Arena opponents say residents in master planning area being evicted

Downtown arena eviction notices

EL PASO - Opponents of the proposed location of the new $180 million Downtown arena say some residents outside the arena footprint are receiving eviction notices.

The arena footprint sits within the master planning area for the project, bordered by San Antonio, Santa Fe, Paisano and Leon streets.

The eviction notices have started to show up at a 116 year-old apartment complex on West Overland, but the City of El Paso says it has nothing to do with it.

"Several residents of 219 West Overland Avenue have received eviction notices, giving them 30 days to vacate the premises," said Max Grossman, vice chair of the County Historical Commission. "The property manager of that tenement, which by the way was built in 1900, she is the one that stated that tenement is going to be demolished shortly."

ABC-7 knocked on several doors but was unable to find any residents. The owner and property manager did not return calls.

"This is the City's plan, make no mistake about it," Grossman said. "The city is just going to say it's the private sector, it's the private owners that are handling that even though we know perfectly well this is the City's plan. Why is there a master planning area if its not part of the plan?"

The City of El Paso -- extending relocation assistance to those in the arena footprint, but none to those in the master planning area -- would only give ABC-7 this statement: "The City of El Paso has not encouraged anyone to send out eviction notices and the City has not sent out any eviction notices."

"The City will say, 'We don't issue eviction notices, blah blah blah,'" Grossman said. "Of course they don't, because they're in charge of the arena footprint, which has a limited number of residents. Two-thirds of the residents live in the master planning area, especially in three tenement buildings, and (219 W. Overaland) is one of those three tenement buildings."

Grossman said he's seen plans that call for a wide pedestrian corridor from the Convention Center to the new arena, that would run right through the area where that complex currently sits.


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