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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #41
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Didn't know there was a thread about El Paso, going to start posting here too.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:54 AM   #42
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Didn't know there was a thread about El Paso, going to start posting here too.
Yay!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #43
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Some pics I took yesterday:

@utep





@Downtown - New Parking Garage













more downtown:





















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Old December 17th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #44
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Nice!!
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Old December 17th, 2010, 01:24 AM   #45
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El Paso Times

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El Paso lags in 3Q metro data
By Vic Kolenc \ El Paso Times
Posted: 12/16/2010 12:00:00 AM MST

El Paso's economic growth slowed further in the third quarter, according to the Brookings Institution's latest MetroMonitor report, released Wednesday. El Paso's economic output increased 0.2 percent in the July-September quarter, Brookings reported. It grew 0.8 percent in the second quarter, and 1.8 percent in the first quarter, according to earlier Brookings reports.

El Paso's economic output ranked 84th among 100 large metro areas in the third quarter. The 100 metro areas combined had average economic growth of 0.8 percent in the quarter. El Paso jobs decreased 1.8 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter, ranking last among the 100 metro areas in the Brookings report. El Paso's housing prices declined 1.5 percent in the quarter, ranking 98th.

Despite the poor quarter, Brookings continued to rank El Paso as one of the 20 strongest metro economies in the country based on data going back to when the recession began in the fourth quarter of 2008. El Paso has ranked in the top 20 since Brookings began tracking metro economies in June 2009.

Tom Fullerton, an economics professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said, "The local economy is moving slowly. Part of that is due to the completion of a number of construction projects at Fort Bliss, and part is due to weaknesses in other areas, such as state government activities declining."

Howard Wial, an economist at Brookings and co-author of the MetroMonitor report, said El Paso employment in the third quarter fell to its lowest level since the recession began in El Paso in late 2008. "It's too soon to say if it indicates anything for the long term," he said. "The recession started pretty late in El Paso, and the decline was pretty modest. For a while, it looked like the region had bottomed out," Wial said. But El Paso's economy performed poorly in the third quarter, he said. Whether El Paso gets knocked out of Brookings top 20 list will hinge on how El Paso and the other metro areas perform in future quarters, he said.

Nationwide, most metro areas were "stuck in neutral, with no clear indication of any forward movement in the near future," Wial said. Most metro areas are "not on the road to long-term sustained recovery, but most are not in danger of falling into a double-dip recession," he said.

Vic Kolenc may be reached at [email protected]; 546-6421.

More information: www.brookings.edu/metro/MetroMonitor.aspx
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 12:40 AM   #46
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Pics from yesterday:









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Old January 4th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #47
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Nice!! (p.s. a good place to post non-development related El Paso pictures is here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1116817 )

LOL at the "Sun Bowl"! I was a few miles north and we had sun on Friday but poor El Paso was just cloudy and snowy for the biggest game in Sun Bowl history! Still, a record 54,000+ fans got to see a pretty good game.
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Old January 6th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #48
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El Paso Times

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2011 outlook: El Paso's economy, job market expected to grow

by Vic Kolenc \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/02/2011


El Paso's economy weathered the recession better than many other metro economies in the country -- ranking as one of the 20 strongest metro economies in the country by the Brookings Institution since June 2009.

But it barely grew in the second half of 2010.

This year, the El Paso economy is expected to perform better than it did last year and to grow at the same pace as, or better than, the national economy, largely because of the continued influx of soldiers at Fort Bliss, according to UTEP's latest economic forecast, "Borderplex Economic Outlook: 2010-2012." It was released last week.

El Paso's economy, as measured by total personal income, is expected to grow to $23.4 billion in 2011. "In 2010, the recession finally caught up to El Paso, and unfortunately by the end of the year, the unemployment rate went back to double digits for the first time in more than a decade," said Tom Fullerton, an economics professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, and co-author of the Borderplex forecast.

The outlook for 2011 is "moderately favorable, and the job market likely will slowly improve throughout the year," Fullerton said.

Military employment will lead the way, the UTEP forecast predicts. However, the unemployment rate is projected to remain high because job growth will not keep pace with growth of the local work force, the forecast predicts. The annual unemployment rate is projected at 9.7 percent in 2011.

El Paso's economic output is projected to grow 3.3 percent this year, better than the annual growth rate estimated at 2.3 percent in 2010, according to the UTEP forecast.

