• June 26, 2022
 City to Negotiate Land Purchase from Select Downtown Property Owners for New Arena

City to Negotiate Land Purchase from Select Downtown Property Owners for New Arena

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.

The targeted footprint is bounded by West San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Drive and Leon Street || Map courtesy Google
The targeted footprint is bounded by West San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Drive and Leon Street || Map courtesy Google

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  • Finally! So excited for this project. Love the growth 🙂

  • So now they have a targeted area on where they want to build the arena. What are they (the City) going to do with the Civic Center???? I know they have plans for the Chavez Theatre, but why do we need the Civic Center?

    • For conventions, exhibits,maybe more future bowling tournaments etc.that is why the city built the Civic Center back in the late 1960’s early 70’s.And the city dropped the ball back then by building it too small! We use to even have a professional VolleyBall league in the early 1970’s called the El Paso/Juarez SOL playing inside the convention center.Get the idea?

  • A state of the art children’s museum would bring tourism. Look at the Indianapolis children’s museum. I sent a nice email to the last mayor but he enjoyed sitting around playing his guitar all day. I’m so disappointed in this city’s leadership. Corruption at its best when you hire a city manager that’s had corruption allegations.

    • Don’t point the finger in the last administration of mayor John Cook? that city council had their hearts in the right place. However they should had asked El Paso voters for more money in the 2012 Quality Of Life bond issue. They allocated only $19 million for the Children’s Museum with another $10 million pledged,we still might get more funding for that project.That is still going to be a very nice museum once it get’s built.
      We were lucky to get Southwest University Park Stadium along with a triple A baseball team to complement it.I think that city manager Tommy Gonzalez has cleaned up his act and doing a much better job now than before.

  • So in the process we are to lose another historic Trost building (old Fire Station 11) and the current Fire Station 11. More of our city leaders AT WORK

  • This is the ideal site for the new downtown arena, I always knew that here was the perfect location to build the arena next to the convention center.However there is one huge problem, The Size! 12,500 ??? Too small, El Paso will never be able to attract bigger events as they will continue bypass El Paso.
    I know that even Northeast city representative Carl Robinson has also figured this one out,El Paso is a big city now so we need bigger venues.A 15,000 seat arena is still mediocre but much better than 12,500 seater.
    An 18,000 seat plus would be great like they had planned before,even back in the early 1970’s the city wanted to build an arena seating 16,000 in downtown. But voters didn’t approve the bond issue to build it because it was mostly old people voting back in those days and I was too young to vote back then.
    I voted for the quality of life bond issue back in 2012, and I want this baby to be built the right way.
    Si se puede El Paso!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Albert. We’re about to hit a population of 1,000,000 pretty soon and building an arena that only seats 12,500 is way too small. The Pan Am Center would still have a bigger seating capacity. Building an arena with a capacity of 17,000 – 18,000 will keep the big acts making stops IN EL PASO!

      • J.J., by the looks of it there are a few holdouts that want to sell their property to the city as they will be asking for more money from the city.
        The only option is that the city use eminent domain same goes for the Historical
        Commission claiming that there are historical buildings located in the arena footprint.
        Why do some people always have get in the way of good progress makes no sense but that is what they seem to do every time.Downtown already has historical district in place and no one can touch those buildings.
        This arena must be built where the city says it needs to build it and that is south of the Judson F. Williams Convention Center.
        So then EMINENT DOMAIN! is the last resort and only option and without anymore further delay.

  • To build this means many historic buildings will be demolished…. say goodbye to your history downtown El Paso. And more tourism is not necessarily and good thing. Trust me, raised in El Paso and living in Houston- small, historic and quaint is 100% better than anything big and urban.

