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Council Report: Fort Worth approves ground lease for possible relocation of American Quarter Horse Association headquarters

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The American Quarter Horse Association could have a new home in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth City Council, at its Tuesday meeting, authorized execution of a ground lease between the city and the AQHA and the city of Fort Worth to construct a facility at 1400 Gendy that would house the AQHA headquarters and a museum. The association may relocate from Amarillo to the Will Rogers Memorial Center campus.

The ground lease is only a step in the process of a possible move, according to the Amarillo-based organization. A group of external stakeholders have been working on a possible move.

“This action by external stakeholders and the Fort Worth City Council does not mean AQHA has made a definitive commitment to relocate,” said Craig Huffhines, executive vice president of the AQHA. There is no timeline for relocation, he noted.

The ground lease agreement has a 50-year initial term with five 10-year automatic renewal terms. Council also authorized a waiver of the portion of the rent that is proportional to the square footage of the facility used for a public museum.

 “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.

Continuing a trend of protests by citizens at city events, Isaiah Smith addressed the council regarding the AQHA headquarters, saying, “When you guys do approve that, I am hoping you guys will name it after [Atatiana] Jefferson or after Jermaine Darden, who were wrongfully killed by members of the Fort Worth Police Department.”

This story has been corrected to show that the ground lease does not mean the AQHA has made a decision on moving to Fort Worth.  

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