Ballpark opening leaves property investors in hold pattern

Many are wondering how the Chihuahuas' new ballpark will affect downtown property values. ABC-7 spoke recently with real estate consultants about how they foresee the market responding.

"Really it started when the announcement of the ballpark," said TVO Real Estate Group CEO Russ Vandenburg. "Values went up quite a bit, you know, 40, 50, 60 percent."

But Vandenburg said prices have held fairly constant since that announcement about two years ago.

"If you looked around the ballpark, there's not a lot of land to be purchased," he said.

"Lot of activity, lot of people concerned, lot of people wanting to know what's going to happen, what they can and cannot do," said RJL Real Estate Consultants Partner John Folmer.

Folmer said he's received four to five calls a week in the past couple months about the piece of land he's listing just northwest of the left-field fence.

"Retail on the bottom, you know it's facing downtown, it's facing Mexico," Folmer said. "Residential on the top, and have the back side of that look at the ballpark and look at Mexico and patios and nice balconies out there."

"Anybody had a dream, what you could do is do the same thing that they did at Wrigley Field," Vandenburg said.

The Chicago native is referring to the rooftop seating in buildings adjacent to the Cubs stadium. The land for El Paso's version is currently listed at about $625,000.

"I think probably half a million dollars or something like that back many years ago when it was on the market," Folmer said.

The owners of the roughly 36,000 square-foot plot paid about $3,300 in property taxes last year. The Central Appraisal District said it assesses property values once a year, and the January appraisals didn't show much change from 2013.

"It's off-street parking, and it is what it is," Folmer said. "And they always maintain a pretty good value, because before it was around city hall and around those hotels. So now it's not city hall, it's a baseball park."

"This is new territory for this community, and I think that the people that own some of those buildings right now are just kind of in a hold pattern and going to wait and see what transpires."

Vandenburg said he can't predict demand, but he believes the impact will be positive.

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