El Paso's economy will equal or exceed national economic growth, depending on the forecast. Fannie Mae, a mortgage finance company, is projecting a growth rate of 3.4 percent for the U.S economy this year; Wells Fargo Securities, 2.6 percent; and IHS Global Insight, a Boston economic research firm, 2.4 percent.

Robert "Bill" Gilmer, an economist and vice president in charge of the El Paso branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said he expects El Paso's economy to grow at a faster rate than the national economy in 2011.
Fort Bliss construction boosted El Paso's economy during the recession, and now the stimulus will shift to the influx of soldiers, which will boost housing, retail and services associated with population growth, Gilmer said.

The Fort Bliss soldier population is expected to grow from about 25,000 now to about 28,000 by the end of 2011, said Jean Offutt, a Fort Bliss spokeswoman. The troop population is expected to grow to 34,000 by the end of 2013, she said.

Maquila boost

Gilmer said renewed growth of the maquila, or manufacturing, industry in Juárez will also boost the El Paso economy this year. The maquila growth is occurring despite the drug-related violence in Juárez, he noted.

Gilmer is uncertain that UTEP's projection for job growth of 1.8 percent in 2011 will materialize. Employers are showing a reluctance to hire because of the uncertainty over federal policies for health care and taxes, he said. Companies "don't know what an employee will cost them," he said.

Housing bright spot

El Paso County's housing industry, a bright spot during the recession, is expected to be strong this year, according to the UTEP forecast.

Starts of single-family housing are projected to increase 7.8 percent to 3,156 homes. That's still below peak years of 2005 and 2006, when single-family housing starts were above 4,000, according to the UTEP report. Apartment starts are projected to increase 30.1 percent this year to 1,030 units -- the most units beginning construction in one year in at least a decade -- the UTEP forecast shows.

Greg Bowling, vice president of Tropicana Homes, a large El Paso homebuilder, and new president of the El Paso Association of Builders, said he agrees with the UTEP forecast of an upswing in single-family home construction. El Paso builders cleared home inventories in 2010, so home construction should increase this year, Bowling said.

Most of the soldiers moving into El Paso won't be buying homes, but they are filling apartments, Bowling said. As apartments become harder to find, pressure is put on people who can afford to buy a home to make a home purchase, he said. That should help the home sales market this year, he said.

One concern is whether mortgage rates, which hovered below 5 percent in 2010, will continue to remain at low levels, Bowling said. "El Paso's housing market is so interest-rate driven," Bowling said. "But I don't see anything drastic occurring" with mortgage rates, he said.

Retail increase

The retail sector is projected to grow 4.6 percent in 2011, slightly better than in 2010, according to the UTEP forecast. Total retail sales are projected to reach almost $10 billion this year.

Furniture stores are projected to have the largest growth in sales. Restaurants are also projected to do well. "Overall stability in the regional economy should translate into improved retail performance in both 2011 and 2012," Fullerton said. Downtown stores may be hurt by only a small projected increase in bridge crossings at the Santa Fe bridge in the Downtown, Fullerton said.

Michael Breitinger, executive director of the Central Business Association, said Downtown retailers have been reporting sales below 2009, which was not a good year either. Downtown stores rely on shoppers from Mexico.

Pedestrian lines going into El Paso remain long and slow at the Santa Fe bridge "despite what the feds report," Breitinger said. "That's a disincentive" for Juárez residents to go Downtown to shop, he said.
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Old January 7th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk View Post
Nice!! (p.s. a good place to post non-development related El Paso pictures is here: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1116817 )

LOL at the "Sun Bowl"! I was a few miles north and we had sun on Friday but poor El Paso was just cloudy and snowy for the biggest game in Sun Bowl history! Still, a record 54,000+ fans got to see a pretty good game.
Lol, I noticed the other thread the next day after posting the pics

El Paso's faded corridors: Officials hope new city plan will revitalize roads


by Gustavo Reveles Acosta \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/02/2011 12:00:00 AM MST

Dyer Street -- The growth of Fort Bliss contributed to the economic boom that brought new shops along this roadway to the sprawling Northeast. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

They are the streets that brought people into El Paso and for decades they reigned as the commercial corridors that fueled the economy.

The roadways -- Mesa Street to the west, Dyer Street to the northeast, Montana Avenue to the east and Alameda Avenue to the valley -- flourished in the first half of the 20th century, only to bust with the advent of interstate travel in El Paso.

