While thousands of fans recently filed through Hodgetown's gates for the Amarillo Sod Poodle's first homestand, retail space available across the street at the base of the city-owned parking garage remains dormant. Officials previously noted businesses had expressed interest in the 25,000 square feet of space offered, but did not wish to commit before the baseball venue opened. The garage opened to the public in September 2017.
"We've always known that space would come on line as soon as the ballpark opened," Mayor Ginger Nelson said. "We had almost 42,000 people attend ball games in the MPEV over the course of the last week and I think it's important for that data to establish what a great location that is. I am anxious to see that space leased and I believe the opening of the ballpark is exactly what we need to see that happen."
Officials said Amarillo Retail LLC is the entity responsible for filling the retail space. Last year the Amarillo Local Government Corporation Board approved a $14,000 bid for a firm to conduct a survey of the retail space windows, execute the design and layout of the images, print the materials and provide temporary vinyl signage installation. Officials said the project covered the lower portion of up to 19 retail space windows.
"They have a long term agreement signed by the Local Government Corporation, under the guidance of the previous council," Nelson said regarding the business responsible for parking garage retail space leasing. "I believe it was a five year contract. This council has no ability to change that at this time."
Amarillo Retail LLC did not return phone calls seeking comment. Amarillo City Council member Eddy Sauer, who serves on the LGC board, previously acknowledged potential tenants for the retail locations would likely coordinate their plan for the spaces with the start of the 2019 baseball season and added the LGC considered the $14,000 allocated for the effort to be well spent.
“It’s just to make things look better and appeal to people who are coming through town,” he said. “The funding is out of the money that has been allocated to help with improvements in the area. We view this as an upgrade.”