Monday, October 29, 2012

NE Sam's Club Appears on CPC Agenda

An item on the City Plan Commission agenda reveals that a Sam's Club planned for northeast El Paso is getting closer to becoming a reality. The rezoning application shows that the discount warehouse would be located at the corner of Diana Drive and Gateway North, across the street from the El Paso Community College Transmountain campus.



The site plan in the application shows a 138,082 square-foot building which would have three entry points, two most likely for use by customers and a rear entry for trucks. A fuel island is also planned for the northwest corner of the property.

No timeline is available for the project. The City Plan Commission will hear the rezoning case at its November 1, 2012, meeting.

Related:
Retail Update: Menchie's, Chipotle Expand to East El Paso; Outlet Shoppes Add Space; Sam's to Northeast?

City Plan Commission agenda: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/development_services/preview_mtng.asp?meetingid=1756

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Demolition Denied for Downtown Trost Building (Update: Approved by Council)

Update: City Council voted at its November 13, 2012, meeting to approve the demolition of the Muir Building, overriding the HLC's original decision. The vote was unanimous, though two Council Members were absent.

Original Post: 
The Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) has denied an application to demolish buildings on two parcels on a block near San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso. The owner of a three story building at 230 N. Mesa Street and two smaller buildings at 218-222 N. Mesa would like to construct a brand new development on the properties which are adjacent to each other. The decision was made at the October 22, 2012 meeting of the HLC board. The applicant may now file an appeal directly to the City Council which can override the HLC's decision.

Buildings outlined in blue could be demolished.
The application for demolition was submitted by the Borderplex Community Trust, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) originally created to facilitate the City's original Downtown 2015 Plan which was announced in 2006. Since then, the REIT has focused on purchasing properties, such as the Wells Fargo and Chase buildings downtown, but has made few moves in terms of revitalization. If approved by the City Council, this would be the first major construction project put forward by Borderplex in El Paso's downtown.

There is some controversy surrounding the possible demolition of one of the buildings, the John T. Muir Building at the 230 N. Mesa location, which most likely caused the denial of the application. The building was designed by renowned El Paso architect Henry Trost and constructed in 1914. The HLC received two letters of opposition from historic preservation groups. Although the Commission stated in the application that the "properties have been so altered that they are no longer the embodiment of distinguished characteristics of an architectural type or specimen; can no longer be identified as the work of an architect or master builder whose individual work has influenced the development of the city; and no longer embody distinguished elements of architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship which represent a significant architectural innovation," the letter from the Texas Historical Commission disagreed, stating, "its grandeur is still visible at the third floor terra cotta fa├žade."

Muir Building today (left) and in its original condition.
There are three other properties on the half-block where the development would be located, but it is unclear if Borderplex has made any attempts to acquire those lots. The Tejas Cafe building, located at 204 E. Mills Avenue, was recently purchased by the Lane Gaddy group of investors. On the other side of the block, the Walgreen's building at 200 N. Mesa Street is owned by the University of Texas, and the building at 209 E. Texas Avenue is owned by Billy Abraham. Walgreen's will be vacating this space and moving to a new location on Paisano Drive.


Borderplex has been silent on the proposed development, and no timeline has been given for the project. Borderplex was formed by Bill Sanders, a businessman known for creating REITs. Another Sanders company recently announced plans to purchase a Colorado-based bank.

Related: More Large-Scale Redevelopment Slated for Downtown

Historic Landmark Commission agenda: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/development_services/preview_mtng.asp?meetingid=1754
Borderplex website: http://www.bcreit.com/

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I-10 Toll Lanes May Stretch to NM Border

The Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) is studying plans to construct managed toll lanes on Interstate 10 in west El Paso, and a Request for Financial Assistance has revealed that the project's northern boundary will stretch to the New Mexico state line.


The CRRMA is looking to construct the project in two phases, with the first phase stretching along I-10 from Paisano Drive/Sunland Park on the west side northward to Transmountain Road/Loop 375. The southern terminus will intersect with the future Border Highway West extension. Phase two's limit would begin at Transmountain Road and continue northward to the Texas/New Mexico border.

This project will add an inside managed toll lane in each direction on Interstate 10 and would be part of the TxTag electronic tolling system. If implemented, this would create a continuous toll network that would stretch from the New Mexico state line southward to El Paso's downtown and curve around the southern and western boundaries of the city. Tolled lanes would not replace any existing free lanes on I-10 or Loop 375.

