Design & Development

El Paso votes to end arena project

El Paso City Council has voted to end a long-proposed project to develop a new arena in the downtown area of the Texas city.

After a lengthy Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday), a proposal to abandon the arena project and instead channel the intended funds towards upgrading and renovating existing city facilities was backed by four Council members to secure a narrow victory against the three in opposition, with one member abstaining.

According to the El Paso Times, the remaining funds will be reallocated to upgrade the Abraham Chavez Theatre and the El Paso Convention Center. The Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Center was one of three signature projects that originally gained funding through the 2012 Quality of Life bond initiative.

However, yesterday’s vote, after what had been years of opposition and litigation, effectively removed ‘Duranguito’, a neighbourhood that was damaged by construction crews in 2017, from the footprint of the proposed project.

The vote came on the same day as architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm Gensler presented findings from a feasibility study on the project. Local broadcaster KTEP said Gensler investigated methods of incorporating damaged buildings in the proposed footprint of the project within a newly constructed facility.

The City had been planning a 15,000-seat arena for sports and entertainment events, which Gensler projected would cost $482.9m (£401.7m/€456.1m). A hybrid option was also presented at a cost of $113m that could seat 4,000 people indoors and 4,000 outdoors.