic Firestone Apartments. Currently underway are projects at other historic locations - Woolworth, Levine's, and the Barfield building.
Center City of Amarillo, Inc., which began in 1991, is a nonprofit organization and is recognized as a Texas and National Main Street City as well as being center of the Amarillo Cultural District, designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
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