Monday, June 30, 2014

Closer Look: Newly Funded Transportation Projects

Transportation Commission Approves $97M for Streetcars

The Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) approved a minute order last week that green-lights funding for two large transportation projects in El Paso, including the long-awaited streetcar project slated for the Downtown/University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) areas.
A rusting streetcar sits on El Paso International Airport land in this 2008 photograph. (Historic Trolley Streetcar Initiative Report)

The TTC approved $97 million for the streetcar project as a “regional multimodal” development, serving the I-10 “congested corridor.” The funding will support construction of 4.8 miles of track that will transport riders from Downtown El Paso, including areas near the ports of entry, to UTEP and the nearby Cincinnati entertainment district.

According to the TTC’s Unified Transportation Program update, the streetcar line will include 27 stops. The route, as chosen by City Council, will travel north on Oregon Street, turn east on Glory Road, and then back south on Stanton Street. A circulator will also travel in a loop around Downtown El Paso’s core. New funding is also intended to cover vehicle maintenance and storage facilities.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happy Fourth of July Week!

The Weekly Edition will return next week, but we'll still have articles this week!

Meanwhile, you can catch up on previous issues by visiting our Weekly Edition page right now!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

MCA Foundation Eyes New Location for Biomedical Building

Cardwell Collaborative Could Now Be Built on Jefferson High School Land

The Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA) announced last week that it would now like to build its biomedical research building on Jefferson High School land in Central El Paso. The MCA submitted its preliminary proposal to the El Paso Independent School District Board of Trustees last week.
This concept image shows what the Caldwell Collaborative may look like when completed. (MCA Foundation)

The MCA outlines how it believes the 60,000 square foot Cardwell Collaborative will benefit Jefferson High School and Silva Health Magnet students by locating the building on Jefferson’s campus. It would require a lease to purchase 2.6 to 2.9 acres of land to work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Retail Update: Kona Grill, Hana Banana Now Open at ‘Fountains’

Sleep Number Store to Open Shop in Promenade Section of East El Paso Center

Two new eateries have opened their doors at the Fountains at Farah, both in the Promenade lifestyle area of the East El Paso shopping center.
This water feature, called a “rain cascade,” can be found inside the new Kona Grill at the Fountains at Farah in El Paso, installed by LL Waterfall Designs of California. (

Kona Grill, a self-described “casually elegant” restaurant that serves award-winning sushi as well as American favorites with an international influence, opens to the public on Monday, June 22, 2014. It held invitation only events over the weekend to prepare for the official opening.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Downtown Streetcar Project May Receive Funding This Week

The $97 million Dowtown/UTEP streetcar project could break ground as soon as August if the Texas Transportation Commission approves funding.

Continue Reading >>

A vision of what Oregon Street could look like with a streetcar system, from Plan El Paso. (

Details on Alamo Drafthouse Groundbreaking

Construction of Movie House May Take Less Than a Year

El Paso politicians and businesspersons alike attended a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday for what will become the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater building at the future Montecillo Town Center on the city’s West Side. It will be the first building to break ground at the Town Center site.
An artist’s rendering of the Alamo Drafthouse theater building under construction in West El Paso. (Triple Tap Ventures)

The movie house will be situated in the upper area of the Town Center, with parking located behind the building and hidden from view. The theater will have eight screens with about 850 seats in total. The structure will be over 30,000 square feet in size, according to the Town Center site plan.

Alamo Drafthouse is known for serving restaurant food to patrons before and during the movie. Neil Michaelsen, Chief Executive Officer and President of Triple Tap Ventures, explained this to local film critic and historian Charles Horak in a recent interview with KTEP (
The Alamo Drafthouse theater building will be located in the upper area of the Montecillo Town Center. A groundbreaking was held last week for the eight screen movie house, which could open in early spring according to the theater’s developer. (Site Plan:

“You sit down, there’s a table in front of you, and there’s a menu right underneath the table. In a very old-school format, you write your order on a piece of paper.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 58

The Weekly Edition, Issue 58 has arrived! Take a look at the newest issue of our Weekly Edition, by clicking HERE. (Note: The newsletter will open in PDF format.)

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Skate Park Officially Opens in Northeast El Paso

One of the largest 2012 Quality of Life bond projects to date has been completed in Northeast El Paso. The Northeast Regional Skate Park held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday to celebrate the official unveiling of the park.
Designed by California Skateparks of Upland, California, the new skate park includes 25,000 square feet of features. (

The skate park spans 25,000 square feet, becoming the largest such park in the city, and includes features such as “a snake run, banked dip, a door way, flat rails, rollers, (and) vertical extensions,” according to a press release.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ten-Acre East Side Retail Project Glimpsed in Development Plan

Proposed Site Plan Presented to City as Part of 2002 Rezoning Agreement

A detailed site development plan is offering a glimpse at a future retail project slated for East El Paso. The 10.85-acre property is at the corner of Montana Avenue and Tierra Este Road.
The tentative layout for the planned 10.85-acre retail development includes possible restaurant and retail uses. (City of El Paso)

The initial site plan shows a standard strip center layout with pad sites showing specific building footprints along with more general retail structures. Longer buildings are located towards the back of the property, near the boundary with Evergreen Cemetery to the east.

