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Home | Tag Archives: el paso downtown arena

Tag Archives: el paso downtown arena

Arena Opponents hold news conference, City Attorney issues statement regarding lawsuits

Veronica Carbajal and Max Grossman held a news conference Monday morning in front of City Hall, providing updates and marking the 33rd month in their legal battle with the city over the proposed ‘Downtown Arena.’

The duo updated the public on their on-going legal efforts over the voter-approved Downtown arena, saying the city “intentionally deceived the voting public.”

Grossman and Carbajal displayed an oversized version of the 2012 ballot proposition, illustrating the original language of “Museum, Cultural, Performing Arts and Library Facilities.”

Carbajal then explained how and why the City deceived the voting public and that they did so by design.

“City wants us all to believe (the ballot) authorizes the construction of a basketball arena, and we emphasized that the language is devoid of any mention of an arena, basketball, sports, or even a site for the project.”

“The following year, the City issued an RFQ for the designer of the project calling for the construction of a ‘state of the art arena with a target capacity of 15,000 seats for basketball games, that includes approximately 24 private suites, 30 loge boxes and 500 club seats, industry standard concessions and food service facilities, merchandising, branding, efficient building systems, teams and event support
facilities and for amenities,” Grossman pointed out via a post-news conference email to the media.

Graphic courtesy Max Grossman

Also during the news conference, Grossman clarified that the injunction preventing the demolition of Duranguito “is pegged to a different lawsuit, which is in the 8th Court of Appeals.”

Carbajal announced that Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), representing four current and former Duranguito residents, will continue their participation in the lawsuit, and will be moving forward with their own motion in the case.

Additionally, it was announced that attorneys Craig Enoch and Melissa Lorber joined Grossman’s bond validation lawsuit.

Shortly after the conclusion of  Carbajal’s and Grossman’s news conference, the City Attorney issued a statement regarding MPC, the full text of which is included below.

The City has continued to successfully defend itself in the various suits, most recently with the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to deny a petition by the opposition to review a ruling issued by a lower court that confirms the plain language of the bond ordinance and authorizes a broad entertainment purpose to include sports.

The Texas Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General’s response that stated interpreting “entertainment” to include sporting events was “reasonable” and that the ordinance calling for the 2012 Quality of Life Bond election and the language on the ballot was appropriate.

We are not surprised by the opposition’s continued efforts to further prolong the litigation which unfortunately continues to delay the project, increase the cost to taxpayers and impacts our community’s economic development.

The City of El Paso, which has spent a little over $1.7 million related to the MPC litigation, has and will continue to abide by all court rulings and we will continue to defend the voter-approved MPC in court.


To view our prior coverage of the Downtown Arena, click here.


Preservation Groups Present Plan, Video for the Rehabilitation of Duranguito

After a Saturday conference about Duranguito and a possible second plan to preserve the area, supporters of the new plan released renderings and a video of the area.

The “El Paso Preservation Forum” hosted Preservationist J.P. Bryan, State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, and five speakers who all advocated the preservation and restoration of Duranguito, to make it an ‘Old Town’-type attraction.

Preservationist Dr. Max Grossman said the event was an “unqualified success,”  with nearly 200 residents from all walks of life in attendance.

Of the discussion, Grossman added, that “Duranguito, the birthplace of El Paso, must be preserved for posterity rather than demolished for a D-League basketball “Arena” and that it has great potential to drive heritage tourism in our downtown”.

According to the Paso del Sur Facebook page, Dr. David Romo presented a virtual reconstruction of the neighborhood created by a team of designers led by Diana Ramos.

Other members of the team were  Victor Soto, Andres Armendariz and David Dorado Romo, and the video produced by Ingrid Leyva.

As part of the presentation, the group included the following description of what Duranguito could be:

This restored neighborhood could showcases the city’s rich global border history to visitors from around the world.

The Plan for the Rebirth of Duranguito proposes a cultural heritage corridor with museums, mercados, performance areas as well as renovated low-income housing, community gardens and other residential services that provides a cutting-edge urbanistic model for historic preservation and equitable development that is truly inclusive for all sectors of the community. 

This community-generated plan for the restoration of El Paso’s oldest neighborhood is inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken objects based on the philosophy that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.

One of the strategies for the funding of this vision is based on a citizen’s initiative petition that is now before City Council to reallocate the 2012 bond funding to pay for the establishment of the Mexican American cultural center as part of this restored historical corridor in Duranguito.

Other proposed sources of funding for the renovated affordable housing will include federal and state funding sources, community land grants, and federal tax incentives for historic preservation projects. 

To view our in-depth coverage of the Downtown Arena Saga, click here.

Court Rules City’s Arena ‘Authorized to Accommodate Sports, Sporting Events’

Ending years of legal battles, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin entered a judgment on Wednesday essentially authorizing the city to build a downtown arena that also can host sporting events.

“This is a monumental win for the City of El Paso! The ruling means we can deliver a multipurpose facility that El Pasoans overwhelming voted for and approved in 2012 – an MPC that accommodates performing arts and other entertainment, including sports. The City Attorney’s Office and its legal team did a phenomenal job of presenting the City’s case and we are beyond thrilled with this win,” Mayor Dee Margo said.

Via a news release officials with the City of El Paso stated that as a result of the court’s ruling, “the City of El Paso is authorized to build a Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Center (MPC) that accommodates sports, and sporting events, and may use outside funding sources for its construction.”