The CRRMA is asking the Texas Department of Transportion for funds to complete the environmental and engineering portions of the project. No timeline has been given for this project.

Related:
TXDOT to Present Preferred Route for Border Highway West
Ring Around the City: Loop 375 Stacked with Projects
$37.6M Americas Managed Lanes Project Takes Shape

CRRMA Agenda: http://www.crrma.org/agenda.asp

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Essential Posts: February 2012

Our blog came to life back in February of 2012, and there have been over 100 posts so far! Here are some of the posts we believe are definitely worth reading (again) and a few you may have missed, listed here for easy access.

This first part includes stories from February of 2012, the very beginning. Every week, we'll highlight months from earlier in the year, just in case our readers may have missed some interesting stories.


UTEP Hires Firm to Improve Campus Design
According to UTEP's press release, the areas involved are: Memorial Triangle, Leech Grove, Circle Drive (between Old Main and the Psychology Building), the arroyo, the courtyard behind the Physical Sciences Building, and Miner Alley (the walkway between the Sun Bowl Parking Garage and the Fox Fine Arts Building, Miners Hall, Worrell Hall and Hudspeth Hall).

'The Mix' Adds Downtown Housing
A new "upscale, urban" mixed use development has added 14 modern apartment units to Downtown's Union Plaza District. Octavio Gomez, founder/owner of Union Plaza hot spots such as 1914 Lounge, Brick and Mortar, and The Garden, has renovated a century-old building at 518 W. San Antonio Avenue and is calling it The Mix.

Northpark Transit Project May Receive $15.2 Million
The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, has recommended that $15.2 Million be included in the federal budget to support the City's Rapid Transit System's (RTS) Northeast corridor. This would include designing the transit-oriented development at the old Northpark Mall location, which is currently being demolished.

City Eyeing Old Saddleblanket For Artspace Project
The goal is to create a "high density mixed-use, arts-oriented affordable rental housing development on the Property containing studio/work and gallery spaces," according to the ordinance. The City entered into an agreement with the EPCF and Artspace in 2010 to produce a project of this type.

El Cruzero to Transform Far East El Paso Desert
A new 228 acre mixed use development is slated for far east El Paso which will incorporate new Smart Code rules. El Cruzero Town Center will be built at the northeast corner of Montana Ave and Joe Battle (Loop 375), and will be comprised of two mixed-use areas, a Regional Center Development and a Traditional Neighborhood Development.


Asarco Ready for Development in 2015, Stacks or No Stacks
Roberto Puga, the trustee appointed to oversee the remediation of the Asarco site, stated this week that he would like one master developer to purchase all 350 acres, which span both sides of I-10, and that the site would be ready for sale in 2015, a short three years away. A new change in the plan includes topping the site with five feet of clean soil and not the asphalt surface that was in the original plan.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Glimpse of Ballpark Plans Included in Council Agenda

An agenda item in the upcoming October 23, 2012, City Council meeting shows a portion of preliminary plans for the future baseball stadium in downtown El Paso. The City is developing a contract with Union Pacific Railroad to study and/or approve encroachment over the depressed train tracks that are adjacent to the ballpark site.

According to the draft plans, a pedestrian deck would cross over the tracks in the eastern area of the ballpark, adjacent to Santa Fe Street. Additionally, a portion of the planned upper deck suite and press box area would overhang the railroad tracks by about 50 feet or more.

Concept image of ballpark. Grandstand tower can be seen on the left.
The plans, which only show the southern portion of the stadium area, also show that Durango Street would be cut in half along the western edge. On the eastern side, plans for a grandstand tower seem to also be included, reinforcing the tower seen in the concept image released by Populous, the architecture firm in charge of designing the stadium.

The contract with Union Pacific states that the railroad company would provide "preliminary engineering and other related services, development of cost estimates, review of the project’s preliminary layouts, and submit current train and switching moves."

Those involved are trying for an April 2014 opening day for the yet-unnamed Triple-A ball club's stadium.

Previously:
Triple-A Club, Ballpark Debut New Website
No Ballpark Veto; Next Steps for Downtown Stadium

Populous website: http://populous.com/
City Council Agenda: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/city_council.asp?agenda=10-23-12&addition=false

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fox Plaza Diversifies, Adds Medical Office Building

Fox Plaza, one of south-central El Paso's largest shopping centers, will soon add a new medical office building to the popular retail site located at the intersection of Paisano Drive and Alameda Avenue. An 11,400 square foot building will be constructed just outside of the southeast corner of the current center boundary and will be dedicated to tenants who provide medical services.


