Thursday, August 28, 2014

Vacant Franklin Ave Laundromat Transforming Into ‘Cantina’

A vacant building near the Downtown El Paso Triple-A stadium that made news last year is becoming Blackbird Cantina Deluxe, according to a recently created Facebook page. The property at 533 West Franklin Avenue was home to a former laundromat in the historic neighborhood.
Blackbird Cantina transforms a Downtown laundromat. (
One of the partners in the development of the property, TJ Karam, told local news outlets last year that plans were in the works to construct a 40-unit apartment building at the site. Karam stated that a beer garden was planned for the first level. On Blackbird Cantina’s Facebook page, it is listed as a beer garden.

Pictures at the page show ongoing construction inside and out, with multiple steel containers placed alongside of the existing structure.

The containers have been placed in a seemingly permanent fashion and may be repurposed for use by the bar. No word on the timeline for the project.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Watch Video of TI:ME at Montecillo Transformation

TI:ME at Montecillo is the newest addition to open at the smart growth development in West El Paso, and now a video has debuted showing the transformation of the space into the "non-traditional" shopping center.


Local filmmaker Mark Martinez chronicled construction of the center and has posted the video to his Vimeo page.

‘Mandala Sunrise’ Installation Added to UTEP Campus

Public Art Piece Highlights Relationship Between the University and Bhutan

The drive along Sun Bowl Drive on the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus just got a lot more artistic thanks to a new public art installation along the street. “Mandala Sunrise” will greet drivers at the new roundabout at the intersection of Sun Bowl Drive and Glory Road.
The “Mandala Sunrise” public art piece adds color to Sun Bowl Dr. (
The public art piece, designed by Koryn Rolstad of Seattle (, consists of dozens of upright pipes towering over the roundabout decorated with hundreds of colorful resin wings. At night, the piece includes special nighttime lighting.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

'Stacked' Coffee Shop Going Up in Downtown El Paso

A rendering of a unique coffee shop making its way to Downtown El Paso. (
Two shipping containers will be stacked one on top of the other on Wednesday in Downtown El Paso to help create a new coffee shop. The Coffee Box will offer a new eatery option in Downtown when it opens later this year.

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Work Begins on North Hills Crossing

Ground Broken on 30-Acre Northeast El Paso Retail Center

One of Northeast El Paso’s largest retail projects in years is getting underway as crews have now begun groundwork at the North Hills Crossing development. The center will take a prominent retail spot at US-54 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when it opens next year.
Rendering of the future North Hills Crossing shopping center, now under construction in Northeast El Paso. (

Crews began moving dirt earlier this month, with ZTEX Construction of El Paso as earthwork subcontractor on the project. The company will complete earthwork, utilities, paving, and erosion control.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 65

The Weekly Edition, Issue 65 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, August 21, 2014

Officials Break Ground on New Northwest El Paso Hospital

Rendering of the new Sierra-Providence Hospital building in Northwest El Paso. (Sierra Providence Health Network)
Ground was broken last week on a new multi-million dollar Sierra Providence Health Network (SPHN) hospital in Northwest El Paso that will take shape at the corner of Transmountain Road and Resler Drive. Officials touted their partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in making the facility a teaching hospital.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Construction Update: San Jacinto Plaza Renovation Project

Work Begins on Central Shade Structure that will Protect 'Los Lagartos' Sculpture

The famed “Los Lagartos” sculpture that calls San Jacinto Plaza home will be getting a protective shade structure as part of park improvements, and now crews have begun laying the foundation for the public art in Downtown El Paso.
A shade structure will protect the ‘Los Lagartos’ sculpture at the renovated San Jacinto Plaza, supported by cables on pylons. (City of El Paso)

According to a City update, an auger is now on site which will dig holes 50 feet deep that will house the pylons that will support the shade structure using stainless steel cables. The floating shade canopy will allow small bits of sunlight to peek through during the day and add an artistic element with special lighting at night, according to the project manager’s blog (

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mixed-Use Project Set For Union Plaza

Development Includes Apartments & Retail with a Sunken Courtyard

Construction will soon begin on the transformation of a vacant Downtown El Paso building into a mixed-use structure with retail and apartment elements. The building, located at 513 West San Antonio Avenue, can be found in the historic Union Plaza district on the western edge of Downtown.
A new mixed-use project for Union Plaza in El Paso is getting underway. This rendering shows the building after completion. (Courtesy Liev Arch)

The long, narrow building will contain retail on the first and basement levels, with apartments on the second and third floors. A sunken courtyard will be created along the back of the building with landscaping and a water feature.

The vacant building in Union Plaza should
be transformed by spring of 2015.
(Courtesy Liev Arch)
According to the architect on the project, Carlos Lievanos of Liev Arch of El Paso, the structure dates to the early 1900’s. The renovation design maintains the historic character of the facade, with plans to restore the brickwork and add only a “Texas canopy” along the retail spaces on the street level. The canopy will help to showcase the retail spaces along San Antonio Avenue, he indicates, helping draw customers to the shops. Lievanos was also the architect on The Mix at Union Plaza project nearby.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 64

The Weekly Edition, Issue 64 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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Friday, August 15, 2014

Will Downtown Get a New Convention Hotel?

