Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TXDOT Brings Back Lighted Arches on I-10 Near Downtown

As many El Paso residents have noticed, the long-dormant lighted arches along Interstate 10 near Downtown have finally been revived. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) recently turned on the lights to help beautify the section of Interstate 10 between the eastbound Franklin on-ramp and the Dallas/Cotton exit.

El Paso-Las Cruces International Airport?

Adding Las Cruces’ name to the El Paso International Airport, though a possibility, is still in the very preliminary discussions phase. That’s according to officials who have been involved in talking about the possibility.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Magoffin Pocket Park Makes Progress

One of the Downtown area’s first new parks in years is finally making notable progress. A gazebo is now being added to the Magoffin Pocket Park at 1030 Myrtle Avenue. 

The project is using funds from the 2012 Quality of Life bonds approved by voters. See more photos of the construction site at the City of El Paso Engineering and Construction Management Department Facebook page.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Coronado Tower’s $2M Rehab Nearly Complete

The 11-story Coronado Tower on El Paso’s West Side is nearing completion of a $2 million renovation. 

Improvements to the building include new elevators, painting, walls, flooring, landscaping, and heating and cooling replacement. 

Sun Bowl Drive Rock Hammer Use to Be Limited to Certain Hours

After complaints from residents in surrounding neighborhoods, the contractor working on Sun Bowl Drive will limit use of the noisy hydraulic hammer to normal work hours. The piece of construction equipment is used to break rock off of the mountainside to assist with widening of the UTEP street. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

El Paso Named One of First 33 ‘Resilient Cities’

The Rockefeller Foundation has named its first 33 cities in its 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge., and El Paso was chosen. According to its website, ‘resilient’ cities are those that “have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses.” 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sierra/Providence to Invest $120 Million

Three local hospitals that are part of the Tenet Healthcare network will benefit from a $120 million investment  by the medical center giant. Providence Memorial Hospital, with it’s adjacent Children’s Hospital, and Sierra Medical Center will see several improvements that should be completed by 2017. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bus Rapid Transit Work to Close Two Lanes on Mesa Street

Two lanes on Mesa Street southbound will closed beginning Monday, December 9, due to construction of a Brio Rapid Transit station near Sun Bowl Drive. The lane closures should be in place for one week.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Closer Look at Award-Winning Infill Project

A myriad of recycled materials were used in a Central El Paso infill project which constructed a 4,000 square foot multi-unit structure on an empty property. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Designer Studio Opens at 'Fountains'

One of the Fountains at Farah's newest tenants celebrated a grand opening last weekend. Designer Studio opened its 3,000 square foot location in the promenade section of the Fountains.

According to a press release, the store's "custom interior design is an open concept that features eye-catching details like LED screens, stunning shelving displays, and will also include a large artistic mural."

This is the third store for the company which sells designer clothing for men and women. 

Read the press release at the Designer Studio website.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cinemark Movie Bistro Now Open at Sunland

Cinemark’s latest concept movie theater, Cinemark Movie Bistro, has opened at El Paso’s Sunland Park Mall, only the second location in the country. The theater opened last Friday.

The theater serves expanded menu items, like hamburgers and pizzas, as well as alcohol. Visitors can expect large seats with eating trays. The auditoriums contain non-stadium seating.

Visit the Movie Bistro's website for more details.

Café Italia Wins Interior Design Award

A Downtown El Paso restaurant was awarded the 2013 Texas Downtown Association’s Design award for Best Commercial Interior. Cafe Italia's owner, Jose Fong, gave DWNTWN El Paso a Q&A.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Country Club Road Closes Completely

The City of El Paso has been forced to close Country Club Road from Doniphan Drive to Love Road due to unforeseen obstacles. Road crews discovered buried AT&T telephone lines that were not disclosed by the communications company prior to the start of construction. 

City to Hold Meeting on Sun Metro Public Art Finalists

The designs of three semi-finalists were recently chosen for an art piece planned for the new Sun Metro Operations Center, and now the City of El Paso wants the public’s input on the concepts.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Façade Improvement Update

An old commercial building in the historic Union Plaza area of Downtown El Paso has received a facelift thanks to help from the Façade Improvement Program administered by the Downtown Management District. 

Bike Share Continues Despite TxDOT Moves

The Texas Department of Transportation’s El Paso district engineer, Robert Bielek, considers the tentative Bike Share program a “boutique” program unworthy of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

County Approves Incentives for Downtown Hotel

County of El Paso Commissioners approved an incentives package for Summit 11 Investments this week, the group that purchased and plans to renovate the former Artisan Hotel building Downtown. 

Historic Warehouse in Central El Paso to Become Event Hall

A warehouse built in 1917 is now an adaptive reuse project in Central El Paso. 

