Route 66 News

Hotel project in Amarillo would connect with Big Texan Steak Ranch

The Amarillo City Council on Tuesday night approved a Tax lncrement Reinvestment Zone No. 2 development agreement that would connect a proposed four-story hotel with a walkway to the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch.

According a story in the Amarillo Globe-News, developers are building a 123-unit Home2 Suites by Hilton along Interstate 40 on the city’s east side:

The rebate agreement with Route 66 Development, LLC is contingent upon certain deadlines for building permit issuance and certificate of occupancy, in addition to streetscape standards required between the hotel site and the Big Texan restaurant, per the agreement outline. […]

Total construction cost will be over $9 million and the project would create 25 full time jobs, per Freeman, adding TIRZ assistance is requested to encourage the project being built within the TIRZ boundary and aid with the cost of streetscaping to the Big Texan property. The project is slated to feature over 40 trees and flower beds, along with sidewalk access to be built linking to the Big Texan restaurant.

The property-tax rebate would be $42,000 a year over 10 years if the developer meets the agreement’s requirements. The newspaper didn’t have an update on the story Wednesday, but according to city administrative assistant contacted by phone, the city council approved the tax zone Tuesday night.

As recently as 2016, the Big Texan was considering a move down the road to a new site. Given this week’s development, I asked one of the restaurant’s principals, Bobby Lee, whether it still was considering the relocation.

He replied by email:

We do not have any immediate plans for expansion. The most current expansion concept is for “on site improvements” only.

The Big Texan began on Amarillo Boulevard (aka Route 66) in 1960 and often shows its Mother Road roots in the gift shop and decor. It moved to Interstate 40 during the early 1970s after Route 66 was bypassed.

The Big Texan is best-known for its 72-ounce steak dinner, which is free for the customer if it’s devoured in less than an hour. Well under 10 percent of those who attempt it succeed.

(Image of the Big Texan Steak Ranch by Lee Winder via Flickr)

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