Downtown El Paso could have a new convention hotel in the coming years. The City of El Paso is requesting proposals for a new full service hotel that would have 250 rooms, a swimming pool, and meeting space.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

City Selects Four Pedestrian/Bicycle Enhancement Projects for Funding Request

The City of El Paso will submit four projects for funding consideration that would expand pedestrian paths and bicycle lanes within the city. Funding is sought through the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) Transportation Alternatives Program.

As part of the program, the MPO has made approximately $3.9 million available and is seeking projects that qualify for funding. For each project the City is proposing, the City will match 20% of the project cost.
The City of El Paso is seeking funding for four bicycle and pedestrian enhancement projects around town, like this one along River Bend. (City of El Paso)

The Resler Drive Buffered Bike Lane project stretches from Helen of Troy Drive southward to Belvidere Street, a total of 2.3 miles. It includes a minimum five foot bike lane with a three foot buffer, intersection striping, and green paint for intersection and “conflict areas.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Infill Project to Bring Apartment Building to Magoffin Neighborhood

Mixed-Use Development to Add Small Retail Space to Three-Story Building

A vacant property near Downtown El Paso may soon see new life as a mixed-use apartment building. That’s according to a rezoning application on the next City Plan Commission agenda.
Artistic rendering of the Magoffin Apartments planned for Central El Paso. (
Plans are to construct a three-story structure on the property, called the Magoffin Apartments, located at 1217 Magoffin Avenue. The first floor will mainly be used for parking spaces, providing a total of 14 slots for residents. A 556 square foot retail space will be located along Magoffin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

First Look: Sun Metro Streetcar Facility

Maintenance & Storage Building to Sit at Downtown Transfer Center Site

Streetcars that are part of the future El Paso mass transit line will have a home at the Downtown Transfer Center property, according to a recently revealed rendering and floorplan. The maintenance and storage facility will be located in the southeastern corner of the site, which sits on Santa Fe Street between 3rd Avenue and 4th Avenue.
Rendering of what the streetcar maintenance and storage facility may look like once completed on Santa Fe Street in Downtown El Paso. (CRRMA)

Plans show a proposed 19,122 square foot building that will have some office space but which will mainly be used to store and maintain El Paso’s streetcars. Two pits will be located underneath a pair of tracks in the middle of the structure, allowing maintenance workers to view and access the underside of each trolley.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Artspace to Discuss Progress at Community Meeting

El Paso Community Foundation and Artspace officials will hold a community meeting on Tuesday to update the public on progress for the Downtown project. Artspace will construct a multi-story apartment building with 51 affordable live/work units at 601 North Oregon Street.
The latest rendering of the Artspace project set for Downtown El Paso that should begin construction in early 2015. (Artspace)

The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2010, was awarded federal housing tax credits in July that will allow it to move forward with construction. Groundbreaking is expected in the first quarter of 2015 with completion expected in spring of 2016.

The community meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, at the Rubin Center for Visual Arts on the University of Texas at El Paso campus. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m.

Officials are expected to discuss the next steps for the project as well as providing an update on the design of the building. More information on the project is available at

Weekly Edition, Issue 63

The Weekly Edition, Issue 63 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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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Twin Peaks Restaurant Headed to West El Paso

Popular Chain to Be Constructed Next to Former Tilted Kilt Property

Twin Peaks Restaurant will soon construct a West El Paso restaurant, and it’ll be located on the same general property that was supposed to house the city’s first Tilted Kilt location. That’s according to recent construction permits that were pulled for the site.
The West El Paso Twin Peaks Restaurant will be located on Sunland Park Drive, just west of Interstate 10.  It will be the second location in the city.

The proposed location is at 953 Sunland Park Drive, about 800 feet west of Interstate 10. The new Twin Peaks will be flanked by multiple hotels in the immediate area that combine for over 400 rooms.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Westin Hotel/Retail Complex Teased in New Video

Updated Renderings Show a Changed Footprint for High Rise Airport Hotel

A new hotel/retail complex for a property near El Paso International Airport is expected to break ground this year, and now a video is offering a fresh look at what the center may look like once completed.
A look down Acequia Park Court towards the high rise Westin Hotel near the El Paso International Airport. This rendering shows what the hotel/retail complex may look like once completed. (Ronkot Design Vimeo Channel)

The design of the complex in the renderings included in the video shows a contemporary design for the buildings, which create retail blocks on the property with parking in the middle. Bright colors, curving lines, and fountains can be found throughout the expected 80,000 square feet of retail space.

A “main street” divides the property down the middle, called Acequia Park Court. It will have retail buildings lining both sides, with zero setbacks and street parking. Other retail buildings will line Boeing Drive on the northern side of the property, including the highly visible intersection with Airway Boulevard.
A bird’s eve view of the future hotel and retail complex near the El Paso International Airport. (Ronkot Design Vimeo Channel)

Acequia Park Court will lead up to the new high rise Westin Hotel, ending at a proposed drive called High Street. The hotel shape has changed from triangular in initial site plans to a more traditional rectangular footprint. And the height looks to be a bit shorter, with between nine and ten floors included in the new concept imagery.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekly Edition, Issue 62

The Weekly Edition, Issue 62 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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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cardwell Collaborative Location Changed Back to Original Spot

The MCA Foundation has decided to build the 60,000 square foot Cardwell Collaborative building at the originally targeted location along Interstate 10. It is no longer seeking to build it at Jefferson High School.

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