The Court of Appeals decision allows the City to do the following:

  • Build a facility that can accommodate sports;
  • Use “funding from other resources” to modify, complete, or enhance the Facility for sports uses.

City Attorney Karla Nieman said the ruling affirms that the work being done for the MPC is in compliance with state regulations. During the appeal, the City contended that the broad meaning of “entertainment” always included sports.

Officials with the city added, “This signature bond project was overwhelmingly approved by voters with a total of 102,358 people voted in favor, representing 71.67 percent of the votes cast in the 2012 election. The ordinance calling for the election stated the MPC would be downtown, which was affirmed by court ruling issued last year.”


To view Herald Post’s coverage of the Downtown Arena process, click here.

City Launches Website, Social Media Campaign for New Arena Project

The City of El Paso is devoting a section of its website to provide an avenue for informing the public about the development of the arena project.

The $180 million Multipurpose Cultural and Performing Arts Center, or arena, approved by the voters as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bonds will provide a venue for athletic, performance, cultural and recreational events in the heart of El Paso’s Downtown.

The process to begin negotiations to acquire land in downtown for the development of an indoor arena was approved by City Council earlier this week. Community meetings are being scheduled to provide impacted property owners and tenants with the opportunity to discuss the land acquisition process and the development of the arena.  The arena design process will involve additional public meetings.

footprintThe arena master planning area is bounded by West San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Drive and Leon Street. The City will not acquire all properties within the master planning area – only the smallest area needed for the arena.

The City has identified a total of 22 properties for the arena footprint. Out of those parcels five are vacant or surface lots, seven are commercial, seven are residential and two are city owned.

The project design professionals will be asked to incorporate the city’s existing fire stations, the Police Area Representative station, and the Firefighters Memorial Park into the arena development.

Visit the arena project website To learn more about the development of the arena via social media search under the hashtag #EParena or like the City of El Paso on Facebook or follow @elpasotxgov on Twitter.

City releases timeline, information on $180m Multi-Purpose Center project

The largest project in the City of El Paso’s 2012 Quality of Life Bond Program will take a major step forward tomorrow when the City of El Paso begins formally seeking a firm to manage the construction and programming of a new $180 million Multi-Purpose Cultural and Performing Arts Center project, commonly referred to as the arena project.

“We are taking positive and strategic steps to deliver this project which voters overwhelmingly approved and which will re-shape El Paso’s ability to draw top-level entertainment to the market and continue to fuel the economic engine and re-birth of our Downtown,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser.

The City of El Paso’s request for proposals (RFP) will be formally released tomorrow for a ten-day period of industry review. After that time, the final RFP will be officially released on Wednesday, October 28, 2015.

The deadline for interested bidders to response to the RFP isWednesday, December 9, 2015.

“Because projects of this nature are highly specialized and complex, we believe it is important to take the unique step of vetting our purchasing documents to ensure this landmark project continues to advance without delay,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “Therefore, it is important that we engage industry experts who have vast experience on similar projects to give feedback and strengthen the official and final request for proposals.”

The city is seeking a firm to oversee design and construction of the arena including contract compliance, reviewing payment applications, and processing invoices. The firm would also oversee design and construction and schedule events and recruit tenants, sponsors and a naming rights partner.


  • November 2012: Voters overwhelmingly approve bond program including the Hispanic Cultural Center, Children’s Museum, and arena.
  • February 2013: El Paso City Council approves a three year plan which does not include construction of the Signature Projects within the first three years of the bond program. This allows city staff to conduct public outreach, engage necessary experts, and thoughtfully build a responsible financing model which allows construction of the projects.
  • December 17, 2013: El Paso City Council unanimously approved a contract with HKS, Inc., and a  local consortium to determine the appropriate size and scope of each facility; determine the appropriate sites for each facility, with an emphasis on creative synergy among existing facilities and leveraging existing infrastructure.
  • January to July 2014: The City of El Paso concluded an extensive, community wide public outreach process.
  • August to December 2014: Additional study was required for background work on arena operations, to include benchmarking analysis across the nation and analysis of operations and maintenance budget for proposed facility. This work was used in the January 2015 report.
  • January 6, 2015: HKS, Inc., and a team of experts presented their findings to El Paso City Council on these three projects.
  • February to May, 2015: City staff conducted due diligence on several possible locations.
  • June 2, 2015: City staff opened a competitive process in which law firms were invited to present their expertise and qualifications to the city for consideration.
  • September 29, 2015: The City of El Paso selects two outside law firms with extensive experience in arena projects and downtown revitalization to lead the process of acquiring land for the three Signature Projects of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond Program.

Because of the complexity and uniqueness of this project, it is premature to commit to an exact date for a groundbreaking or ribbon cutting for the facility.

The City of El Paso looks forward to working with a project management firm to realize this project which will improve El Paso’s competitive advantage When companies look at where to locate good paying jobs, when airlines consider whether or not to add more direct flights, and when families look at where they’re going to go for the weekend.

Along with other unprecedented investments in quality of life, the arena project which was approved by voters is a central part of our strategy to achieve those things.

Once it is formally released, the draft RFP can be viewed in its entirety at Preliminary studies and information on the project are available at

To stay up-to-date on these and other city projects, visit and sign-up for a monthly enewsletter detailing project progress, community meetings, and other information.

Author: City of El Paso

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