Well, shut my mouth and call me … whatever you want.
I had written not long ago about my doubts over the future of the long-abandoned Barfield Building in downtown Amarillo, Texas. It stands at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Polk Street. It’s a rotting hulk of its former glory.
This morning I awoke to read a story in the Amarillo Globe-News that declares that the Barfield Building is en route to a revival. It will become a luxury hotel, developed by the Marriott Corporation.
Then came the qualifier. “Maybe,” according to the AGN. Maybe it will happen. Maybe … it won’t.
I’m going to pull for the “maybe it will.”
Plans call for the Barfield to morph into a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel. It’s an upscale concept. As the Globe-News reports: “We want to bring the Barfield back to life and tell its story,” said Mark Brooks, of Brooks Hospitality Consulting. “We want to create something that speaks to Amarilloans. Hopefully, it’s pretty exciting.”
Brooks told the AGN’s Jeff Farris that the interior demolition at the Barfield is nearly done. Next up will be acquiring building permits from the city.
The Barfield has been down similar roads before. It’s been through several ownership changes. There have been reports of progress made to breathe new life into the building. They have been premature. Nothing has occurred there. As the AGN noted, the city came within a whisker of condemning the building.
This fellow Brooks, though, now is delivering some potentially good news about the Barfield. The category of hotel suggests it will be unique. Marriott says that none of its Autograph Collection structures are duplicates of others.
So, with this news, I am anxious to see if downtown Amarillo — which already has seen tremendous change in the past decade — is about to take another huge step forward. The multipurpose event venue is under construction. The Embassy Suites hotel has opened across the street from the Civic Center; Marriott opened another hotel prior to that at the historic Fisk Building. Construction crews are hard at work on new eateries and other business establishments along Polk Street. West Texas A&M University is set to open its downtown Amarillo campus.
And now? The Barfield Building? Is it possibly coming back to life? Might there be signs of activity in that dilapidated structure?