That Explains It.

The El Paso Inc. this week unwrapped the study that HKS Inc. did for the City of El Paso to justify destroying Union Plaza find locations for all those neat downtown projects.

When HKS Inc., the consultant hired by the city to help plan the three signature bond projects, presented their findings in 2014, they identified seven similar cities.

The cities are similar in size to El Paso, have similar income levels — and they have all built arenas.

Okay, this should be good.

The three cities that were most similar to El Paso in population and median income were Toledo, as well as Greenville, South Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Among the cities with downtown arenas, Toledo most closely mirrors El Paso. It has a ballpark, convention center and arena that work together as an economic engine, officials there say. The call it the “urban trifecta.”

So let’s see. According to Wikipedia, the Toledo Metropolitan Statistical Area has a per capita income of $20,565. The Greenville MSA’s per capita income is $19,716. The Tulsa MSA enjoys a per capita income of $20,092.

El Paso and Las Cruces MSAs have per capita incomes of $13,421 and $13,999, respectively.

Here’s a broader picture of the relative economic data.

Wow, HKS really had to reach to find places with successful arenas for El Paso to model. All those MSAs’ per capita income is about 50 percent higher than El Paso’s. And I’m afraid that extra 50 percent is where the discretionary income is. You know, the money you don’t have to spend on food and rent and property taxes. The money you can squander on concerts and basketball games.

Those guys at HKS have discretionary income.

The city of El Paso paid HKS $724,480 to research the local market and designate potential sites for the signature bond projects, including the 12,700-seat multipurpose arena, according to documents obtained through an open records request.

You’d think for that kind of money the City should have gotten a better report.


  1. Let’s see the lies presented here. Do a Google Map view of Greenville, S.S. The Convention Center is downtown in a Convention Center District. The ballpark and arena are half a mile away northeast and southwest of the Convention Center. That sounds like they’re all consolidated. Toledo has all three within walking distance of each other, near the waterfront and about half a mile from the major downtown district. In Tulsa, the ball field is 3/4 of a mile from the Convention Center and 1/2 mile from the arena. None are directly in downtown and all are close to numerous exits from the freeway system. The takeaway is that the three cities mentioned are “wealthier” than El Paso, thus having more disposable income, all three have the convention center, arena, and ball park dispersed, none of the three have disturbed downtown, and, as far as I can see, haven’t displaced historic districts.

  2. Seen this report before. Amazing how blind el paso govt. can. Again. El Paso wants to be something it is not rather than be the best that it is. Plus, what major sponsors do the other Arenas have. There is no sponsor anywhere in sight for this EP arena. Your tax dollars at work against you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *