In a 4-3 split yesterday, El Paso City Council voted to move ahead with the downtown arena that was initially approved by voters in 2012... ELEVEN years ago.

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The other major development from Council was that the arena (you’re actually supposed to call it a “multi-purpose events center”) will NOT be built in the Duranguito neighborhood south of the Convention Center and Abraham Chavez Theatre.

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Oscar Leeser via Facebook
Oscar Leeser via Facebook

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser joined us this morning and, based on that conversation, there’s one thing that is guaranteed: IF and WHEN the arena ever gets built, it’s definitely going to be downtown. That’s the one aspect, above all others, that seems to be 100 percent non-negotiable.

You see a lot of suggestions, in both statements during public comments and on social media and message boards, about where the arena should be placed. The old Asarco footprint, northeast, etc.

Following the vote and what Oscar told us today, you may as well save your breath.   This arena…I mean…” multi-purpose events center” will be in downtown El Paso.

IF it ever actually gets built at all and, after ten years and zero actual construction, I’m not sure it ever WILL be built.

It may not make the most sense, it may not be what the voters want.

But, the people that pull the levers of “progress” in this city, both elected and unelected, want it there. So that’s where it will be.

If it ever gets built at all.

Everything else is very vague. Like, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and, perhaps most importantly, how much over the initial budget the project would run (some estimates have it going HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS over the original, voter-approved price tag of $180 Million).

But there’s one thing you can be sure about the arena: it’s going to be built downtown.

Or, not at all, I guess. I’d call it about 50/50 odds between those two options at this point.

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