The old 180,000 square foot Hussman building at 2201 East Mills Avenue has served as factory/warehouse space for decades, but part of it will now be repurposed as an events hall. About 80,000 square feet of the building will be used for EPIC Railyard Event Hall. 

Owner Jack Dulaney also operates El Paso Import Co. out of the building that spans two city blocks. Plans are also in the works for storefronts on the ground floor.

Read the story at the El Paso Times website.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Schuster Ramp to Close During Weekends

The Interstate-10 eastbound entrance ramp from Schuster Avenue will close for 15 consecutive weekends beginning Saturday, November 16, 2013. 

Old Fort Bliss Has Murky Future

One of the city’s most historic sites is in the crosshairs of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Old Fort Bliss, home to cavalry and infantry garrisons dating from 1879, currently houses some apartments in the old adobe buildings on Paisano Drive near the Yandell overpass.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

City of El Paso Developing Public Art Master Plan

The City of El Paso’s Public Art Program will hold four meetings next week to get public input on the “role that public art can play in El Paso.” The goal is to develop a Public Art Master Plan for the city.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

UTEP Recycling Rocks in Sun Bowl Project

The project to widen Sun Bowl Drive at the University of Texas at El Paso requires removing some of the natural mountain surface to make room for the new lanes, and the school wants to re-use the crushed rock.

Infill Project Wins Local Architecture Award

A new, multi-family residential structure has garnered an award from the American Institute of Architects, El Paso Chapter, in the category of Design.

The building was an infill project designed by architect Edgar Lopez of local firm In*Situ, who is also owner of the new 4,000 square foot quadruplex on Wheeling Avenue near Scenic Drive.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Newest El Paso Cinemark Theater Now Open

Cinemark has opened its newest theater in El Paso on the far East Side of the city. It's the latest move for the company that has dominated the El Paso theater landscape for years. 

Tornillo Int'l Bridge Nearly Complete... On U.S. Side

The new international bridge at the Tornillo Port of Entry could have been up and running by the end of the year... but construction on the the Mexican portion hasn't even begun.

A six-lane bridge, tollbooths, and inspection facilities are nearly finished, all on the United States side. County Commissioners ok'ed an additional $52,000 for the project this week due to a miscalculation in the amount of embankment material needed.

Spur 1966 Columns Now Sprouting from Parking Lot

Columns that will support Spur 1966, the Schuster extension over Interstate 10, can now be seen coming up from the parking lot floor. 

Across I-10, crews are in the early stages of demolishing the Yandell overpass to make way for the Spur. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bike Share Program Scaled Down, Still Alive

City officials decided to move forward with a smaller bike share program earlier this month after the Texas Dept. of Transportation held back $1.6 million in federal funds.

Triple-A Mascot May be Revealed Today

The wait to find out what El Paso’s Triple-A mascot will be is nearly over. Officials with the team will hold an event at the Plaza Theater on Tuesday, though they won’t disclose the nature of the event which will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New Tax Credit Could Help Downtown Redevelopment

A new Texas law went into affect in June that may give developers a tax credit equal to 25% of the cost to renovate historic buildings.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Insights Museum Could Get a New Home

El Paso's only children's museum closed earlier this year when its former building was demolished to make way for the Downtown baseball stadium. Now, El Paso Independent School officials are poised to allow the museum to open up in the empty Alamo Elementary School building.

Biomedical Symposium Takes Place Oct. 26th

The Biomedical Institute of the Americas will hold its first Biomed symposium later this month to try and spur medical research and innovation in the El Paso region. Organizers hope to help spur innovation by matching doctors with researchers.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Nordstrom Rack Open at 'Fountains'

The first retailer to officially announce a location at the Fountains at Farah on El Paso's East Side finally opened last week. Nordstrom Rack welcomed hundreds of customers into the store as it opened its doors last Thursday.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thousands of Artisan Hotel Items Sold

Thousands of items from the defunct Artisan Hotel were sold last week at an auction set up to clear the structure and help make it ready for coming renovations. The Artisan's owner, Douglas DeSilva of Las Vegas, had packed the hotel will replica hanging art and sculptures in an attempt to revive the long-vacant hotel.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Northgate Transit Project Nears

Two years ago, the City of El Paso acquired and began demolishing the long-blighted and vacant Northpark Mall. Plans were drawn up to create a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the site that would include various housing types, retail, park, and civic spaces laid out in a smart growth design. But the 23 acre property has seen little activity since.

Council Vote Tinged with Political Retaliation?

A City Council vote two weeks ago is raising eyebrows and eliciting scathing editorials in local newspapers, and KVIA takes a look at why.