Across Tierra Este Road, a larger shopping center includes a Walmart Superstore, Lowe’s Home Improvement store, and several smaller retailers and restaurants.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hotel Indigo Chosen to Fill Former Artisan Location

New Addition will Increase Downtown Inventory by Over 100 Rooms

The former Artisan Hotel sits vacant
in Downtown El Paso. It will soon
become a Hotel Indigo.
An investment group has announced the brand for an upcoming hotel that will take the place of a currently-vacant building in Downtown El Paso. Esperanto Developments of El Paso announced last week that a Hotel Indigo will fill the spot at 325 North Kansas Street.

Hotel Indigo is the boutique hotel arm of InterContinental Hotels Group, the same company that operates brands such as Holiday Inn and Candlewood Suites. According to Hotel Indigo’s website (, each location “reflects the unique local culture, character and geography of its surroundings, but all locations provide the same excellent service.”

A search of different Hotel Indigo locations throughout the world shows that each hotel is styled differently, though all locations include rooms with hard-surface flooring, a staple of the chain according to its Facebook page.
Room designs for Hotel Indigo locations vary from city to city and are based on the neighborhood in which they are constructed. These are, clockwise from top left, Lijiang (China), Birmingham (UK), Nashville, and Rome. (

The El Paso hotel will take over the defunct 12-story Artisan Hotel location that has sat empty for four years. The owner of the property at the time filed for bankruptcy and the Artisan went into foreclosure. Then last year, Summit 11 Investment Group struck an incentives agreement with the City of El Paso and the County of El Paso to bring a name brand hotel to the site within a year, pending purchase of the building. The sale to the new owners of the property went through in September 2013.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 57

The Weekly Edition, Issue 57 has arrived! Take a look at the newest issue of our Weekly Edition, by clicking HERE. (Note: The newsletter will open in PDF format.)

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Museum of History Digital Wall Adds Fifth Display

The El Paso Museum of History’s planned digital wall will be adding an additional screen, according to an amendment to the contract for the project. The TouchCity Digital Wall, designed by Gibson Group of New Zealand, will now be made up of five 95-inch screens.
The TouchCity Digital Wall will be located in a "Welcome Pavilion" at the El Paso Museum of History, as seen in this new rendering. (City of El Paso/MNK Architects)

Originally, the design plan called for using four 103-inch screens, but that size is no longer available from the manufacturer. The newer 95-inch screens are the largest currently available displays that can accommodate the project. This change amounts to 63 horizontal inches of additional display as a result of the additional screen.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TXDOT to Close I-10 Near UTEP this Weekend for Construction

The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) will close Interstate 10 near the University of Texas at El Paso again this weekend. The closure is necessary to place concrete girders over I-10 as part of the Spur 1966 (Schuster Avenue) overpass project.
Concrete girders have already been placed over a UTEP parking lot as part of the Spur 1966 project. (Haydon Building Corp.)

Both eastbound and westbound lanes will close on Sunday, June 8, from 5:00 a.m. through Monday, June 9, at 6:00 a.m. Eastbound traffic will be forced to exit at Sunland Park Drive, while westbound commuters will have to exit at Porfirio Diaz Street.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sun Bowl, Haskins Center to get Upgraded Video Displays

UTEP Partners with Daktronics to Bring Larger, High Resolution Screens to Facilities

Fans attending football and basketball games at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) will be treated to much larger, clearer video displays beginning in the fall. This is thanks to a new partnership with audio-visual technology company Daktronics of South Dakota.
A large, LED display will replace the existing one at the Sun Bowl at UTEP, as seen in this concept image. (Daktronics)

School officials announced the new displays last week, and workers are already removing the existing screen at the south end of the Sun Bowl. This is where the largest display will be installed, a 34 feet tall by 60 feet wide LED screen that will tower above the entrance tunnel. It includes wide-angle visibility and will be capable of showing windowed feeds, different squares within the screen that can be used to show data, animations, video, and advertisements.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

‘TI:ME’ Teases New Restaurants as Opening Nears

Non-Traditional Center Introducing Three Eateries to Montecillo Development

One of the newest sections of the Montecillo smart growth project in West El Paso will open up three new eateries in the coming weeks, and the developer is using social media to provide glimpses into the future restaurants.
Square-shaped donuts are in store at the Hillside Coffee & Donut Co. (

TI:ME at Montecillo, a self-described “non-traditional” shopping center, has plans to open a casual grill house, a cantina serving Mexican-style street food, and a donut and coffee shop at the corner of Mesa Street and Montecillo Drive.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 56

The Weekly Edition, Issue 56 has arrived! Take a look at the newest issue of our Weekly Edition, by clicking HERE. (Note: The newsletter will open in PDF format.)

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