The move to include a more diverse mix of uses at the center is intended to loosely mirror the vision that Plan El Paso has for Fox Plaza. That's according to the center's property manager, Jeannette Negrete, who adds, "It's part of a transformation into a lifestyle center, offering expanded services." The idea to add medical services was also influenced by the expansion of the nearby Medical Center of the Americas campus, which includes University Medical Center and the Texas Tech School of Medicine.

Long-term concept for Fox Plaza in Plan El Paso.
Fifty percent of the medical building has already been pre-leased and a total of six to eight tenants will occupy the space. Construction is expected to be completed by July of 2013. Another medical provider, Kool Smiles, recently had 7,500 square feet of space renovated for its location at the center.

Fox Plaza Medical Building page: http://foxplazamercado.com/Fox%20Medical%20Plaza.htm
Leasing Information: 915-779-8424

Related:
City Adopts 'Plan El Paso'

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Starbucks, Anson 11 Steakhouse Headed to Mills Bldg.

A series of window coverings along the ground level of the Mills Building in Downtown El Paso points to a new steakhouse that will occupy the space in the coming months. The restaurant will be called Anson 11, an homage to Anson Mills, the building's builder and namesake. Mills was a civil engineer and surveyor who gave El Paso its modern name and helped design the original layout of the city.

Few details are available about the upcoming steakhouse, and the website simply contains the restaurant's logo/name and a phone number for employment inquiries. Tunnel Bravo, an Arizona-based design and advertising firm, developed the logo, according to its website. According to an August 7, 2012, blog entry at the website, construction was set to begin soon on the interior.


Next door to the upcoming steakhouse, a Starbucks coffee shop will also make its premier. It will actually be located in the Centre Building adjacent to the Mills. A simple logo on a window, along with a "Coming Soon" decal, announced the future location a couple of months ago.

No opening date has been announced for either eatery, although the Anson 11 logo indicates an established-date of 2012 which may point to an opening later this year.

Read more in an August post at the Living El Paso blog.

Anson 11 website: http://anson11.com/

'Fountains' Website Adds New Aerial Photos

The website for the upcoming Fountains at Farah shopping center has debuted new aerial photographs showing construction progress on the $70 million project. Two new images show the development in August and September of 2012 from a bird's eye view.

September 2012 bird's eye view of The Fountains at Farah project.
The latest image shows column construction work that will support the upper level of the parking structure that will stretch the length of the 1,800 foot shopping promenade at the forefront of the project. On the southeastern side of the center, foundations have already been added for the larger big-box retailers, such as Nordstrom Rack.

Earlier August 2012 aerial photo.
The earlier August image mainly shows excavation work nearly completed for the lower parking level. It also helps to show the progress made in one month from August to September.

The grand opening for The Fountains at Farah center is scheduled for fall of 2013, about one year from now. To date, Nordstrom Rack, Best Buy, and Dick's Sporting Goods have been confirmed as tenants. EMJ Construction of Dallas is the general contractor for the project.

Previously:
Dick's Sporting Goods Joins 'Fountains' Lineup
'Fountains' Website Updated, Debuts New Images
Nordstrom Rack 'Fountains' Location Details
'Fountains' Images Show Possible Design Aesthetics

Fountains website: http://fountainsatfarah.com

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Triple-A Club, Ballpark Debut New Website

MountainStar Sports Group has officially acquired the Tucson Padres Triple-A ball club. The announcement came on Thursday, October 11, 2012, at a press conference held at the Plaza Theater, just blocks away from where City Hall now stands, the future location of a downtown baseball stadium.


And now a new website has been unveiled for the future El Paso team with several sections dedicated to helping the residents familiarize themselves with the upcoming ball club. The public can visit www.elpasotriplea.com to see conceptual images of the ballpark, read about different ticket packages that will be available, and sign up to receive updates through a newsletter that will be distributed by the club.


The website reveals more details about the stadium itself indicating that it will include:
  • 8,000 - 9,000 seats 
  • 20 – 30 luxury seats
  • 250 – 500 club seats
  • Team office space and retail store
  • Party decks/zones
  • Bar/restaurant
  • Kids Zone
  • Outfield seating
  • 360 degree access around park
  • Diversified food options

El Paso will be one of 30 cities in the country with a Triple-A club and will be part of the Pacific Coast League. Opening day for the stadium is scheduled for April 2014.