Council reversed an earlier vote on September 17th to approve reappointment of Leonard "Tripper" Goodman to the board of the Downtown Management District and instead moved to deny him another term. The full Council had approved all board reappointments in a 6-2 vote earlier in the day. Then after Rep. Ann Morgan Lilly left the meeting, Rep. Lily Limon asked to reconsider only Goodman's reappointment. Council voted 4-3 to deny the reappointment.

Friday, September 27, 2013

City Bike Plan in the Works

City officials are using $100,000 in federal funds to develop a Bike Plan for El Paso. The City focused on five surface streets over the summer, using cameras to gather bike usage statistics on Hondo Pass Avenue and Rushing Road in Northeast El Paso, Belvidere Street and Redd Road in West El Paso, and Edgemere Boulevard in East El Paso.

Hospital for West EP Could Spring Up Within Two Years

Dr. Jose Manuel de la Rosa
Plans for a West El Paso hospital surfaced last week when University Medical Center's CEO, Jim Valenti, mentioned it in a newsletter. This week, El Paso Inc. received more details on the plans from Dr. Jose Manuel de la Rosa, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine's founding dean.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sale of Former Artisan Hotel is Complete

The biggest obstacle to renovating a long-vacant downtown building has finally been overcome. Summit 11 Investment Group purchased the former Artisan Hotel on Kansas Street and plans to redo the building inside and out, turning it into a 115-room, brand name hotel.

Monday, September 23, 2013

MountainStar Request Misinterpreted, Not Seeking More Money

Things are calmer on the Downtown baseball stadium front. Media outlets went into overdrive this past weekend when Mayor Oscar Leeser's office released an email from MountainStar Sports Group and a response from the mayor as most interpreted it as a request for $10 million more for the construction budget. The mayor and other Council members adamantly said "No."

Border Highway Toll Lanes to Open in January

The work to complete the Cesar Chavez Border Highway managed lanes project should be completed in January, allowing El Pasoans to use a tolled third lane in each direction. The reconstructed original main lanes will remain free.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

MountainStar Sends Letter to Mayor Detailing Additional Stadium Expenses

Joshua Hunt, one of the owners of MountainStar Sport Group, has written a letter to the mayor indicating the cost of the downtown baseball stadium may rise by an additional $10 million. MountainStar already received an increase to the construction budget last month when it told the El Paso City Council it would pay for any additional overages.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Volunteers to Help Cleanup Downtown EP

The Downtown Management District (DMD) is teaming up with the City's Environmental Services Department to hold a cleanup even in Downtown El Paso on Saturday morning. The organizations hope that El Paso residents will turn out to help make the area sparkle.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Best Buy to Open at 'Fountains' This Week

Best Buy will join two other stores and open this week at the Fountains at Farah shopping center. That's according to a story at the El Paso Times Business page. Dick's Sporting Goods and Stein Mart will both open this week.

New Hospital for West El Paso?

University Medical Center's CEO, Jim Valenti, may have revealed plans by Texas Tech to build a new hospital in West El Paso. That's according to an item in this week's "Whispers" section of El Paso Inc. According to the blurb, Valenti expressed concerns about losing UMC staff to the new hospital in an internal memo. 

Downtown Full of Construction Projects

There are several projects that are currently under construction or which will soon break ground in Downtown El Paso, and visitor's to the city's core will certainly notice. From the ballpark to San Jacinto Plaza to street improvement projects, folks who take a trip Downtown will most likely have to maneuver through blocked off areas and orange barrels. 

The El Paso Times takes a more detailed look at what projects are taking place. Read the story at the website.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Developers Struggle to Bring 'Upscale' Retailers to El Paso

National brand name retailers and restaurants often overlook El Paso as a viable market due to multiple factors, according to local and national economists. Dynamics such as average household income that is lower than the national average and the absence of other 'upscale' brands in the Sun City play a part in why retailers do not commit. And it sometimes comes down to the border; retailers may not consider Juarez's 1.5 million residents as part of the consumer base.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Will Rain Throw Ballpark Construction Off Track?

The weather has caused some delays this week at the construction site for the future Downtown baseball stadium. Consecutive stormy days and ponding of rainwater have slowed down crews working on the 9,500 seat ballpark.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

'Luther' Becomes 'Mulligan' Bldg - Read the History of Why

Two weeks ago, the El Paso City Council approved a name change for the now-former-Luther Building in Downtown. It is now called the Mulligan Building in honor of the Irish immigrant who built the structure as a warehouse in 1915, John Mulligan.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Northgate Project Gets Federal Transit Dollars

The now vacant former Northpark Mall site in Northeast El Paso could soon see renewed activity in the form of a Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Transit officials announced last week that the Northgate Transfer Center project will receive $10.3 million in federal funds, part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.