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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Work Begins on Widening of Sun Bowl Drive

UTEP's On the Move website has details concerning the widening of Sun Bowl Drive by the Texas Department of Transportation. The $4.4 million project will add an additional lane in each direction and should take 10 months to complete.

No Buyer for Santa Teresa Country Club

The quickly deteriorating Santa Teresa Country Club had no approved buyers at an auction held this morning. State of New Mexico officials tried to sell the club to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes owed for the property.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Housing Authority of El Paso Attracts National Attention

The Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) has weathered the austerity storm relatively well, and officials from other cities are taking notice. Most recently, Baltimore officials visited El Paso to get a up close look at how HACEP's approach to diminishing budgets has been largely successful.

Anson 11 Adds to Downtown Restaurant Lineup

There's a new "upscale" restaurant downtown, and it's backed by a well known El Paso businessman: Paul Foster. Anson 11, named for the historic surveyor who helped plan the downtown layout, Anson Mills, is a two level restaurant that recently opened its first floor to the dining public.

Friday, September 6, 2013

'Fountains' Developer Shifts Focus to West Side

The Dallas-based developer that's helping bring the Fountains at Farah to El Paso will also develop 100 acres of land in West El Paso into a shopping center. A story on states that the Centergy Retail could open the future center by 2015.