Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Council Votes to Purchase Buildings for City Hall Relocation

In its plans to vacate City Hall to make way for a new baseball stadium, the El Paso City Council voted on Tuesday, August 7, to purchase two buildings and begin the relocation process. The first and most prominent of the two is the El Paso Times building located at 300 N. Campbell Street; it offers 83,000 square feet of relatively modern space that the City could utilize right away and includes on-site parking which City staff and visitors can use. It would cost the City approximately $11 Million to purchase.

The second building is a smaller one located at 801 Texas Avenue. At 70,000 square feet, it could house the City Development, Parks and Recreation, and Engineering Departments. This building would cost around $2.5 Million to purchase.

A third building was also under consideration but was ultimately removed from consideration by the City. The 62,400 square foot Luther Building at 218 N. Campbell Street would have cost the city $17.4 Million dollars, but Council members decided that the other two buildings provide sufficient space for City functions. It is owned by Paul Foster, one of the members of the group trying to bring a Triple-A baseball club to El Paso. The Triple-A move requires a baseball stadium to be built Downtown.

The El Paso Times has stated that they will move out of their building if it is purchased by the City. Currently, the entire second floor is vacant. The City may also try to purchase the Times owned parking lot across Campbell Street.

801 Texas Avenue
Detractors have stated that the current City Hall is still useful and should not be demolished. But the City has often said it is in dire need of repairs; current estimates point to $20-30 Million in costs to rehab City Hall.

The City will now negotiate the purchase price of the two buildings and begin relocation as soon as the purchases are final.

City Hall Relocation Analysis by TVO (PDF):

City to Decide Fate of Downtown Ballpark This Week (Updated)