"If you lived outside of Downtown El Paso, these streets were not only your way in and out of town," said Nestor Valencia, who worked as a city planner over four decades starting in the 1950s. "Before the freeway was built, these streets were how you got your business done. They were busy corridors full of life."

Municipal government officials said decades of neglect have sucked the economic life out of much of these corridors, and they hope a new city plan now under way will help bring them back.

To do that, though, the city and its taxpayers will have to be willing to invest unprecedented amounts of public money into a vision many see as unreachable.

"I don't know how you turn this row of ugly used-car lots into something so beautiful that people want to live in it," said Mague Vega, who has lived off Alameda for nearly 50 years. "If anyone call pull it off, it will be a miracle."

City Manager Joyce Wilson said no miracles are needed, just time, money and public interest in getting the work done.

The past

Alameda was the main highway into El Paso from the east before I-10 was built.

Until then, the quaint road was lined with trees and picturesque motels that took travelers through the towns of Ysleta and Ascarate before hitting the city.

Valencia, who grew up in Ysleta, said Alameda was a busy street filled with stores, offices and public spaces, farther down in the Lower Valley.

"Up until the 1950s, urbanization didn't even reach Fox Plaza. There was nothing past Thomason," now the University
Alameda Avenue -- This was the main highway into El Paso from the east and Lower Valley before I-10 was built. It is now fronted by used-car dealers and small businesses. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)
Medical Center, he said. "In fact, there was very little between Ysleta and El Paso, other than farming land."

The urbanized part of Alameda, though, was one of the most vibrant commercial centers outside of the Downtown.

"Sure, it was a highway, but one with storefronts on it. People stopped by to shop and then grab a bite to eat and even a nightcap. It was all right there," Valencia said.

Dyer Street, too, was a hot spot of activity to the sprawling Northeast.

The growth of Fort Bliss contributed to the economic boom that brought new shops to Dyer.

"Dyer was perhaps the most diverse economic area in El Paso for a while because it served such a unique clientele," Valencia said. "The military personnel came
Montana Avenue -- Montana avenue near downtown El Paso has been designated a Historic District. The street runs from the Downtown to far East El Paso. ( Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)
from all over, and they brought to Dyer a unique feel that worked well for many, many years."

Valencia said the gateway to Dyer was Montana, a street that for decades was the home of El Paso's elite. In its heyday, Montana was also the center of new retailing in the city, with shops springing up along the Five Points area.

It wasn't until after the 1950s that development of Montana went past the Chelmont subdivision and the corridor became exclusively a commercial center instead of an area that mixed businesses with homes.

But it's the development of Mesa as a commercial corridor that most surprised Valencia.

"When I first started working for the city in the late 1950s, Mesa was a small two-lane street with little
Mesa Street -- Mesa street now has the healthiest economy and is the corridor that serves the West Side. It is surrounded by shopping, workplaces and residences. (Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)
development there," he said.

"Most people saw Doniphan as the key player for the West Side."

In fact, little construction even took place along Mesa past the Kern Place area, he said.

"Doniphan was the road that took you to El Paso from the west, and you can still see semblances of that in the old trading posts that still house businesses today," Valencia said. "Still, it's important to talk about Mesa, because of all the corridors, it is the one that has the healthiest economy and it's the corridor that -- for better or worse -- now serves the West Side."

The present

City Manager Wilson understands that the state of Alameda, Montana, Mesa and Dyer could be "a whole lot better."

"They're not dead or beyond repair, but for the most part they're on life support," she said. "They need a lot of work, and we need a plan to spell out exactly what needs to get done to get there."

Alameda is no longer the tree-lined road that greeted visitors into El Paso. It is now more widely known for its used-car lots and run-down businesses. The commercial outlook along Dyer is ever grimmer, and a long stretch of the corridor seems to be boarded up and out of business.

Attempts to revive once-vibrant shopping centers like Northgate Mall have been futile, and most of the retail activity is now concentrated along Trans Mountain Road.

Montana, the longest of these four corridors, has lost most of its residential aspect and now houses myriad offices in its older stretches.

The parts that were developed after the 1960s have a busy commercial scene, though some parts are beginning to show their age. And on the East Side, Montana serves more as a highway than a commercial corridor with only a few shopping centers popping up along the long stretch between Global Reach Drive and Loop 375.

Mesa is the anomaly

Except for the part of the street south of the Downtown, Mesa's economic outlook is positive.

