Tag Archives: Center City Amarillo

What must Herring Hotel owner be thinking?

I haven’t talked to the owner of the long-vacant Herring Hotel in downtown Amarillo, Texas, for a good while. I know Bob Goodrich quite well. He’s a nice man, a conscientious property owner — and a fellow with big dreams for the building that once served as the go-to spot for Amarillo’s social elite.

That all stipulated, Goodrich must be steamed as he reads about other abandoned downtown buildings finding new life. The latest such structure is the Rule Building, which developer Todd Harmon wants to turn into a boutique hotel. Then there’s the Barfield Building, which is going to open soon as boutique lodging.

Other structures are finding life, or are being repurposed into something other than their original use.

Then there’s the Herring Hotel building. It sits there. Vacant and rotting. Goodrich pays the taxes on it every year. He seeks developers and investors. He once called me to say he had a potential investor lined up; then the deal fell through.

Someone who at the time had intimate knowledge of downtown Amarillo’s redevelopment efforts told me years ago he was certain there would be a happy ending to the Herring Hotel saga. This individual is no longer part of the downtown in-crowd and, of course, I have retired from daily journalism and have relocated to another community. It’s quite possible this person didn’t know what he was talking about, but … well, that’s grist for another story — maybe. 

I do have a parting thought. Perhaps there ought to be a statement from the downtown redevelopment gurus addressing the reasons why the Herring Hotel continues to sit quietly with no apparent action on the horizon. Center City? The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board? City Hall? The Amarillo Matters PAC? The Convention and Visitors Council? Amarillo EDC?

Might there be some way to reveal to the nosey segments of the public what they think they need to know about the Herring Hotel? Is there a future for the building … or not?

Welcome back, High Noon on Square

Downtown Amarillo’s future is getting a bit cloudier as we start looking a little farther out.

Back to the present day, though. High Noon on the Square begins Wednesday in front of the Potter County Courthouse. It’s a fine event, bringing folks out of their offices during lunch time to get something to eat and listen to some entertainment for an hour before heading back to whatever grind awaits them.

My friend Beth Duke, who runs the Center City program, is proud of it and I am proud of her for the work she’s done to make this a bustling event over the course of several weeks.

It’s fair to ask, however: Is this the best we can do?

I do intend to disparage High Noon. I do, though, intend to express the hope out loud that downtown Amarillo’s future includes far more than just a brief weekly interlude on the courthouse lawn.

I’m referring to that proposed multipurpose event venue that’s becoming part of the city dialogue relating to downtown’s revival. There might be an election in our future to determine whether to proceed with its construction. Money to pay for it will come from individuals who visit here from far away: I refer to hotel-motel tax revenue. The plan is to welcome them downtown as they attend conventions and other events.

The MPEV well might be a venue that could play host to a number of outdoor events.

Planners envision a minor-league baseball playing games at the MPEV. They also envision other events occurring at the place. A baseball club could have a modern park in which to play ball, rather than at that rat hole that serves as a ballpark at the Tri-State Fairgrounds east of the downtown district.

I try to envision more for downtown. The proposed MPEV, plus a convention hotel can be serve as twin catalysts for whatever future awaits the central business district.

That is, of course, unless the newly constituted City Council — and its three new members — decide to torpedo the whole thing. The election result suggests that’s a definite possibility — but I believe it would be a tragic mistake.

Meantime, we’ve got High Noon on the Square.

That’s it.

Hey, go out there and enjoy yourself. Then ask yourself: Is this the best it’s ever going to get in Amarillo?