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New hotel financing options could delay downtown construction

A start date for construction in downtown Amarillo may be getting bumped back a little bit further.

You wouldn't know it by driving down Buchanan Street in Amarillo but plans to build a hotel, parking garage, and baseball complex are still moving forward, even if construction isn't.

"We've seen about 75 million dollars in investment in downtown that's visible in terms of major projects," said Downtown Amarillo Inc. Executive Director, Melissa Dailey.

What's not so visible though, is any construction on the hotel, parking garage, or baseball complex that was originally slated to start late this year.

"I think that's probably going to be moved out some as we are looking at other financing options that could help the project," said Dailey. "The garage will follow the hotel in terms of the construction, beginning the construction so we are very focused on the hotel."

But if construction of the hotel is pushed back, so is the building of the parking garage and baseball complex.  About half the land designated for the Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV) is already owned by the City, but the other half belongs to Coca Cola, and a time line for the construction of the ballpark can't even be laid out until negotiations for that piece of property are complete.

"Discussions have been ongoing with Coca Cola to help build a facility for them that would really work better than the downtown location."

Part of those discussions could include building a new Coke facility out near Ben E. Keith. But like many of the revitalization efforts right now, those plans, too, are still being negotiated.

Downtown Amarillo Inc. is also working on three new residential projects in the downtown area right now, two on 10th Street and one on Polk St. Plus, for future projects, Dailey says they're considering an expansion of the Civic Center that would include more meeting and exhibit space on the inside, and some kind of exterior improvement for aesthetics on the outside.

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