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Old January 24th, 2011, 02:35 AM   #61
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Food Chains: El Paso Registers In The Top 3 Growth Locations

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" David Jaffa said he's struck gold with the Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchises he recently opened in El Paso and Albuquerque. Arturo Daly expects to do well with the Potbelly Sandwich Shop franchise he plans to open here by March.

They are among the newest entrants in what is becoming an influx of national restaurant chains opening or planning to open in El Paso in coming months. Many of those fit the fast-food mode.

Pitney Bowes Business Insight, a Troy, N.Y., company that helps companies select locations, has picked El Paso as one of the top three growth locations in 2011 for fast-food restaurants in medium markets in the United States with populations of up to 1 million. The top two medium markets are McAllen and Brownsville.

The best markets are those that showed improvement in job growth, had strong retail and home sales, and had a low presence of restaurant competitors, Pitney Bowes reported.

Randy Murphy, president and CEO of Mama Fu's Asian House, a small Austin-based chain of Asian restaurants with plans to put franchised restaurants in El Paso, said he agrees with the Pitney Bowes assessment. "The economy is strong, the population is growing, and capital funds are flowing into those markets, and into Texas in general," Murphy said.

Mama Fu's expects to have an El Paso franchise partner in the first quarter, Murphy said. It wants to open two to three El Paso restaurants, and one or two in Las Cruces.

The Five Guys Burgers restaurant on Sunland Park, which opened in November, the Las Palmas Marketplace restaurant, which opened two weeks ago, and an Albuquerque restaurant, which opened in March, are in the 750-restaurant chain's top 10 for sales, reported Molly Catalano, a spokeswoman at its corporate office in Lorton, Va., a Washington, D.C., suburb.

Jaffa, a Rhode Island resident who holds the Five Guys Burgers franchise rights for El Paso and New Mexico, said, "I never imagined those stores would do as well as they have been doing. Our stores are running (sales) about two and a half times more than the average (Five Guys) store."

Mary Castillo, who last Wednesday night was eating at the Five Guys in Las Palmas Marketplace on the East Side, said she and her family wanted to come sooner, but on other days, long lines of people were waiting to order. Castillo said she had eaten at a Five Guys in Florida, and especially liked its french fries. "This is what we need. We need more national chains in El Paso," Castillo said. "El Pasoans are looking for new things."

Jaffa, 56, previously owned and operated a window and door manufacturing company in Rhode Island with his brother, Alan, 58, who also is a partner in the Five Guys franchises. They fell in love with the Southwest, and decided this area would be a good place to put Five Guys. Jaffa said he and his wife plan to move to Albuquerque or El Paso in the future.

Jaffa knew nothing about Five Guys when he began looking for a new business to operate. He went to a Five Guys in Connecticut and "just fell in love with it" as soon as he went through the door, he said. He and his brother signed their franchise agreement in the summer of 2009. Since then, the chain, where President Barrack Obama was videographed buying a burger in 2009, has sold all its franchises for the United States and Canada, Catalano reported.

The chain features homemade-like burgers made with never-frozen beef and fries, all fried in peanut oil. It's part of the "better burger" restaurant segment. Smashburger, which opened a Fort Bliss outlet late last year, also is in that category.

Jaffa plans to open one or two more Five Guys outlets in El Paso this year, and eventually have at least eight El Paso locations. He plans to open 15 in New Mexico, including one or two in Las Cruces. No Las Cruces locations have yet been identified.

Daly, 41, who operates home- construction companies in El Paso and Chihuahua City, said he's been trying to get a Potbelly Sandwich Shop franchise for several years. But the Chicago chain, with 217 company-owned locations in 13 states, only began selling franchises last year. Daly and his wife, Dany Enriquez, who operated the Coco Loco seafood restaurant in Chihuahua City, were given the first Potbelly franchise in the nation last summer. A second one was awarded to a franchise holder in Toledo, Ohio.
Daly said he fell in love with Potbelly sandwiches and the restaurant's fun atmosphere years ago when he was a student at DePaul University in Chicago and ate at a Potbelly frequently.

He expects to open the El Paso restaurant by March at 1373 George Dieter, next to a Chico's Tacos, and across the street from a Corner Bakery Cafe franchise, one of its direct competitors."I believe in the product and concept," Daly said. "I think there's enough traffic and people" in that area to support another restaurant, he said. "I think we're competitive with pricing and our product. I think it's a good location." If that location succeeds, Daly hopes he can open four other Potbelly locations in El Paso. For now, Potbelly corporate officials have plans for only the one El Paso location.

