AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The old Ponderosa Apartments building used to be considered by many North Heights residents as the pride and joy of the neighborhood.
“It was one of the first multiple dwelling unit complexes that we experienced out here,” said Keith Grays, a concerned resident of North Heights. “And it was beautiful.”
He has fond memories of the old structure.
“Driving down our main thoroughfare at North Hughes Street. You could look down the hill here and then see it lit at night, and it was a beacon of light. It was good living. It was clean living. It was affordable living for a certain socioeconomic status,” Grays told MyHighPlains.com.
But as you can see today, that status is long gone.
“It’s an eyesore. It’s a it’s a dump ground. God only knows what might be found inside of one of these buildings,” Grays expressed.
Grays noted that it’s not all on the city to find a resolution for the property.
“There are property owners who are paying taxes,” he said.
According to the city, for its part, a solution is in the works.
“It has not been condemned,” said Jacob Diaz, City Marshal for the City of Amarillo. “We’ve initiated the process.”
Diaz told MyHighPlains.com that since the property went vacant in 2016, it’s gone through several owners.
“In March of 2019, the City of Amarillo tried to work with them to obtain a Chapter 33 agreement, which would incentivize them to rehab the structure, put it back into use with 46 affordable housing units,” Diaz explained.
Diaz said the process went on for years and finally, the owners tried unsuccessfully to sell the property, and finally new ownership out of the DFW area purchased it in July of this year.
“We’ve been working with them as well as development services has been working with them to try to get them moving in a path to rehab the structure,” Diaz told us.
As of now, Diaz said plans to demolish the property aren’t in the works, but that’s not off the table. However, the City of Amarillo must follow all legal processes before those plans are considered.
For neighborhood residents like Grays, whether through rehabilitation or demolition, they simply want some sort of resolution.
“There is money allocated for incentive to come and do new developments through block grants and tax loopholes, tax incentives, but you don’t find the money to tear down what devastates and depreciates the building of new structures,” Grays said.