Previously:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TXDOT to Present Preferred Route for Border Highway West

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) will present its preferred route for the Border Highway West project at a November meeting. The nine mile project would extend Loop 375 approximately seven miles north and west from its current Downtown terminus, where it would connect to an interchange with Interstate 10 just south of Sunland Park Drive. TXDOT has considered four Alternative routes and will announce that Alternative 2 is the preferred route.

The Preferred Route will travel south of Chihuahuita.
The Preferred Alternative consists of two different sections known as Border A and Rail Yard B. The Border A section travels south and west of the Chihuahuita neighborhood along the Rio Grande and would require only two residential displacements in the preliminary plans.

The Rail Yard B section would run roughly parallel to Interstate 10 on Asarco land, then turn west just before Executive Boulevard. The route would then cross land currently owned by Cemex and turn north again as it approaches Paisano.


According to the upcoming meeting notice, this route "allows for impact avoidance and minimization for a number of resources, fulfills the purpose and need for the project, and provides feasible engineering alternatives. The Preferred Alternative best balances the expected project benefits with the overall effects."

The Preferred Alternative would require acquisition of 42 commercial properties overall, most of which would be along I-10 across from UTEP and along Paisano Drive east of Downtown. The final route may change and is subject to community input.

Meeting Information:

November 15, 2012
4:00 p.m. - Open House
6:30 p.m. - Presentation
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center
Wiggins Way

TXDOT Project Page: http://www.dot.state.tx.us/project_information/projects/el_paso/border_highway_west.htm

Previously:
Loop 375 West Extension Grows Eastward
TxDOT May Fast Track I-10, L-375 Projects

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mills Plaza Promenade Moving Forward

Planting Plan for Mills Plaza Promenade.
The project to create a pedestrian-only promenade between the Mills/Centre Buildings and the Plaza Hotel is moving forward. The Mills Plaza Promenade with span a 350 foot distance of Mills Avenue from Oregon Street to El Paso Street in front of the Plaza Theater.

An application with the City's Historic Landmark Commission shows the paving, planting, lighting, and furnishing plan for the area, and must be approved by the board in order for construction to begin. Water features will travel through the promenade in canal-type structures that meander through the pedestrian walkways. Concept images of wayfinding kiosks are also included in the application.

SWA, a landscape/architecture firm based in San Francisco, was hired by Paul Foster's Mills Plaza Properties to create the design with community input. Mills Plaza consists of the Mills Building, the Centre Building, the Plaza Hotel, and two parking structures just north of the Mills. The Blue Flame Building is also part of Mills Plaza portfolio.

The right of way is actually owned by the City, which will head the construction phase. The promenade will link the Mills/San Jacinto Plaza area to the Plaza Theater and Museum of Art. A new path being developed on the northern edge of the adjacent Convention Center will help connect the arts district to the Union Plaza area to the west and should help encourage walkability.


No timeline has been given for the Mills Plaza Promenade project.

Historic Landmark Commission item: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/development_services/preview_mtng.asp?meetingid=1749

Related: San Jacinto Revamp Moves Into Final Design Phase

Friday, October 5, 2012

Americas Interchange Will Open in Three Months


Over two years after construction began, the Americas Interchange is getting ready to open to motorists, and the builder has submitted a notice of "substantial completion" with a target date of November 21, 2012. The latest version of the Americas Interchange Newsletter indicates that this is a non-binding notice, but shows how close Americas Gateway Builders feels that completion is near. The official opening is scheduled for January 2013.

This project involves construction of three direct connectors as well as reconstruction of one cloverleaf at the frontage road level. All physical milestones are at or near 100% complete, including 114 out of 114 drill shafts, 93 out of 93 columns, 78 out of 78 bent caps, 363 out of 363 concrete beams, 96 out of 96 steel girders, and 51 out of 76 bridge deck spans.

The focus of the October newsletter is how the painting process signals that the end of the project is getting near since aesthetic improvements are usually the last step of a road project. The newsletters states that themes used in aesthetics can help differentiate projects in El Paso from other cities, adding that "aesthetics lighten the mundane."


Read the entire newsletter by clicking here (PDF).

Previously:
Americas Interchange Landscape Options to be Considered by CRRMA

New Airport Rental Car Garage to Include Public Art

The City is moving forward with plans to create a three level parking structure at the airport which will be used by rental car companies for pick up and return of automobiles used by travelers. The Consolidated Rental Car Facility (ConRAC) will be located immediately to the west of El Paso International Airport's main terminal, steps away from the baggage claim area.