The areas around the University of Texas at El Paso, Sunland Park Drive and Remcon Circle have thriving businesses, and efforts to create new mixed-used development -- where shopping, work and residential life mix -- are well under way.

"There's no doubt that this is the one corridor that is alive and well," Wilson said. "This doesn't mean that we shouldn't place some focus on it. We need to make sure that we help it develop in a meaningful and smart way, or risk it go the way other commercial corridors have gone."

The future

The City Council is betting on mass transit to be the vehicle for redevelopment along Alameda, Montana, Dyer and Mesa, and the council is investing millions of dollars to make that happen.

So far, the city has already committed to either fund or seek funding to create rail-like bus rapid transit along Alameda and Mesa. The Alameda corridor has a price tag of about $30 million and could be ready for passengers as soon as next year.

The Mesa corridor will cost about $21 million and will come online soon after Alameda's opens. Plans for Dyer and Montana are under way, but no funding has been committed.

Still city officials said bus rapid transit, also known as BRT, throughout the city is a certainty.

"BRT is the catalyst for change along these streets. We can't go back on our word to create these corridors," said city Rep. Emma Acosta. "It's truly my belief that BRT is going to lead to so many more improvements. We're going to look back in the future and see that this was the point from which we moved El Paso in the right direction."

Acosta and the city's urban planners are relying on years of studies by several groups that show vibrant mass transit systems that attract both blue-collar and white-collar workers are avenues for economic development. In Dallas, for example, there has been $3.3 billion in new property development and redevelopment around new Dallas Area Rapid Transit lines in the pasta 10 years.

Portland, Ore., too, has seen nearly $1 billion in redevelopment along its one revamped mass-transit line.

"We expect BRT to be the start of a mass-transit system that could one day include light rail, streetcars and other commodities that would make us the least car-dependent city in the southwest," Wilson said. "BRT will bring people to the core of the city, and the businesses and shops will follow."
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Old January 9th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #50
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El Paso Times

Quote:
Union Pacific to expand: $400 million railroad hub proposed for Santa Teresa

by Ramon Bracamontes \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/08/2011

SANTA TERESA -- Union Pacific is poised to expand its operations in the El Paso region by building a new $400 million railroad hub in Santa Teresa that is expected to provide Southern New Mexico with a $500 million economic boost, officials said Friday.

Construction of the hub will begin this year if the New Mexico Legislature approves a locomotive fuel tax exemption for Union Pacific.

The company's plans were announced Friday by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez during a press conference with Union Pacific officials in Santa Teresa. Neither the governor nor Union Pacific said how much that tax exemption was worth. They said only that Union Pacific pays a lot in fuel tax in New Mexico.

Martinez said she is already working with the Legislature to approve the tax break. "I am here to honor a commitment the state of New Mexico made three years ago," Martinez said. She said she is hopeful the Legislature will approve the tax exemption, which will allow "Union Pacific to start building and New Mexicans to start working."

The railroad and New Mexico officials originally announced plans for the project in 2006. It was halted after Union Pacific encountered problems acquiring the land, and the effort slowed when the national economy stalled.

Now that Union Pacific is prepared to spend $3.2 billion to improve its operations nationwide, the company is ready to invest in Santa Teresa, said Aaron Hunt, spokesman for Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific.

Construction of the facility is expected to create 3,000 jobs from 2011 to 2015. About 300 permanent jobs will remain after the hub is built.
The company's plans include moving some of its fueling and maintenance operations from El Paso to Santa Teresa.

However, Union Pacific will keep its El Paso rail yards and its cross-border rail service between El Paso and Juárez, Hunt said. "We are not leaving El Paso," Hunt said. "To be able to expand, we need to do it here. Everything you see in El Paso will remain. And everyone who has a job in El Paso right now will have one in 2015."

The only major change is that some of those employees may have to work in Santa Teresa, instead of Downtown El Paso.

Sunland Park Mayor Martin Resendiz said the new hub will go a long way toward improving the economy in his city and in Santa Teresa. "We've been waiting for years for this project to begin," Resendiz said. "It will help the entire region."

Union Pacific's new hub is about one mile northwest of the Santa Teresa Port of Entry and adjacent to the Verde Realty industrial park that abuts the port of entry. The 23-acre hub includes a new fueling facility, crew-change buildings and a switch yard.

Verde Realty official Justin Ruby did not want to comment on what the hub means for the commercial parks, its tenants and future development. "We are very excited to have Union Pacific here and next to us," Ruby said.

