The El Paso City Council is expected to award the construction contract for a new Triple-A ballpark to Hunt Construction and local firm C.F. Jordan.
A $50-million ballpark in downtown El Paso is planned for the relocating Tucson Padres (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), opening for the 2014 season. Populous has already handed the deal to design the ballpark, but the biggest contract for the ballpark — some $40.2 million — is the construction contract. This includes the demolition of City Hall (which could happen as soon as March) and the construction of the new facility.
In addition, the city council will decide whether to ask a state court to declare the ballpark project to be legal. Technically, this project isn’t a done deal; because bonds are involved, the Texas Attorney General’s office must sign off on the deal. A court declaration would preemptively address potential concerns at this level. From the El Paso Times:
A bond validation…would provide the city and the City of El Paso Downtown Development Corporation an “efficient procedure for confirming the validity of public securities and their associated contracts and obligations.” The local government corporation, approved by the council in December, was formed to act on behalf of the city. The corporation could then borrow money to pay for the ballpark at lower interest rates than the city could, lowering the overall cost of the ballpark. The corporation would have to issue bonds for the city to pay for the ballpark upfront, and would repay the debt with the voter-approved hotel tax, ballpark lease payments, parking fees, ticket surcharges and other revenues. Property taxes could not be used to pay for the ballpark.
Image courtesy city of El Paso.
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