There’s an old rule that the best way to read the New York Times is backwards, because the articles generally hide the most important information at the end. So let’s try that with yesterday’s article on the new Triple-A baseball stadium being built in El Paso:
- El Paso is in the “very early stages” of redeveloping its downtown, according to a local real estate executive.
- Downtown El Paso is already on the upswing, thanks to Mexicans from Ciudad Juárez across the border who visit to avoid rising violence in their home city.
- “Local investors have been transforming disused downtown properties into rental apartments, restaurants, bars, retail shops and office space for several years.” This “was going to happen” with or without a baseball stadium, according to one local developer.
- The $50 million baseball stadium to bring the current Tucson Padres (as yet unnamed in El Paso) to town, for which the city is spending $35 million and tearing down its City Hall, won’t even open until next year.
- The headline: “Baseball Stadium Bolsters El Paso’s Resurgence.”
My apologies: In yesterday’s discussion of stadium-related election results, I neglected to include El Paso, where voters approved an increase in the hotel/motel tax rate to pay about $35 million towards a new $50 million stadium to bring the current Tucson Padres to town. I haven’t been able to find figures for how much was spend on the pro and anti campaigns to test the 100-to-1 rule, though there is this lovely story about the city manager getting in hot water for calling stadium opponents “crazies” in an email.
For a minor-league stadium deal, the El Paso one is crazily complex: The city will have to tear down its City Hall to make way for the stadium, which means city government will need to pay about $30 million to acquire new buildings to do its business in. Also, the city won’t share in any stadium revenue, but will get rent payments and a 10-cent-per-ticket admissions tax. How much El Paso taxpayers will get stuck with at the end of the day, in other words, will depend less on the hotel/motel tax approved yesterday and more on the picayune details of the lease — any chance we can get Judith Grant Long to add an appendix?