Jim Gore, president of the companies that own and operate the Applebee's, Village Inn, and Corner Bakery Cafe franchises in El Paso and Las Cruces, said, "I think El Paso has always been a good market for restaurants, but maybe now (chains) are responding to Fort Bliss growth," and a loosening of loan financing compared to two years ago. "People have a more positive attitude about the (national) economy, and that's bringing expansion," Gore said.

Gore, 52, whose been in the El Paso restaurant market for about 30 years, and his partners plan to open their second Corner Bakery in mid-February in Sunland Towne Centre at 655 Sunland Park on the West Side. That's where Five Guys opened late last year, and where a third El Paso Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant will be located. A third Corner Bakery is being planned for an August or September opening in a yet undisclosed East Side location, Gore said.

The first Corner Bakery at 1350 George Dieter, across the street from Las Palmas Marketplace, opened in April 2009. "We've done well on the East Side, and we expect to do well on the West Side," Gore said. "This market can support new entries É It gives people choices. It's good for the economy," and competition keeps restaurant operators sharp, he said.

Foodservice Management Systems, an Austin company with 14 Gatti's Pizza franchises in three states, plans to return to El Paso in February with a Gattitown outlet at 1430 N. Lee Treviño. That's the former location of an America's Incredible Pizza Co., which became a Lido Fun Center.

The company operated a Gatti's in Bassett Center years ago, but closed it after sales fell due to construction of the Costco store, which made it difficult for people to get into the restaurant, said Nick Moore, Foodservice Management president. Another Gatti's on the far East Side, which also closed, was operated by another franchise-holder. "We've always thought El Paso was a good market," and Fort Bliss growth only makes it better, Moore said. The new location will include a pizza, pasta and salad buffet, a video arcade, and it will retain the indoor go-kart track and mini golf course that Incredible Pizza and Lido had.

Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss, a $100 million shopping center that opened last year, also has brought several new restaurant chains: Smashburger, Sarku Japan, Manchu Wok, and Char ley's Grilled Subs. A Buffalo Wild Wings opened in October."Things are going very well at Fort Bliss for our two restaurants," said Amy O'Neil, chief operating officer for Dallas area-based PhaseNext Hospitality. It has the Smashburger and Buffalo Wild Wings franchises at Fort Bliss. The majority of customers are soldiers and their families, but the center is also open to anyone, so other El Pasoans also go to the restaurants, O'Neil reported.

These are the first two restaurants for PhaseNext, which plans to put franchised restaurants on military installations and at airports. The Smashburger franchise for the rest of El Paso is owned by a San Antonio company, which also owns the franchise for the other Buffalo Wild Wings in El Paso and Las Cruces. The franchise-holder has no immediate plans for Smashburger outlets in El Paso, spokeswoman Alexis Walsko said. The Denver-based chain has 93 locations, and plans to have more than 200 locations by 2012.
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Old January 30th, 2011, 04:45 AM   #62
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EP Times

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UTEP moves to develop former Rudolph property
by Ramon Bracamontes \ El Paso Times
Posted: 01/29/2011

UTEP is finalizing a development plan that will transform its parking lot on North Mesa Street into a retail center with stores and shops on the first floor and possibly housing on the second, third and fourth floors.

After years of contemplating what to do with the former Rudolph Chevrolet lot on North Mesa next to the Village Inn, the university has contracted with two local developers.

The caveat is that the land must be turned into a mixed-use development that improves student life and the neighborhood. "This will be the first mix-use development in the city with retail on the bottom level and housing on top," said Richard Adauto, UTEP's executive vice president. "It will fit nicely with the $32 million student swimming and fitness center being built across the street."

In 2002, the University of Texas at El Paso bought the parcel at 3003 N. Mesa from Rudolph Chevrolet for $4.1 million. Since then the land has been used as a parking lot. The plan all along has been to put some type of retail and housing center there, school officials said. In September, the university sought bids on the development of the land. Two local development groups, Wright Development Services and Thunderbird Partners, won the bid.

One of the developers, Doug Wright, said the university is giving them an opportunity to do something different. He said the 6-acre lot is the right size for what is planned. "It's just too preliminary right now to get into specifics about tenants and other users," he said. "It will be a high-end development."

Cynthia Viscaino Villa, UTEP vice president for business affairs, said more details about the project will be available within six to 12 months after the contract with the developers is finalized. After that, once construction starts, it will be an additional 18 to 24 months before the site is completed. "The center will have a mix of retail stores, restaurants, boutiques and small shops, as well as some sort of housing, maybe even dorms," she said. "We always have a need for housing."

City Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who represents the area, was glad to hear that plans for that lot are under way. If done right, he said, that mixed-use development will transform the look and feel of the area. "I hope that it is truly a walkable development," O'Rourke said. "I like the mix use of apartments and retail. I hope the storefronts will face the sidewalks; that will make it walkable." [...]
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Old February 12th, 2011, 09:17 PM   #63
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Lots of projects on this website.

http://www.wix.com/lievarch/home

The Onix
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Old February 14th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #64
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With all these projects around El Paso, one could wonder if El Paso will be the next Phoenix?
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Old February 14th, 2011, 01:14 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by jonathaninATX View Post
With all these projects around El Paso, one could wonder if El Paso will be the next Phoenix?
They said that in the 1960s! Which is why Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station in Arizona got built, among other things. But El Paso ebbs and flows and after a nearly 30 year period of economic downdrafts and changes in its industrial mix, El Paso is ready to start moving upward again. We just need the situation in Mexico to settle down so trade and greater integration can accelerate.
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Old February 14th, 2011, 01:18 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by hannah_banana View Post
Lots of projects on this website.

http://www.wix.com/lievarch/home
Yes indeed! Another architectural firm that's big in EP is ASA and they have had a nice slate of buildings in the El Paso/Las Cruces area.

http://asa-architects.com/
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 11:05 AM   #67
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El Paso Times

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Trans Mountain freeway plan outlined
By Chris Roberts \ EL PASO TIMES
Posted: 03/02/2011

Converting the western end of Trans Mountain Road into a freeway with swooping ramps linking it directly to Interstate 10 is the only way to accommodate traffic flow and ensure public safety, according to a state report presented Tuesday to the El Paso City Council.

Construction of the road section between Franklin Mountains State Park and I-10 could begin as early as fall, said Chuck Berry, the Texas Department of Transportation's El Paso District engineer. He presented an environmental assessment of the project.

The future of the road, set in an open high desert landscape with dramatic views of the Franklin Mountains, has become a focal point for debate about future development in El Paso. The highway, which cleaves the mountain, has become an alternative loop around the city and is expected to relieve congestion on other major traffic arteries through El Paso.

Although some support the freeway design, other council members wanted the Texas Transportation Department to more seriously consider a boulevard-style road that does not require view-blocking overpasses. And some have supported the freeway concept reluctantly, noting that delays could mean losing $85 million in state money allocated for the project.

"I think what's been lost in all this is the immediate need for this road," said city Rep. Ann Morgan Lilly, who talked about recent fatalities there. "Maybe this isn't perfect, but, given where we started in 2005, we've come a long way."

The freeway, with four lanes, would be flanked by a two-lane access road on each. Biking and hiking paths would run next to the access roads all the way to the state park, Berry said. Four exits would be built on the 3.6-mile section of road, he said, which could be expanded to six lanes in the future.

The freeway design is necessary, Berry said, because traffic is expected to grow from the current 17,000 trips a day to more than 70,000 by 2035. That massive flow could not be supported on a boulevard, he said. And a boulevard would have far more "conflict points" where traffic and pedestrians cross, creating safety problems. "It does not meet the mobility and congestion needs," Berry said.

But city Rep. Beto O'Rourke noted that traffic studies for another area in El Paso have produced widely differing numbers and questioned the ones used for the department's study. O'Rourke and city Rep. Susie Byrd said there are examples of boulevards that support large traffic volumes. And bike trails built on the freeway design would be interrupted by driveways, creating safety hazards, O'Rourke said. "It does seem as though this alternative (boulevard design) was given relatively short shrift," O'Rourke said.

Berry said the department followed the proper procedures. "We don't believe you need a freeway to solve every conflict point," Berry said. "But when you're going over a mountain, it's difficult to change" geographical limitations.

The city's engineering and transportation departments both supported the state's proposal. But Mathew McElroy, deputy director of the city's Planning and Economic Development Division, said the state's assessment is flawed.

City staff has recommended using SmartCode for an 1,800-acre development on city-owned land surrounding that stretch of Trans Mountain. The new code would encourage a mix of business and residential use providing neighborhoods where people can walk on wide, tree-lined sidewalks to conduct most of their daily affairs.

It would reduce driving within the developed area by 17 percent to 40 percent, he said, which is not considered in the assessment. Freeways invite more traffic, congestion and pollution, he said, and support East Side-style sprawl.

