AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The City of Amarillo started demolition of three buildings on Tuesday morning, related to the new City Hall project.
As previously reported by MyHighPlains.com, the Amarillo City Council approved the funding for the demolition of three warehouses at the old Amarillo Hardware Building in April 2022, which was noted as the next step in the process of moving City Hall to a new site in the 600 block of South Grant Street.
Further noted previously, the demolition plan passed with a 4-1 vote from the Amarillo City Council, with Amarillo Place One Councilmember Cole Stanley voting against the measure.
Officials noted that the site of the warehouses will be used as the construction staging area, as well as a finished parking lot, for the new City Hall.
Jerry Danforth, the City’s director of facilites and capital projects, said now that demolition has started, they expect to have those buildings down and removed in three weeks. On Tuesday, he also said they had started working on relocating utilities.
“We’re currently working on those some of the utilities, the gas lines have already been relocated. But we’re working with the city utilities getting those done to the power lines that you see in front of the Future City Hall, those will be coming down,” he said.
Danforth said once this process is done, Xcel Energy will run new electric lines and by the end of July, he expects to have 50% of the architectural and engineering design documents done.
“When we get to that point, we’re actually looking to go out for what we call a CMAR, which is a construction manager at risk. We use that method to control the pricing, and also to do value engineering with our architects while we’re doing construction. So if we see any potential for cost savings, we’re going to take advantage of in that method.”
According to Danforth, the City expects to be moved into the new building by next November.
Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said the new building will be bigger and will better fit the City’s needs, while the existing City Hall is falling apart.
“New City Hall will have brand new technology. We’ll have better facilities for doing city council meetings,” Mayor Nelson said, noting the internet connection is spotty in some parts of the building, on top of structural issues. “Now, there may be taxpayers who didn’t agree with the timing of the project or every component of it. But I am very confident that they will have a building that they can be proud of. And they’ll be proud of the price tag, because we’re refurbishing a historic building versus starting from scratch and building all brand new construction. So I think that’s a good compromise for addressing the need.”
Danforth said the new City hall will have a modern industrial look, while still taking advantage of the historical features of the building, as well as Downtown Amarillo.
“This building’s been here 100 years and we haven’t seen any water infiltration on this building like what we see in city hall,” said Danforth. “So, some of the stuff that kind of affected us on City Hall hasn’t happened here and we’re just a block and a half away so there’s some big advantages to this structure versus other structures.”