Plans Move Forward For The Abandoned St. Anthony’s Hospital
It was the first hospital opened on the High Plains. In February of 1901, four young women from the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio arrived in Amarillo to start a health care facility that would meet the medical needs of the 1,422 citizens of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. The facility was named St. Anthony’s Hospital. Since that time, a whole lot has changed for the hospital and Amarillo. Eventually in 1996, the hospital would join hands with a competitor, the Baptist hospital, to form Baptist St. Anthony's (BSA) and open a brand new, state of the art facility on Coulter Street.
For years, the historic St Anthony's Hospital building at Amarillo Boulevard and Polk Street has sat empty and in disrepair. It has seen numerous accounts of vandalism over the years and the panhandle weather does help much either. From Amarillo Boulevard it may just look like a rundown office building, but when you turn down Polk Street and see the original building, it is an impressive, soaring structure.
Now, after years of failed attempts to reuse the old building, we have some good news to share about this part of Amarillo history. A group of real estate developers is planning "The Commons at St. Anthony’s." A senior living facility that will provide 124 units for individuals over the age of 55. The development will also include amenities and community spaces for its residents.
The Commons at St. Anthony’s will be developed with the help of tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs which were approved by the board on Thursday, July 23, 2020. While the development was announced earlier, this step in securing the housing tax credits is a crucial part of the funding puzzle to deliver affordable housing units. The development also received unanimous support for the Amarillo City Council and Potter County Commissioners.
“I believe that the partnership with Kent Hance is going to be so beneficial to our community,” said Mildred Darton, president of the North Heights Advisory Association who played a pivotal role in making the project a reality. “This partnership will be the springboard for economic development in this community. Our vision is to revitalize this community, and with the community at the center of this, we feel that many needs will be addressed.”
The development will be led through a partnership between KRS Housing, LLC of Austin, Texas and The Commonwealth Companies of Wisconsin. KRS Housing’s managing member is former Lubbock congressman and Texas Tech Chancellor Kent R. Hance.
“For decades, St. Anthony’s Hospital saved lives throughout the Panhandle, but then was left to decay in downtown Amarillo,” said Hance. “Our plan is to bring the hospital back to life by providing very nice yet affordable housing for seniors who deserve a nice place to live.”
Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2021 with completion and availability of units for lease in the summer of 2022. The Development of The Commons of St. Anthony’s also has the support of the St. Anthony Legacy & Redevelopment Corp. which plans to improve other buildings near the historic hospital.