For years, Verde Realty has been working with New Mexico's elected officials to expand and develop the area around the Santa Teresa Port of Entry. In 2005, U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman secured $14 million to aid in the construction of roads leading to the Union Pacific facility, which has been on hold for the past few years. That money remains available for the project.

Bingaman also worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to expedite a land exchange with the New Mexico State Land Office in order to provide the land needed for the facilities. "This inland port will give New Mexico a stake in one of the most important rail corridors in the country," Bingaman said. "In the long term it will enhance New Mexico's standing as a great place for commerce."
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Old January 9th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #51
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This could be the final push needed to redevelop the railyards in El Paso into a massive commercial and possibly residential district downtown. It could easily double the size of Downtown El Paso if fully redeveloped.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #52
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From: http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_17080573

Quote:
'Smart' design would contain sprawl in El Paso
by Chris Roberts \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/13/2011 12:00:00 AM MST

New neighborhoods with the look and feel of Kern Place or Sunset Heights could be built in El Paso with the use of a new "sustainable" development style, a city official said Wednesday.

Conventional building codes isolate land uses such as residential and business, and would not allow the mix seen in those neighborhoods, said Mathew McElroy, deputy director of the city's Planning and Economic Development Division. Those conventional codes have resulted in sprawling subdivisions full of dead-end cul-de-sacs where people must drive to strip malls to find businesses and other services, he said.

The new style, called "SmartCode," has never been used in El Paso, even though the city approved it in 2008. McElroy on Wednesday made a presentation to the Public Service Board, which manages thousands of acres surrounding El Paso. "Conventional sprawl-type development," said McElroy, "is very expensive and it's dangerous."

SmartCode is being considered for the 1,500-acre Painted Dunes development, and on Tuesday the El Paso City Council decided to begin applying it to about 1,800 acres slated for development in the Northwest Master Plan. The new style could provide a way to preserve expansive views of the Franklin Mountains around Trans Mountain Road, which some area residents have vocally supported. The current master plan preserves arroyos, but it otherwise uses conventional building codes and would create a concentrated stretch of commercial development on the road's lower reach that open-space advocates say will obstruct the view and cause other problems.

During the Tuesday discussion, City Council members criticized sprawl on the East Side and suggested that SmartCode could be broadly applied to the 26,000 acres of city-owned land surrounding El Paso if it is to be developed. "We can't tell the private property owners that are downwind, 'Don't develop, or develop it this way,' " said city Rep. Susie Byrd. "I think we are leading by example."

SmartCode could be used to create neighborhoods that encourage walking with short blocks and centrally located parks, all connected with a grid of roads that disperse traffic, McElroy said. A combination of residential, office and retail spaces in the neighborhoods would cut down on the need for driving, he said. Public spaces would be designed to create the feeling of an outdoor living room, for example, with access to an appropriate mix of businesses.

In general, the new style increases density in populated areas while dedicating more land to parks and open space. Benefits would include less potentially dangerous traffic congestion and more opportunities for exercise, said McElroy. Development also can be adjusted to take advantage of solar energy and terrain features that control runoff, which often results in cost savings, he said. Although there have been poorly designed communities that failed, McElroy said, there is a growing acceptance of SmartCode benefits.

However, developers, operating in a poor economic climate, have been reluctant to adopt the new style, said El Paso Mayor John Cook. He said the city should support a project in which it assumes some, or all, of the financial risk to jump-start the process. Public Service Board members who spoke on the issue said they needed to know more before making any decisions. They expressed concerns about whether there would be demand for such properties and whether the board would get top value for land sold with such restrictions. "You've left me with a lot of questions," said board member Maria Teran.

Chris Roberts may be reached at [email protected]; 546-6136.
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:16 AM   #53
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From: http://www.elpasotimes.com/business/ci_17045640

Quote:
Apartment boom in El Paso continues
by Vic Kolenc \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/09/2011 02:33:26 PM MST



El Paso's apartment building boom continues strong as developers try to meet a growing demand for apartments fueled by the growing influx of soldiers to Fort Bliss. About 1,600 apartment units are expected to be completed this year, and developers have plans in the works for construction this year and early next year on an additional 1,900 units, according to information from developers. More than 900 new apartments opened in 2010.