Earlier Tuesday, a group of people who want city land on the road's higher elevations designated as open space turned in petitions that would require the council to reconsider development plans in the area. The petitions ask that nearly 800 acres straddling the road be designated as "natural open space" to protect mountain vistas, and that one of the proposed roads in the development be eliminated.

The council had rejected the open-space designation.

If enough petition signatures are valid, the city will have 30 days to put the issue on a City Council agenda. If the council does not approve the measures, new petitions will be circulated that would put the issue to a public vote, said Jim Tolbert, who has guided the signature-collecting process.

During public comment, Bill Addington, representing the El Paso Regional Sierra Club, said the group has hired a lawyer to determine whether the state Transportation Department's assessment meets federal environmental requirements.

El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson said the city had limited input when the plan was formed. "On the city side, I think we were caught asleep at the wheel," Byrd said. "If we had more time to influence the design on this, I think you'd have a different outcome."
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:34 PM   #68
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Group sues over census: Mexican-American caucus says count missed Hispanics

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By Ross Ramsey / The Texas Tribune
Posted: 04/06/2011 01:16:09 AM MDT

A group of Hispanic lawmakers has filed a preemptive lawsuit against the state over redistricting.

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus filed the suit Tuesday to prevent the use of 2010 Census numbers that the group says are flawed.

The suit alleges a substantial undercount of the state's Latino population, particularly those who live in colonias along the Texas-Mexico border.

The lawsuit applies to redistricting maps that are being crafted by the Texas Legislature for seats in Congress and the Texas House and Senate, and on the State Board of Education.

"The 2010 Census process and procedures resulted in substantial omissions in Latino population, particularly in the border region of Texas, including Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb and El Paso Counties, as well as urban areas in Dallas and Houston," the group said in its lawsuit.

The MALC sued in Hidalgo County, and the group is represented by Jose Garza, a San Antonio attorney hired earlier this year to legally protest the federal government's counts in South Texas.

Garza is representing Hidalgo County in a legal fight protesting last year's census; officials there believe the population was undercounted. By their estimates, more than 200,000 people weren't included in the final Census Bureau numbers.
http://www.elpasotimes.com/newupdated/ci_17774738

Makes you wonder how many people do live in your city, if El Paso Census was 800,000+ then the real population could put it toward 900,000 or the 1 Million mark...
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Old April 8th, 2011, 01:10 PM   #69
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New urbanism: Interest building in urban living, though it's in early stages in El Paso.



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by Leanne Hedrick \ Special to the Times
Posted: 04/03/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT

The hip, industrial coolness of living La Vida Urbana complete with exposed brick walls, concrete floors and chrome kitchen appliances has made its way to El Paso. And developers are banking on the idea that an option for Downtown living will attract the type of buyer who enjoys being able to walk to work, grocery stores, museums and restaurants.

Debbie Hester, a Realtor with ERA Buyers, Sellers and Associates in El Paso, said that often the first thing professionals moving from out of town want to know is about El Paso's urban living.

"It's not just young people, but middle-aged and older folks, too," Hester said "These are people who are used to living Downtown and like the convenience of reading their New York Times on their patio and not having to mow the lawn. It's a lifestyle that El Paso would like to be able to offer."

But it won't happen quickly, she said, because Downtown still needs to grow support businesses for urban living.

"The Downtown area will develop over the next five to 10 years as more services like dry-cleaning and grocery stores move within walking distance of urban housing. Then we are going to see a high demand for these properties. Urban living is the way of the future," she said. "Right now Downtown has a ways to go to get that really great 'look' that people are looking for. The Mills Plaza project will help tremendously when it opens up."
http://www.elpasotimes.com/business/ci_17759844
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Old April 17th, 2011, 12:48 PM   #70
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Candidates differ on citywide growth: Fringes of El Paso see most sprawl, related problems.

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by Marty Schladen \ El Paso Times
Posted: 04/17/2011 12:23:57 AM MDT

What -- if anything -- should be done about El Paso's lopsided growth is the subject of debate among several candidates for the subject City Council. city planners have advocated new policies to bring people back to the city's center, but some candidates have questioned whether the policies would be effective or even wise.

One, District 6 incumbent Eddie Holguin, said attempts to control sprawl have the effect of creating more.

When the U.S. Census Bureau released new statistics in February, they showed that El Paso had experienced healthy growth during the past 10 years -- 15 percent.

But that growth took place on the fringes of the city and out in the county. East El Paso neighborhoods grew by 200,000, while 70,000 new residents moved to far West El Paso.