Concept design of the structure in the Southern Industrial Park Master Plan.
Included in the structure will be Ready and Return areas, customer kiosks, fueling and car wash areas, a light maintenance facility, and vehicle storage for use by the rental companies. It will include 650-700 parking stalls and be designed using Smart Growth and Congress for New Urbanism principles, including a focus on pedestrian accessibility. The final structure will conform with the newly released Southern Industrial Park Master Plan SmartCode guidelines.


The City will choose an architect for the project at its October 9, 2012, meeting. According to the agenda item, the City is poised to award the $2.7 million contract to the firm of Demattei Wong Architecture, Inc. of California. Demattei Wong will develop schematic and final construction designs as well as oversee the eventual $30 million construction project, which will be paid from airport revenues. Demattei Wong has constructed multiple ConRAC facilities around the United States.

A Public Art project will also be incorporated into the structure, and the City may choose Allbritton Lee, LLC of Texas as the artist, according to the Council agenda. The $350,000 project includes the design, fabrication, and installation of the final art piece, which will be incorporated into the parking structure's construction timeline. Allbritton Lee consists of artists Norman Lee and Shane Allbritton who have multiple public art installations around the country, including pieces at Houston's Hobby Airport and Texas A&M University.

An Allbritton Lee installation at Hobby Airport.
The design and bidding phase of the parking structure project should be completed within 10 months, at which time construction may begin.

City Council Agenda: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/city_council.asp?agenda=10-09-12&addition=false

Previously: Smart Code, Master Plan Coming to Airport Land

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

More Lanes Coming to I-10 in East El Paso

A re-striping project slated for Interstate 10 on El Paso's east side could mean the addition of one lane in each direction in the coming years. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) will hold a meeting on October 3, 2012, to educate the public about the upcoming project plan.


According to the meeting notice, "The proposed I‐10 project would include adding one additional mainlane in each direction by reducing lane widths and reducing shoulders." By focusing on making lanes and shoulders smaller by using new striping, TXDOT avoids the time and cost associated with major construction. Eastsiders would see capacity increased from McRae Boulevard to Zaragoza Road, though the project's limit would start west of McRae at Viscount Boulevard. It would span a 4.6 mile stretch of I-10.

Currently, I-10 is reduced to three lanes in each direction at McRae, creating severe bottleneck traffic conditions during rush hour when travelling east. And morning commuters traveling westward from the east side can also encounter heavy congestion due to a nearly daily occurrence of wrecks between Lee Trevino and Hawkins Boulevard. This fourth lane may help alleviate capacity issues.

I-10 Loses a Lane at McRae Boulevard.
Auxiliary lanes may also be added from entrance to exit ramps between Yarbrough Drive and Lomaland Drive. This means an additional exit only lane will be added in this section, allowing traffic to merge in and out of the freeway more effectively. It is unclear if this will supplement the additional mainlane in each direction.

The $11 million project could begin construction by August 2013.

Meeting Information:
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Del Valle Elementary School
9251 Escobar Drive, El Paso TX 79907

TXDOT Public Meeting Page: http://www.txdot.gov/public_involvement/hearings_meetings/el_paso/100312.htm

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thought Bubble: Cielo Vista Mall Needs Major Upgrade

Cielo Vista Mall on El Paso's east side is the city's largest and most popular shopping destination. With 1.2 million square feet of leasable space, it is considered a Super Regional Mall by the International Council of Shopping Centers. Popular with regional shoppers, it sees millions of shoppers on an annual basis according to Simon Properties, which manages the center.


But with multiple town center developments planned around the city, like Montecillo, Aldea, and El Cruzero, can Cielo Vista Mall remain the most popular shopping center in the coming years? And will the new Fountains at Farah development just across the street dampen the mall's shopping figures? It's probably far too soon to try and answer those questions, but there is something we feel the old mall can do to stay relevant in today's town center climate...

So What's Wrong?

Built in 1974, Cielo Vista Mall was designed in an era when residents were moving out of the city's center and into the suburbs. As such, the mall was developed with the automobile in mind, catering to suburbanites who had no choice but to use their personal vehicles to go shopping. The result was a large central building surrounded by a sea of sun-baked asphalt and concrete parking lots. Little, if any, thought was given to shoppers who may actually travel to the mall by foot or bicycle. Aside from added square footage and an internal renovation in 2005, the mall's footprint has changed very little in nearly 40 years.