"El Paso will see construction continue for a while," predicted Kelly Witherspoon, transaction manager in Austin for ARA Apartment Realty Advisors, an Atlanta company that tracks apartment markets nationwide. "Demand is outweighing supply" because of Fort Bliss growth and Mexican nationals moving to El Paso to escape the drug-related violence in Juárez, he said. "El Paso's multifamily market fundamentals (rent growth, occupancies, absorption) are the strongest in the state, and arguably one of the strongest in the nation," Witherspoon said.

El Paso had a 97 percent apartment occupancy rate in the third quarter of 2010, according to ARA's latest El Paso market report. Apartment rents rose 7.7 percent from third quarter 2009 to third quarter 2010, ARA's report shows. Apartment rents averaged $690 in the third quarter, ARA reported. "I think we're going to be in a really tight apartment market for at least the next few years," said Kathy Dodson, director of the city Department of Planning and Economic Development.

City officials determined that El Paso needs to add 8,000 multifamily units from 2009 to 2012 to meet growth at Fort Bliss. That's why the city in 2009 began a program to give property tax rebates to new apartment projects to spur more construction. So far, 15 companies with projects containing 2,905 apartment units have applied for rebates, Dodson reported.

Before the rebate program began, El Paso had only a few hundred apartments under construction, "so this has really worked," Dodson said. The program is scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2013, or when rebates are given for 4,000 units, whichever comes first.

Management Resources Development, or MRD, of East Lansing, Mich., decided to build the 612-unit Van Horne Estates apartment complex in Northeast El Paso -- the second-largest apartment complex in El Paso -- because of Fort Bliss growth and because of the city tax rebates, said John Robison, the company's executive operations manager. "We wouldn't have built without the incentive on taxes. It wouldn't have been feasible to do it," Robison said.

MRD is one of only two out-of-town companies now building apartment projects in El Paso. The other is Acclaim Homes of San Francisco. It began construction last September of a 212-addition to Castilleja, an upscale apartment complex it opened in 2009 with 260 units at 1531 George Dieter on the East Side. Acclaim is looking for a site to build another apartment complex, said Mark Johnson, Acclaim president.

MRD has 162 apartment complexes with 9,850 units in the United States, Robison reported. It has focused on building apartment complexes near military bases in the past two years, he said. It has nine apartment complexes near military bases, including the one its now building at 11611 Dyer, near Trans Mountain Drive.

The first 36 units of Van Horne Estates are expected to open by the end of February, and almost all those units have already been leased, said Chris Escobedo, Van Horne manager. About 400 units are expected to open this year, and the remaining 216 units to be completed in 2012, he said.

The complex consists almost entirely of two-bedroom apartments aimed directly at military families, Escobedo said. Rents will range from $795 to $870 a month. The complex will have two public parks that will be turned over to the city when completed.

The city tax incentives also are important to Bohannon Development of El Paso, the most active apartment developer in the market. "The city property tax rebates are necessary to make the projects economically viable," said Tom Bohannon, company president.

Bohannon Development completed the 431-unit The Bungalows at Hueco Estates on the far East Side late last year. It now has the 250-unit Puerto Villa at Cimarron under construction at Resler and Helen of Troy on the West Side. The first units are expected to open in April, and the complex is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Bohannon said.

It has three other proposed projects with about 1,100 units in its pipeline, Bohannon said. It expects to begin construction in four to five months on a 275-unit apartment complex on Edgemere, east of Hueco Estates. It also has plans for a 500-unit addition to Hueco Estates, with a 300-unit first phase possibly beginning construction in the third quarter, Bohannon said. It also is looking at the possibility of building a 350-unit apartment complex near Resler and Interstate 10, in the Desert Trails subdivision, he said. "We have a lot of plans in the works. If the market softens, we would change our plans," Bohannon said. "We're constantly monitoring the market. We don't think it will be good forever."

John Cullers, an El Paso homebuilder and partner in Monterrey Asset Management, an El Paso partnership building a 208-unit, upscale apartment complex at 1500 Bob Hope on the far East Side, said he hopes the market doesn't get overbuilt. More apartments are needed not only to meet Fort Bliss growth but also to meet growth created by the Texas Tech medical school and the influx of Juárez residents, he said.

The upscale Las Mansiones isn't aimed at military renters, Cullers said. But Monterrey's 160-unit Mountain Vista Apartments, completed in 2009 in Northeast El Paso, has a big percentage of military tenants, he said. Monterrey is also looking at building another apartment complex next year, he said.

