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City could buy El Paso Times building in City Hall deal

By Leonard Martinez
Published On: Aug 09 2012 01:22:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 07 2012 04:43:27 PM CDT
EL PASO, Texas -

El Paso City Council on Tuesday will discuss the possibility of buying properties Downtown, including the El Paso Times building, to house City Hall employees to make way for the current City Hall to be demolished.

The newspaper's publisher, Sergio Salinas, said in an El Paso Times article Saturday that the newspaper's second floor is available for lease but the article did not mention the possibility of selling the building.

The second floor became available when the newsroom moved to the first floor in the spring.

City of El Paso spokeswoman Juli Lozano on Monday said leasing or buying the Times building are now both possibilities.

The El Paso Times property, 300 N. Campbell, will be discussed in Executive Session during Tuesday's meeting. The property is not listed on any other agenda item.

El Paso Times has 423 employees and in 1997 opened its new production and press facility at the 300 N. Campbell location, according to the newspaper's website.

City Council also will discuss buying two other properties for City Hall use. Those items are on the regular agenda and not scheduled to be discussed in Executive Session.

The current City Hall will be demolished to make way for a baseball stadium for a possible Triple-A team.

The Pacific Coast League's executive committee on July 30 announced it had unanimously approved the preliminary application review (PAR) application by MountainStar Sports Group, bringing a Triple-A team one step closer to being moved to El Paso.

The PCL's president sent a letter to El Paso City Manager Joyce Wilson, which stated that a Control Interest Transfer application has been sent to Minor League Baseball and that review has started.

"Because the Ownership Group has already been approved under the PAR process, we expect the CIT review to be straightforward and we do not anticipate any issues," PCL President Branch B. Rickey said in the letter.

Joshua Hunt, a partner in MountainStar Sports Group, said the PAR approval letter from Rickey was a very positive sign from the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball.

"This is all part of the baseball process, and it's a big step forward," Hunt said last week. "There are other necessary steps of approval, but we're getting very close."

Hunt added that this is big, positive news for the City.

"This is as close as this City's ever been in its history to having a Triple-A, professionally-affiliated team," Hunt said. "That's exciting, and it's a tribute to El Paso that our community was carefully vetted by Minor League Baseball and the PCL. Our City can be proud of that; there are only thirty Triple-A Baseball teams in the country."

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