Happy State Bank buys big in downtown Amarillo
By Karen Welch — Senior Content Producer
Happy State Bank will add another city block to its downtown footprint, bringing its holdings in the district to roughly five full blocks.
"We love downtown Amarillo —love downtown Amarillo," Happy State Chairman and CEO Pat Hickman said.
The bank on Wednesday closed its purchase of the city block that once housed insurance conglomerate AIG, Hickman said.
He declined to divulge the cost of the transaction. Combined, the seven individual parcels that Happy State purchased carry an estimated assessed taxable value of nearly $3.2 million, according to the Potter-Randall Appraisal District.
The bank's new block, which includes several structures, runs from Southeast 10th north to Southeast Ninth Avenue, and from Taylor Street east to Fillmore Street.
AIG has vacated the five-story building that sits at Southeast 10th Avenue and Taylor Street, Hickman said. Other structures are empty, as well, he said.
"AIG has completely moved off the block," he said.
AIG continues to operate from of buildings on Southeast 27th Avenue at Osage Street.
Hickman called the purchase a "no-brainer."
Happy State owns the two blocks to the north. And the bank has grown enough to need additional parking, which was the first objective in buying the AIG property, he said.
"There are a lot of parking spaces that will relieve a lot of congestion," Hickman said.
Hickman said the bank will evaluate whether the five-story office structure can be redeveloped or should be cleared from the property to make it ready for other uses.
"We will likely raze the building," he said.
The building was built in the 1950s and contains no fire sprinkler system and only one fire-rated stairwell, Hickman said.
The bank will have time to make its plans, he said.
"It'll probably be a three-year project for us," he said.
Karen Welch is a senior content producer for Panhandle PBS. She can be contacted at Karen.Welch@actx.edu, at @KWelch806 on Twitter and at www.facebook.com/karensmithwelch on Facebook. Subscribe to the Panhandle PBS BizHere podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud to hear more business news and interviews.