Monday, August 15, 2016

New Details Emerge for Montecillo Town Center

By Armando Landin   

A greater number of apartments and less street retail space are some of the details discovered in recent renderings and leasing listings for the Montecillo Town Center, the smart growth development currently under construction in West El Paso.

Retail and mixed-use buildings surround a plaza at the future Montecillo Town Center, currently under construction on El Paso's West Side. (EPT Communities)

As vertical construction nears, we're getting a clearer picture of the final layout for the buildings that will make up the Town Center and the form those buildings will take.

Located on the eastern side of North Mesa Street, the center will be comprised of retail, office, and apartment units in mixed-use buildings, with parking relegated to hidden lots and garages.

An updated site plan for the Montecillo Town Center in West El Paso shows multiple buildings surrounding a small plaza. (Shook Kelley)

The Town Center's design has gone through several iterations, with a general site plan coming into view in June 2013. The plan showed multiple buildings surrounding a central plaza, and the current plan keeps that general layout, according to more recent renderings and schematics.

(Previously: Montecillo Introduces its 'Entertainment District')

Architectural design may vary, but the latest available renderings tend toward an eclectic contemporary design. This is most clearly seen in the rendering of an office building that will abut Mesa Street.

This retail building at the Montecillo Town Center will have over 25,000 square feet for retail uses. The center is under construction in West El Paso. (EPT Communities)

About 33,000 square feet of space are currently available for retail lease. According to a commercial leasing website, the majority of this space could be available by September 2017 in a building that is closest to Mesa Street. That building will offer over 25,000 square feet of retail across two floors.

(Previously: Montecillo Unveils Town Center Site Plan)

The majority of retail spaces will surround the plaza area, on ground floor spaces. It is unclear if the developer is scaling back from the initially planned 80,200 square feet of street retail space or if larger spaces have already been leased.

An earlier concept design for the Montecillo Town Center in El Paso shows the same general layout adopted by the developer, with buildings surrounding a small plaza. (Shook Kelley)

A large, 60,000 square foot pad site remains in the southwestern area of the Town Center, where the developer had previously planned for an unnamed 37,000 square foot grocery store. This will now most likely be made up of two 30,000 square foot retailers.

On its website, Montecillo indicates a total 104,000 square feet of retail will be built, which includes the grocery store site.

Other changes indicated on the website are 185 apartment units (up from 99) and 20,000 square feet of office space (down from 56,200).

(Previously: 'Urban' Hotel Planned at Montecillo Development)

The most recent renderings show a couple of four and five story buildings, most likely dedicated to residential units on the upper floors with ground floor retail. Montecillo also recently teased a hotel for the development, and the Town Center could be its future home.

A planned office building at El Paso's Montecillo Town Center has a decidedly contemporary design. This building will have about 5,500 square feet of street-level retail. (EPT Communities)

The construction timeline has been relatively slow for the Montecillo Town Center, with site work ongoing for years. Its first tenant, the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, opened in May 2016, over three years after it was first announced in March 2013.

(Previously: Details on Alamo Drafthouse Groundbreaking)

Alamo Drafthouse sits on a parcel that overlooks the main Town Center area in the small valley below it. The movie house is considered an anchor tenant for the development, with no other tenants announced for the center.

The Town Center's slow development could be due to its unique location in a sloping valley, though other Montecillo projects, such as the Santi Dwellings and the View at Montecillo, saw similarly slow construction.

Montecillo is a 292-acre smart growth development that will eventually add a total of 6,000 apartment units, 2,000 homes, and 400,000 square feet of retail space. The Town Center is located at the corner of North Mesa Street and Montecillo Boulevard, and the developer is EPT Communities of El Paso.