Fort Worth City Council approves 50 year lease for possible move of AQHA headquarters and museum

Drawing of proposed new AQHA headquarters and museum in Fort Worth
In February, it was announced that a group of external stakeholders is raising funds for a possible relocation of the American Quarter Horse Association to Fort Worth, Texas. Now it appears the relocation of the AQHA is a lot closer to becoming a reality.

Wednesday, the Fort Worth City Council approved a 50-year ground lease for the AQHA. This action by the Fort Worth City Council does not mean AQHA has made a definitive commitment to relocate. This is only a step in the process of the possibility of a move.

AQHA said in a statement that there is no timeline for construction or relocation, as relocation is not guaranteed at this point.

"It’s important to understand that a move is not imminent and there is no plan for future staffing changes," the AQHA said in the statement.

The Fort Worth City Council Council approved a ground lease with the Fort Worth City Council to construct a new facility in the Cultural District that will house the AQHA museum and headquarters.

Fort Worth officials said the agreement calls for a 50-year ground lease with five 10-year automatic renewals. The AQHA would pay $90,953 annually, reduced proportionally by the percent of the building that contains the museum (about 50%).

The building would be constructed on a plot measuring less than an acre and adjacent to the Western Heritage Garage on Gendy Street. Design work will begin soon, with possible construction starting in spring 2021.

"The American Quarter Horse Association has been a great partner in the Will Rogers Coliseum and a great member of the equestrian culture of our city. It makes great sense to have it here," said District 7 Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Shingleton, in whose district the facility would be.

"The renderings I've seen of the building are beautiful. It's going to be a grand addition."

Discussions of moving the AQHA headquarters and museum to Fort Worth have been ongoing for some time. Last year, the organization moved the Adequan Select World Championship Show to the Will Rogers Memorial Center for 2019-21. This is the world’s largest, single-breed world championship horse show open exclusively to amateur exhibitors age 50 and over, the pinnacle event for select amateur competitors around the world.

"We greatly appreciate our Amarillo employees, who are focused on providing quality service to AQHA members around the world. We plan to keep the board of directors, members and the Association’s employees updated each step of the way as this possible relocation continues to develop," the AQHA said.

High Plains Pundit reached out to the City of Amarillo and Amarillo City Council for comment. The City of Amarillo and City Council did not have any comments at this time.