Expansion on the fringes confounds efforts by a controlling bloc of the City Council to focus growth closer to Downtown.
http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_17865497
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:56 AM   #71
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El Paso International Airport Traffic Increases 36% In March

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March passenger traffic at El Paso International Airport increased 36.6 percent from February, but declined 2.7 percent compared to March 2010, new data show.

The airport was used by 252,779 passengers in March.

Passenger traffic declined 3.5 percent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year. So far this year, 653,757 passengers have used the airport.

March freight traffic increased 14.5 percent from a year ago to 8,306 tons.
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Old May 7th, 2011, 03:30 AM   #72
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Juarez Lawmaker Wants New International Bridge At Sunland Park

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by Marisela Ortega / El Paso Times
Posted: 05/06/2011



A new non-commercial international bridge in this border region would ease border crossing wait times and improve environmental health with fewer auto gas emissions, Juárez Congressman Gerardo Hernández Ibarra said.

Hernández Ibarra said he already asked the House of Senate in México to take steps before the U.S. government toward opening of an international border crossing between Anapra and Sunland Park, the lawmaker said in a press release.

"Also, we are striving for upgrading and improving of Berrendo-Antelope Wells and Tornillo-Guadalupe international bridges," Hernández Ibarra said. Juárez's population grew to 1.3 million people in the last decade, Hernández Ibarra said, quoting figures released by Census 2010 in México, while 775,229 people live currently in El Paso, and Sunland Park accounts for 13,309 residents, Hernández Ibarra added.

In all, he said, there are 2,120,739 people living in this border region.

"We believe that building a new international bridge is crucial for our border region as thousands of people cross the border on a regular basis," Hernández Ibarra said.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 07:50 AM   #73
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El Paso Times

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Forbes ranks El Paso No. 1 mid-size city for jobs
Times staff report
Posted: 05/12/2011



Forbes ranked El Paso the No. 1 mid-size city for jobs in their recently released "Best Cities for Jobs" list.
Rankings of 398 metropolitan areas were based on growth trends from November 1999 to January 2011.

Texas cities dominated the list with Austin coming in as the No. 1 large metropolitan area and Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood ranking as the No. 1 small city.

read about it at forbes.com: http://blogs.forbes.com/joelkotkin/2...ties-for-jobs/
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #74
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El Paso Times

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Smart building: 290-unit apartment project is first step for Montecillo plan
By Vic Kolenc \ EL PASO TIMES
Posted: 05/12/2011 01:33:47 AM MDT



Work has begun on a 290-unit apartment project that's the beginning of El Paso's first Smart Code development -- the 292-acre Montecillo community in West El Paso.

When fully developed years from now, it's expected to have about 4,500 apartments, townhouses and single-family homes. It also will have stores, offices and open spaces.

The city's almost 2-year-old Smart Code is aimed at building developments that cater more to pedestrians than cars and provide for a high density of various types of residential housing mixed with commercial and open-space components.

EPT Land Communities will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 1 p.m. today for the apartment complex -- The Venue at Montecillo -- at 4901 Mesa, near Argonaut Drive. The four-building complex will face Mesa Street and include 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. "We're proud to be first" to use the Smart Code, said David Bogas, director of development for EPT. "It will have great appeal. We decided to take the risk."

EPT is a partnership of three El Pasoans, including Richard Aguilar, who also owns Bella Homes and many apartment projects. EPT could receive up to $22 million in property tax rebates from the city over 20 years to help pay for streets, parks and other public projects in Montecillo as part of an agreement City Council approved with EPT as an incentive to use the Smart Code. A similar agreement has been made with the developer of another proposed Smart Code community -- El Cruzero, a proposed 240-acre development at Joe Battle and Montana.

Mathew McElroy, deputy director of the city Planning and Economic Development Department, said that if the Montecillo development is successful in attracting residents, then other developers are more likely to do other Smart Code projects. The ultimate goal is to change the "development paradigm in the city" from urban sprawl to more sustainable, walkable and transit-served neighborhoods, McElroy said.

EPT has a huge, conceptual model of how Montecillo may look when fully developed. It is to have about 4,500 apartments, townhouses and single-family homes, according to EPT. Single-family housing will be the smallest portion of the development's housing stock. It will have "civic spaces," such as an amphitheater for concerts, and open spaces, including some arroyos, Bogas said. EPT must submit a more-detailed plan of Montecillo to the city by next spring.

Linda Bastraw, president of the Greater El Paso Association of Realtors, said she has not seen EPT's plans, but, she said, El Paso needs other types of housing products besides single-family homes because people have different needs. "Periodically we get requests for townhomes, and we don't have a lot of that to offer," Bastraw said. This type of project is new to El Paso, she said, but "I think people will be receptive to it."

