El Paso has identified a proposed location for the El Paso Multi-Purpose Arena project, one of three Signature Projects approved as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond Program. On October 18, 2016, the City of El Paso approved the Arena Land Acquisition Process. Voters approved a $180 million budget for the entire project.
The footprint of the proposed arena is located on, “one and a half blocks from South Santa Fe Street south to Paisano, west to the alleyway before Leon Street, up the alleyway to West Overland Avenue and east to South Santa Fe Street.”
The footprint area includes a total of 22 properties, including five that are vacant or surface lots, seven that are commercial, seven that are residential, and two that are city owned.
Some preservationists have protested the location of the arena. For example, the Historical Landmark Commission, in a 6-0 vote with three abstentions taking place on November 7, 2016, recommended that the City Council reconsider the downtown arena project. Though no buildings in the designated area are listed on any historical register, County Commissioner David Stout stated that some surveys have recommended reclassifying certain properties. Two other sites considered for the arena were behind City Hall and an area near San Jacinto Plaza.
A community meeting was held on Nov 14, 2016 at the vacant Fire Station, located at 331 S. Santa Fe Street. Additional meetings will be scheduled throughout the process in order to keep the public informed regarding the progress on the arena project and land acquisition.
City attorney Sylvia Firth stated at a press conference in October that it should take the city about a year to acquire the property in the designated area.