Another El Paso company, EPT Land Communities, has the 246-unit The Reserve at Sandstone Ranch complex going up at Sean Haggerty and U.S. Highway 54 in Northeast El Paso, and is waiting for loan approval for a proposed 290-unit project in the Monticello subdivision it is developing along Mesa on the West Side, said David Bogas, director of development for EPT.

Bobby Bowling IV, president of Tropicana Building Corp., an El Paso company which builds apartment complexes for low- to moderate-income families, said rising rents in the market are making it more difficult for some El Pasoans to find affordable places to rent. Tropicana and Investment Builders, another El Paso company, use federal tax credits to finance apartment projects where tenants must meet certain federal income limits to get in.

Investment Builders has the 94-unit Desert Villas under construction in the Lower Valley, and hopes to build four projects with 358 units late this year or early next year, reported Corinne Vonberg, senior vice president of operations. Two projects with about 100 units are regular market-rate apartments, and are not being financed with tax credits, she said.

Tropicana completed three tax-credit financed apartment projects last year with 332 units, Bowling said. It plans to start construction this summer on the 172-unit Canutillo Palms apartment complex near Canutillo High School, he said. "We'd probably be doing more projects if the market was better for tax credits," Bowling said. The tax credits are sold to investors to finance projects. But the market to sell tax credits has not been good, he said
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Old January 13th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #54
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From: http://www.elpasotimes.com/business/ci_17080151

Quote:
Downtown property destined for face-lift
by Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/13/2011 12:00:00 AM MST



Mayor John Cook said the city is close to buying the old El Paso Saddleblanket Co. building at North Oregon and East Missouri as part of its efforts to revitalize Downtown. Cook mentioned the pending transaction during the El Paso Central Business Association luncheon Wednesday at the DoubleTree Hotel. He was the keynote speaker at the event.

Last year, city officials said they were interested in buying the building from River Oaks Properties for $1.26 million to help reduce the blight in the central area. The city's offer was accepted, but the sale won't be final until the city completes an environmental review of the property, officials said. Next, the city will seek proposals to redevelop the property.

At the luncheon, the mayor also responded to concerns from Downtown merchants that included zealous enforcement of city codes, long waits at bridges and the threat to eliminate or increase red tape for manifestos (sales tax break for shoppers from Mexico).

After the luncheon, Mike Breitinger, executive director of the Central Business Association, said he's received many complaints from Downtown merchants and asked the mayor to respond to them.

"One of the things that's come up is the heavy-handed way in which traffic police and city codes enforcement have given out citations to customers and business owners," Breitinger said. "For example, someone was given an $80 ticket for jaywalking, and businesses who place their wares on sidewalks outside their business are getting cited for extending a little too far out on the sidewalk than they're supposed to."

Breitinger said such enforcement scares customers away from Downtown and hurts businesses. "We're asking the city to work with the merchants instead of citing them right way. É Retail stores at the malls don't have to put up with this," he said. "I can see giving someone who is a regular violator a traffic ticket, but not someone who walks in the Downtown area for the first time."

Cook said the city is working with the state and federal governments to reduce the waits at the bridges, which Downtown businesses complain reached up to three hours recently and also discourage people from shopping in Central El Paso.

Breitinger said he was glad to hear Cook say that the city wants to encourage signature events south of Paisano Drive -- such as a mariachi or food festival -- that will serve to attract shoppers to that part of Central El Paso.

During the luncheon, Cook listed many public and private sector improvements in Downtown that occurred in recent years, including the Plaza Theatre renovation, the DoubleTree Hotel and civic center improvements. The mayor also said he supports keeping manifestos because they benefit El Paso's economy. ...
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Old January 18th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #55
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Excellent....
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Old January 19th, 2011, 01:19 AM   #56
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Has this started up yet?

Medical Office Building I

CityView Medical Plaza
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Old January 21st, 2011, 03:20 AM   #57
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How about this?

Paisano Green Community


residential architect
Workshop8


Or this?



OFIS Arhitekti

About project
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Old January 21st, 2011, 03:44 AM   #58
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CityView hasn't happened because of the economy. The Paisano Green Community broke ground a few weeks ago:

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Old January 23rd, 2011, 09:59 PM   #59
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Nice.

Those container apartments are called 2 Nest Village Apartments, by the way, and seem like relatively new proposals.

Renova Plaza

ETZOLDCO
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Old January 24th, 2011, 02:13 AM   #60
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Yeah, TONS of new apartments will be going into El Paso over the next decade.
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