EPT officials are calling The Venue at Montecillo the start of the Montecillo development. But the apartment complex is outside the Smart Code designated area because it was planned before the development was switched to the Smart Code. But, McElroy said, it should blend OK into the entire Smart Code development.

Mesa divides two pieces of the Monticello land. An 80-acre part is above Mesa. The development is bordered by Interstate 10 on the West, San Clemente on the East, Fiesta Hills on the North and a proposed Walmart development on the south.

Montecillo will add traffic to Mesa, but less than a traditional, single-family home subdivision would bring, McElroy said. A Smart Code development will reduce vehicle trips 17 to 40 percent because residents are more likely to walk or use a bicycle because stores, doctors' offices and other places people visit are close to homes, McElroy said. It took EPT about two years to level the hilly, desert land to make it suitable for development. The Venue at Montecillo apartment complex will take about 16 months to complete, Bogas said.

Next up likely will be construction of a 183-unit apartment complex for active seniors, age 55 and up, Bogas said. That would be on Castellano. "There's no timeline for development" of the entire community, Bogas said. "It will take a considerable amount of time." McElroy said that if Monticello is "super popular," it could be developed in 10 to 15 years.

EPT is not divulging development costs.A city document estimated the value of the completed development at $777 million.


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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #75
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Speaking of which, here's a look at El Cruzero Town Center





Quote:
El Cruzero is a 200+ acre mixed use development located at the Northeast corner of Montana Avenue (Hwy 62) and Joe Battle (Loop 375) in eastern El Paso. Two mixed use areas are planned: a Regional Center Development and a Traditional Neighborhood Development, as defined under the Smart Code, both insuring quality and enhanced overall value, appeal and vitality of the project.

http://www.wrightdalbin.com/el_cruze...n_center_2.htm
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Old May 17th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #76
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El Paso Times

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City Council: Smart Code project sought for West El Paso
by Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times
Posted: 05/17/2011



The City Council today will consider an economic proposal for a Smart Code project of about 204 acres near Interstate 10 and Executive Center Boulevard in West El Paso.

City Rep. Ann Morgan Lilly said the proposed Aldea development would include a new Wal-Mart. "This will probably be our most important item on (today's) agenda, and I expect a long discussion for it," Lilly said. If the city approves the agreement with Geltmore, LLC, then Aldea will become the third Smart Code development for El Paso, a signature policy of the current City Council.

Under the plan, the city would grant city property tax rebates to help pay for infrastructure that developers usually pay for, such as streets, parks and utilities, in exchange for using the Smart Code, city Rep. Beto O'Rourke said. "The proposed agreement is similar to two other Smart Code developments the city has approved, Montecillo in the West Side and Cruzero at Joe Battle and Montana," O'Rourke said. "It's really exciting. It's going to be a good deal for the community."

Aldea lies to the south of Montecillo, which is located along the 5000 block of North Mesa Street, and includes a large arroyo. Lilly said the project appeals to the city because the developers for Aldea plan to seek a bypass road between Executive Center and Sunland Park Drive to access the development. "They also said they will save the arroyos that are there," Lilly said.

Geltmore, LLC, a real estate firm based in Albuquerque, will have a representative present at today's City Council meeting to discuss the project.
On Monday, Geltmore CEO Paul Silverman declined to comment on the proposal.

Environmental advocate Heather McMurray said that Asarco formerly owned the Aldea site and that officials should disclose whether it has any contamination from the smelter's previous refining and incineration operations.

She also noted a diagram on a page attached to the City Council agenda item labeled "Miner Village," which may indicate student housing for the University of Texas at El Paso.

However, UTEP officials said the Aldea project has nothing to do with the university, and city officials said the property was not used for smelter operations. "The property consists of 204 acres of land located along I-10 between Executive Drive and Mesa Street," according to geltmore.com. It is nearly three miles from Downtown El Paso and about a mile from UTEP.

"Ultimately the project will combine over one million square feet of high quality retail and entertainment, several hotels and more than one-quarter of a million square feet of office space with 1,245 new residential units of various sizes and types (apartments, condos, townhomes and live work studios accommodating seniors, students and everyone in between)," Geltmore's website said.

City Rep. Susie Byrd said the city was able to negotiate for Wal-Mart to comply with Smart Code and not just be located within the typical C-4 commercial zoning that's been in use throughout El Paso for major retailers.

