City denies MountainStar's request to have more control of ballpark

POSTED: 06:54 PM MDT Sep 23, 2013    UPDATED: 01:06 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 

The City of El Paso on Monday announced it would allow MountainStar to provide money for any additional costs to ballpark construction, and also denied concessions requested by the ownership group. Mayor Oscar Leeser, in a news conference, said the city reached a deal with MountainStar that capped the city's costs to build the stadium at $64 million. If the project costs more than $64 million, then MountainStar will have to provide the additional money up front, said Leeser.

In a letter released by Leeser on Friday, Josh Hunt, the Vice President of MountainStar Sports Group said the ownership team would be willing to pay for any overages above $64 million in the construction costs if the city conceded to the following requests:

1 That the city get Mountainstar's approval before changing the ballpark's budget, schedule and plans.
2 That the city make it easier to get around the ballpark and integrate the surrounding neighborhood.
3 That the city give up its ballpark suite for other preferred seats.
4 That Missouri street be closed for MountainStar events.

The City denied those requests and said it was unwilling to renegotiate anything in the contract, except allowing MountainStar to pay for any additional construction costs.

"Anytime you're putting up your own money, you naturally want to have more level of control," said Hunt when asked about the requests

Leeser said MountainStar, like anyone else, can apply for a permit for street closures during special events. He said the contract remains the same. "We're not amending anything. Anything they want to do, like integrating the neighborhood, they can do on their own."

Hunt, said it's unclear how much the ballpark will cost. "It might be $68 million, or $71 million. We don't know. But we know the city is only paying $64 million. The rest will be bourne from MountainStar."

"They'll request what they (MountainStar) want and deposit the money into the same account we use to pay for the ballpark construction. It's their financing and their money. We're just allowing them to give it to the city if the ballpark costs more," Leeser said.