Now, projects like Aldea on the west side and El Cruzero on the east side promise brand new, mixed-use, high quality designs in their centers which will create an aesthetically pleasing urban, main street type of feel. These projects are more in line with extremely popular town center developments which have popped up around the country in the last decade as community designs have trended toward New Urbanism. Even suburbanites now crave a more "downtown" type of design in shopping centers located in newer neighborhoods. A sea of parking lots is no longer seen as acceptable in a high quality development.

Idea: Connect the Mall and Movie Theater with a Town Center

Today, if someone shopping in the mall would like to go to the Cinemark Cielo Vista, it usually involves getting into the car in the mall parking lot and driving to the theater parking lot. Even those who try and walk from the mall to the cinema will find a pedestrian unfriendly route. There are zero sidewalks or paths that connect the two, so pedestrians must walk on the street with mall traffic or wind their way between parked vehicles in the parking lot expanse.

The idea: Create a brand new town center shopping area that would connect the theater to the mall. This would help pedestrians navigate through the area as well as add a high quality town center to the mall property. Simon Properties would have much more square footage to lease to retailers and restaurants, and visitors would enjoy a beautiful shopping experience. The theater could become more popular due to the proximity of shops and eateries.

Our concept of what the town center layout could look like (below) contains lots of space for retailers, parking structures, landmarks for terminating vistas, pedestrian-only walkways, and tree-lined lanes with on-street parking. Multi-family housing like condos could also be incorporated into the plan. A new walkway would also lead pedestrians to and from the Walmart area. Parking structures would be largely hidden by the retail buildings.

Our concept of a Town Center area for Cielo Vista Mall.
What About Simon Properties?

So, is this something that the mall's operating company, Simon Properties, would even consider? It is probably more than satisfied with Cielo Vista's performance throughout the decades. Indeed, the mall offers exclusive retailers like Michael Kors, Apple, and Coach, and has never had an issue drawing shoppers.

Yet, Simon was adamantly against the City's incentives package for the developer of the Fountains at Farah, the 600,000 square foot power center that will open on the other side of Hawkins Boulevard in 2013. At City Council meetings during this process, representatives from Simon Properties would often speak before the Council imploring the City to deny the incentives to the Fountains developer.

If Cielo Vista Mall's owner and operator was afraid of nearby competition from a brand new, high quality center, perhaps the idea of transforming Cielo Vista Mall beyond its current form is something Simon has considered.

And Simon Properties is no stranger to creating new, town center type developments. A prime example is The Domain in Austin, a mixed-use development which includes 102 acres of retail space, built and operated by Simon. Clearly a town center type of development, the Austin project actually received $25 million dollars in incentives from that city's Council.

The Domain in Austin, operated by Simon Properties.
Now come the town center developments in other parts of El Paso which promise a much higher quality experience than that of aging Cielo Vista Mall...

Competition Coming Soon

The Fountains at Farah - A 600,000 square foot power center that will include a 1,800 foot long pedestrian-friendly promenade with shops and restaurants lining both sides, along with on-street parking. The grand opening is set for fall of 2013. See more here.


Aldea El Paso - A new 204 acre SmartCode development that will include many urban, town center features, including many shop fronts and mixed-use structures. The project should break ground by May of 2013. See more here and here.



Montecillo - A 288 acre mixed use project adjacent to Aldea. More specifically, a new Entertainment District was recently teased which looks to contain many town center features. The development is already under construction. See more here and here.



El Cruzero - A new 228 acre mixed use development which will contain town center areas. Carmike Cinemas was recently announed as the first tenant. May break ground by the end of the year. See more here and here.

El Pasoans Have Given Lots to Cielo Vista Mall

For 38 years, El Pasoans (and shoppers from Juarez, Las Cruces, etc.) have spent millions and maybe even billions of dollars at Cielo Vista Mall. Retailers there have benefited from this spending, which has allowed Simon Properties to benefit from leasing square footage.

There is no doubt that a shopping trip to Cielo Vista is generally a pleasant experience. There are gobs of retailers to choose from, variety, eateries, climate control, and a true big mall feel, and many shoppers are big fans of the center.

But the time has come for something new and exciting. Perhaps the town center area as we have envisioned it isn't exactly the perfect solution, but Simon Properties has a great deal of parking lot space to work with. The possibilities are extensive, and the time is right for Simon to consider a grand upgrade to Cielo Vista Mall.

Simon Properties website: http://www.simon.com/