Assuming the development evolves as envisioned, the high density, mixed-use project is expected to generate considerable tax revenues for the city above and beyond the tax rebates.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #77
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This doesn't have anything to do with development but, since El Paso and Las Cruces are so close to each other, are they one metro area or seperate? If seperate when do you think they'll form a metro?
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Old May 20th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Dariusb View Post
This doesn't have anything to do with development but, since El Paso and Las Cruces are so close to each other, are they one metro area or seperate? If seperate when do you think they'll form a metro?
Good question! It's been talked about a lot over the years but oddly, as Las Cruces has grown and now has nearly everything El Paso has in terms of shopping, dining, etc. there are fewer people reliant on El Paso while commuter growth between the two cities is fairly flat. So the Census Bureau is holding off on a combination until the metros integrate more. Possibly 2020 or 2030 the Census Bureau will pronounce the CSA. It's expected that by 2050 the combined El Paso/Juarez/Las Cruces region will have as many as 5 million people. By that time the 28 miles between El Paso and Las Cruces may be a solid line of development...
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 05:38 PM   #79
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El Paso Times

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Shopping center at former Farah site leading El Paso retail resurgence
By Vic Kolenc \ El Paso Times
Posted: 06/02/2011



An improving national economy along with more national retailers paying particular attention to Hispanic markets have helped increase retail center development in El Paso, experts said Wednesday.

The resurgence is being led by the $100 million shopping center planned for the former Farah factory site on the East Side, retail center developers said at an El Paso conference.

The Fountains at Farah has letters of intent or leases from retailers and restaurants for more than the 600,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space that will be available at the center, said West Miller, president and owner of Centergy Retail of Dallas. Centergy is a partner in the project with Western Refining chief executive officer Paul Foster, who owns the Farah site.

Miller wouldn't say how many businesses have signed leases, but he hopes to have national, regional, and local retailers and restaurants which will allow work to begin on the 55-acre site in October or November, he said.

Some stores could open by fall 2012, with the full center likely to be open by spring 2013, he said. He would not divulge names of prospective tenants.

Miller was among 90 people who attended the International Council of Shopping Centers Hispanic Markets conference at the DoubleTree Hotel -- it's one of several Hispanic market conferences being held by the group in several cities this year.

Adam Frank, president of River Oaks Properties, one of El Paso's largest developers and operators of strip shopping centers, said retailers are "under pressure to open new stores" as the national economy improves.
The Hispanic market also is becoming more powerful and will continue to get stronger, he said.

River Oaks has three small centers under construction and one East Side center set for redevelopment. Those will house local and some national and regional retailers, he said.

River Oaks this year also plans to remodel a Downtown building at the intersection of Mesa and Texas to house a national clothing retailer that, he said, is expected to sign a lease soon."This is the most construction we've had in three-plus years," Frank said.

Even with retailers again looking to expand, El Paso retail developers said a challenge they face is convincing some national retailers that Mexican shoppers crossing the border to shop in El Paso make this a much stronger retail market than El Paso's low-income demographics would indicate.

Some national retailers will not factor in shoppers from Mexico in their site-selection models, Miller said. Mexican shoppers account for about 16 percent of retail sales in El Paso, according to numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' El Paso branch. Several shopping centers and Downtown stores report much higher percentages of sales to Mexican shoppers.

Last year, shoppers from Mexico spent an estimated $1.4 billion at El Paso stores and restaurants, bank economist Roberto Coronado reported at the conference.

Jose de Jesus Legaspi, president of The Legaspi Co., a shopping center developer based in the Los Angeles area, said he spends a lot of time educating national retailers about adjusting their site-selection formulas to better reflect the affects of not only Mexican shoppers coming into markets, but also to account for the differences in Hispanic buying habits.

Hispanics are a young population, so they tend to buy more children's clothes, more shoes, and more electronic devices, he said. "There are no real numbers for the Mexican (national) shopper, so people tend to follow trends," Legaspi said.

That's why Cielo Vista Mall, which, he called El Paso's retail sales leader, is a place that national retailers look when researching this market. That's helped the proposed Fountains at Farah project, located next to Cielo Vista, attract retailers, he said. Cielo Vista officials in the past have said about 25 percent of its shoppers are from Mexico.

Bassett Place surveys found as many as 27 percent of its shoppers are from Mexico. The percentage declines at certain times of the year.

The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso estimated 75 to 80 percent of its sales are to Mexican shoppers, Beth Parkinson, the center's marketing director, reported during a panel discussion at the conference.

