El Paso’s Failed Economic Development

Remember when El Chuqueño speculated that the recent shakeup in the City’s Economic Development Department might be because the proposed deal to build a Ford battery plant in Northeast El Paso fell threw?

Well, KVIA reports that the deal isn’t going to El Paso. Ford will build its plants in Memphis and Louisville.

Maybe the City shouldn’t be in the business of Economic Development. They haven’t shown any aptitude for it. We spend a lot of money on it, and we don’t get anything but the cost of tax incentives for businesses that were probably going to open here anyway.

If someone’s no good for their job, you’re not doing them any favors by keeping them on. You might was well turn them loose to find their path in life.


  1. I’d settle for a Pappadeaux on the west side. I think it was 1997 that Jan Sumral, a friend and CC member, told me that El Paso had a Pappadeaux in the works. Long time to wait for my favorite Dallas restaurant to make its way out here. I remember sharing a plate with a gal friend at the one on the Central because portions were so generous. Then the one on Nolan Ryan, with another date watching some cowboy undress his girlfriend in the booth across from us while we enjoyed the Cajun crawfish. Ah, the memories….

    I mean, how many damned “draft houses” does the west side need? Get a Pappadeaux and I’ll swear that all of the city’s economic development effort finally hit pay dirt. They can put it in one of the soon-to-go-bankrupt draft houses, too, for pennies on the dollar probably.

    1. Everybody wants what they want, and they don’t care if everyone else has to pay for it.

      What’s wrong with Pelican’s? Pelican’s has been there for 30+, maybe 40, years, and they’ve employed thousands of young El Pasoans, assuring them of good, decent-paying, jobs, while they made plans for the rest of their lives.

      (Full disclosure: I worked at Pelican’s for a summer, probably in the mid-eighties, as near as I can recollect.)

      Don’t you imagine importing a Pappadeaux to the west side might hurt business at Pelican’s? Wouldn’t we be importing an out-of-town corporation to compete with a local business?

      Lots of cool, iconic, towns don’t allow franchises at all. Well, it’s too late for that in El Paso. But I don’t think we should be courting them, or offering them tax incentives to locate here. If the market supports it, let them. But let’s not push the needle.

      If you want to go to Pappadeaux, catch a round trip to DFW. They’ve got two Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchens and a Pappadeaux Seafood Bar, and you get to ride the train around the airport. It looks like you can fly round trip from $177, if you book in advance, according to the American Airlines website, and you only have to clear the TSA once.

      1. Rich, I love Pelicans and frequently visit there. Best calimari in town but limited wine-by-the-glass selection. A Pappadeaux in the new west town development wouldn’t hurt Pelicans, IMHO, any more than Crab Shack has. When I fly thru DFW I try to catch the ones there, time allowing, but Nov 2019 was my last flight to anywhere and maybe my last flight period.

        Pappadeaux here would, I think, attract a younger crowd than Pelicans that looks, face it, like me:) Mature well behaved, That’s how I’d describe Pelicans’ clientele. Cool? Iconic? That’s not El Paso, so no reason to act like cool and iconic anything.

  2. I fear that Papadeaux’s would be too high end for El Paso budgets. You may recall that TGIFriday’s tried to operate on Lee Trevino for a short while, but we just could not sustain such an operation. We have a long, long way to go before we can join the rest of the modern world.

  3. Speaking of Pappadeaux, my wife and I celebrated there today. The first one in San Antonio. They are actually out of Houston. Lunch for 2, with 2 drinks apiece set us back $181.00, Not including tip. We didn’t care, it was a Special Day (just sold one of our rentals), but I wonder how many El Pasoans can afford meals at this Establishment on a regular basis to sustain it? Remember when everyone wanted a Whole Foods–even having a facebook page? How did that work out?

    1. I looked at their menu. What did you order? It is a bit pricey. How is Ruths Chris doing here? They’re not exactly Golden Corral.

      1. 1 calamari appetizer $20, 2 orders of Redfish Ponchatrain, comes with a salad. $42 bucks apiece. 3 glasses of white wine for my better half $14.00 per glass. 2 Moscow mules at $13.00 1 creme brûlée (split between us) $9.00. Not including tip. $181.00 We did 20% because it was a very special day. So it was a total of $217.00…. Obviously we don’t do this every day, but then we don’t sell a rental property every day either. So we went all out. Also, the portions have gotten smaller.

      2. Ruth Chris’s is going gangbusters. Expensive though. $22.00 for Calamai. $65 for a T Bone, $62 for a ribeye, or vice versa, but you get the picture. glasses of wine are around $18.00 each. Salads are $12.00. Creme brûlée is $12.00…

  4. Back to the issue, my thoughts exactly, city needs to focus on providing services & tending to their own city business & leave economic development to the business sector.

  5. I think El Paso need to change their mentality look how many steakhouses are open and all are full no matter where you go to have a better fish place than our limited restaurants we need to go in a higher mode don’t limited yourself El Paso has money and people with class

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