Development of an indoor arena overwhelming approved by the voters as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bonds continues to gain momentum.
The arena will provide a venue for athletic, performance, cultural and recreational events in the heart of El Paso’s Downtown.
After considering multiple sites, the City of El Paso has selected a two-block area immediately south of the Convention Center for the arena and the immediate area. The targeted footprint is bounded by West San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Drive and Leon Street.
In order to begin design and construction of the $180 million Multipurpose Cultural and Performing Arts Facility in 2017, the City must acquire the necessary property within the identified footprint.
“We are working closely with our consultants to identify the smallest area possible within the footprint for the project, in order to disrupt the fewest number of landowners,” City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said.
The property acquisition process will include asking Council to consider authorizing the City’s eminent domain authority.
“The power of eminent domain allows the City to begin a structured negotiation process with established protections for and disclosures to property owners,” City Attorney Sylvia Borunda Firth said. “It is absolutely our goal to negotiate in good faith with property owners and reach agreement on the purchase price. There are tax and other benefits available to land owners and tenants in the condemnation process, which we will help interested parties maximize. We want this to be a win-win.”
As part of the acquisition process, the City will implement a relocation program for residential and commercial tenants. “Our hope is that these small businesses and residents will want to stay downtown, but that will be their choice. We will develop a relocation plan that works for each situation,” Firth said.
The land acquisition process is the second major milestone for the Arena project. In August, the City selected International Facilities Group (IFG) to serve as the Owner’s Representative for the project. The design procurement was published on October 4, 2016.
“The citizens of El Paso have told us they want this project and are excited to see it advance. We now have an incredible team in place dedicated to keeping this signature project on schedule and look forward to exceeding the voters’ expectations with a world class arena in the heart of our beautiful Downtown,” Gonzalez said.