  • What else is new? Here comes the cave people again complaining about the new downtown arena just like they did when the city was lobbying for the downtown baseball stadium.
    Better way to define them is called the Naysayers,and according to Borunda Firth,the area area does not have buildings with historical designation.
    Well regardless, this arena will be built whether they like it or not and we as voters voted for the Quality of Life Bond Issue with regards that the arena will be built in downtown El Paso. Not at the airport, Horizon City or far east El Paso but downtown downtown downtown and No Where Else but in downtown El Paso.
    It will look nice once it’s completed and it will complement the Civic Center,Southwest University Park Stadium,the new Children’s Museum,the renaming of the Camino Real Hotel back to the Paso del Norte Hotel. Once it gets renovated and brought up to convention hotel standards not to mention the return of the electric street car service to downtown.The streetcars alone will help create more than a billion dollars in downtown investment from Glory Road all the way to downtown,and that is already starting to happen now.
    I’m sure that Paul Foster,the Meyer’s Group,Lane Gaddy and other developers are onboard with this new downtown arena and now it’s more than about time that downtown El Paso is getting some serious love.

  • ElPasoSurfRanch.com is next! Yay, El Paso!

  • Well the bottom line is that downtown has to continue to grow and sometimes we have to agree to disagree with those that are determined to get in the way of progress.Whether it be the Historic Preservation Commission,the Cave Dwellers or even the Naysayers, Mind you that El Paso already has a huge Historical District from the Sunset District,the El Paso High School area,the Magoffin District the Segundo Barrio,and Northeastward to Austin Terrace bordered by Fort Bliss.
    And these so called Historical preservationist are complaining about four city blocks located in downtown El Paso where the city is going to build the new downtown arena.
    Only in El Paso there is so much opposition to everything whether they want to build a new 22 story tower on the Westside,a downtown baseball stadium etc etc.
    This area that is bounded by Paisano St,Santa Fe St,Leon St and West San Antonio Ave is really more of an ancient eye sore.Back in the day when the city was planning to build the convention center,the city should have acquired all the property from within.Consisting from Missouri Street to Paisano Street,Durango Street to Santa Fe Street.There were no naysayers,cave dwellers,or Historical Commission Preservationist in those days.I have nothing against the Historical Commission people but please give us a break for once and let things like the downtown arena become a reality.
    Besides you already have a huge Historical city within a city itself and you still manage to complain over four city blocks.You people are way too much and demand more than you need to preserve,you can’t always have it your way just because!
    To the City of El Paso! build it and build it right with more than just 12,700 seats and without any further delay. Make Us Proud of you for once.

    • What some people seem to call areas that are an eye sore are actually historic places locations that date back when El Paso first began. The argument that AUSTIN HEIGHTS, SUNSET HEIGHTS, MAGOFFIN dist, Second Ward etc… is a cliche a propaganda a fatigued and overused excuse to tear apart the Historical significance of dowtown. It is an overused excuse for those people who do not want to work hard to accomplish what is best for the city. It is an old fatigued overused cliche of an excuse for laziness avarice and hoarding of land on the city’s part. Coming from a long line of ANCESTRY from the southwest, I am truly against anymore destruction of Downtown. There are many properties in El Paso the city can use to build. The city just wants everything damm convenient. Can you kickbacks…wink wink. There is vacant land all over El Paso with in minutes of Downtown, for instance the Cohen stadium HELLO???? big enough for what is proposed and more. What about all those buildings that need refurbishing. Man you people… before establishing this WORLD CLASS ARENA don’t you think (city of El Paso) in our pee wee brain, if you have any at all, that rebuilding downtown first before building this WORLD CLASS ARENA? What a bunch of clowns. It is always down to this isnt it… never letting the voters take charge the city just decides as if were peons and raises taxes to pay for bullshit. Building this THING of an ARENA first before beautifying downtown, is like going a cardiologist to see about your failing heart, and get your brain removed. STUPID MOVE. I SAY NO. NO AND NO and AGAIN NO. NO ARENA. NOT IN MY DOWNTOWN NO!!! It is important to maintain our Historical Heritage. Besides the Historical locations mentioned have nothing to do with downtown. We need a historic district within DownTown. SO NO ARENA.

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