Restoration of Herring Hotel paused amid owner’s bankruptcy filing

Herring Hotel

The restoration of the historic but long-abandoned Herring Hotel in downtown Amarillo, Texas, appears to be on hold indefinitely after its owner filed for bankruptcy this month.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News, the Herring Hotel Development Company LLC filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on March 5. That’s about three years after the company purchased it with plans to spend more than $30 million restoring the property.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is where a trustee is assigned to collect and sell the debtor’s nonexempt assets. The proceeds of those asset sales then go to the creditors.

The newspaper reported:

For one public event, the hotel opened its doors for the first time in 60 years to host the annual Herring Holiday Ball fundraiser, starting in December 2015 through around December 2019 in the hotel’s lobby.

A drafted recommendation, dated in 2022, for the National Register of Historic Places, described the building’s exterior and interior. There were renovations done on the 6-13th floors in 1969 to convert the hotel rooms into open office spaces. Despite that, the draft stated the rest of the “building’s central core has been retained.”

“The first floor’s main lobby is intact and features a cast stone fountain, fluted columns, decorative plaster, and marble floors,” the report stated. “The second floor/mezzanine level retains most of its circulation patterns and room arrangements, with the mezzanine, ballroom, kitchen, and several of the sample rooms intact. The third through fifth floors retain the historic circulation patterns and hotel room arrangements as well as plaster walls, ceilings, and stained wood doors and transoms.”

The bankruptcy filing occurred less than two months after the Herring Hotel was designated to the National Register of Historic Places.

Oilman, banker and rancher Cornelius Taylor Herring built the 14-story, 600-room hotel in 1926 — the same year U.S. 66 came into existence.

The hotel briefly was converted into office space in the early 1970s. The Herring was listed on Preservation Texas’ Most Endangered Places in 2006.

The Herring Hotel stands at 311 Southeast Third Ave. between the northbound and southbound lanes of Business Route 66, before Route 66 turns west on Sixth Avenue.

(Image of the Herring Hotel in 2015 by Barbara Brannon via Flickr)

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