On Tuesday, the El Paso City Council approved the acquisition of the El Paso Times building, at 501 Mills Street.
The 2.25-acre property owned by the Texas-New Mexico Newspapers was put up for sale following a decision by the parent company of the El Paso Times to move its printing and packaging operations to Ciudad Juárez. The building’s printing press will be removed by the seller as it is not part of proposed $3.6 million contract of sale with the City.
“This is a strategic acquisition for the City, so we recommended that Council acquire the property that shares a wall, surface parking lot and other amenities with City Hall,” City Engineer Sam Rodriguez said.
“Our existing lease agreement with them provided us the first Right of Refusal on the sale of the property. Acquiring the property just makes good business sense as it enables the City to bring more services to one physical location, as opposed to having them at different sites.”
Officials went on to explain, via a news release:
The proposed long-term consolidation of services will enable the City to streamline service delivery while making the customer experience more effective, efficient and convenient. The proposed future use of the site is consistent with City operations and policies to provide a safe and secure workplace. Security will also be enhanced by allowing the City to have oversight of the property adjacent to City Hall.
Another benefit of acquiring the property is potential cost savings through the divestment of lease agreements for multiple properties. One of those is the $72,000 per year expense the City currently has with the newspaper organization leasing the breezeway at City Hall. The funding source for the real estate purchase approved by Council is proceeds from the sale of capital assets, which can only be used for property acquisitions.
The City relocated in 2013 to its current site at 300 North Campbell to allow for the construction of what is now known as Southwest University Park.
The current City Hall property was formerly owned by the same newspaper media company.