Growing sales at the 4-year-old, West Side center has it going forward with plans to add another 201,000 square feet of retail space, Parkinson said. It currently has 378,000 square feet of retail space with about 90 stores. Not all space in the proposed addition has been leased yet, but construction is projected to begin in the fall, she said.

Mimco, another large El Paso strip center developer, has a Northeast center under construction, and a West Side center under redevelopment, reported Bob Ayoub, Mimco president. "The market is perking up," he said.

Legaspi said the nation's growing Hispanic market, which, he said is almost 50 million people with $1 trillion in expendable income, is also attracting attention of retailers based in Mexico. More Mexican retailers will come into the U.S. market in the future, and since El Paso is next to Mexico, it likely will get some of them, he predicted. The Mexican retailers include supermarkets, movie theater chains, and electronics and clothing sellers, he said. El Paso has seen more Juárez restaurants and other businesses locate here to escape the drug-cartel violence there.
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Old June 4th, 2011, 07:59 PM   #80
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El Paso Times

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Aldea project woos tenants, builders
By Robert Gray



Executives with the company that’s developing Aldea, an ambitious 204-acre “urban village” on El Paso’s Westside, were in Las Vegas last week, drumming up interest among lenders, retailers and homebuilders.

CEO Paul Silverman, who heads up Geltmore LLC, told El Paso Inc. that his real estate firm is in talks with three theater companies and a well-known grocery store chain not already in El Paso, and is actively seeking a multifamily developer for the project.

Silverman was speaking from the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Global Retail Real Estate Convention in Las Vegas. “When this thing starts coming out of the ground, it is going to look like a whole city is going up at once,” Silverman said of their planned development here.

Optimistically, that will happen over the next six years, but ultimately the speed of the build-out will be dictated by the market, according to Silverman. The worst-case scenario is a 20-year timeline.

The specs

The $500-million project, named Aldea El Paso, will be located at Executive Center and Interstate 10, three miles from Downtown El Paso and about a mile from the University of Texas at El Paso.


It comes as two other “urban villages” are being developed in El Paso that promise to follow the smart-growth guidelines favored by the city. The city has been trying to sell developers on them for three years. Adjacent to Aldea El Paso, EPT Land Development recently broke ground on its 300-acre smart growth community named Montecillo, and long-time El Paso businessman Cesar Viramontes is moving forward with a smart growth community in Far East El Paso named El Cruzero.

Ultimately, Aldea El Paso will combine more than one-million-square-feet of retail and entertainment space, hotels, and more than 250,000-square-feet of office space, with 1,245 new residential units of various sizes and types, according to projections.
The community will have all the marks of a smart-growth community – vertical, mixed-use construction with residential and office space over retail space, parks, tree-lined streets, integrated public transportation, walkable neighborhoods, and the like, according to the company.

Five tips

Geltmore is headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., but Silverman says he is no stranger to development in El Paso or smart growth principals. The first building Geltmore ever built was in El Paso: a warehouse at 1480 Common Dr., near Vista Del Sol. In 1981, Geltmore tackled its first mixed-use project, known as 150 Washington and 125 Lincoln, in downtown Santa Fe, right behind the Palace of the Governors.

“The focus on Bus Rapid Transit and more dense urban growth is really going to be what sets El Paso apart but, secondly, saves it economically,” says Silverman. The way El Paso is growing, he says, is largely in five tips on the outskirts of the Upper Valley, Westside, Northeast, Lower Valley and Far East.

That suburban sprawl is especially costly in El Paso, Silverman says, because of the geopolitical layout of the region. The borders between three states, as well as I-10, the mountains and Fort Bliss form additional barriers to expanding city infrastructure and services.

Tax incentives

The El Paso City Council recently voted 6-1 to give tax breaks to Geltmore for choosing to use the city’s optional smart code zoning standards. Rep. Eddie Holguin voted against it, while Rep. Emma Acosta was absent. The city expects Aldea El Paso to boost its coffers by almost $24.5 million over the next 23 years.

The agreement is similar to ones the city signed recently with the developers of the Montecillo and El Cruzero communities. The city will rebate Geltmore the cost it would normally pay for the public infrastructure, up to $22 million. If the development were to be built like most in El Paso, that don’t adhere to the smart code, the city estimates it would only collect $14.8 million in property taxes.

City officials say the city collects more revenue from a smart growth community largely because the development is denser, which means more investment in a smaller area and decreased infrastructure costs. “We are just getting a wonderful response to the plan and market development concept,” Silverman says.

“There appears to be very good market acceptance on what we have planned and what we are pursuing.”

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