El Paso

Bus company, restaurant among businesses affected by arena project

Bus company, restaurant among...

EL PASO, Texas - The city continues to work out deals with businesses in the Duranguito neighborhood. Out of the 22 properties within the downtown arena footprint, the city says all but one are willing sellers.

As the property acquisition negotiations continue, so do concerns about the future stability of those businesses.

For the "Los Tornados" bus company, the move could mean a major loss in clientele from across the border.

"They come walking. Or the taxi drivers come bring them. But if we move somewhere else, far away, they're not going to go look for us, we're going to lose a lot of money" said Zulema Martell, Los Tornados property manager.

Martell is says the company's property owner is currently negotiating with the city. She says it'll be hard to find a new location that will come close to what they already have.

"We need to look for a bigger place, for customers, for parking lot, for the buses to park," Martell said.

Inside of the depot, Maria Ana Mesa owns a small restaurant.The woman sold food at different bus depots for decades before opening her restaurant. She tells Abc-7 a move could mean the end.

"I've been here for 26 years selling food for different bus companies. 26 years and to have to leave? Yes it's going to be sad," Mesa said.

The city says all businesses, like tenants, will be offered relocation assistance but couldn't say how much. Business can choose their next location within a 50 mile radius.

At the "La Tiradera Flea Market," vendors say they don't know of any other location that would lure in business like downtown.

"We have an established clientele. When you open a business, it's hard to establish clientele," Maria Ortega said.

The market has at least 80 vendors who sell clothes, shoes, toys and other goods. Ortega tells abc-7 it isnt a steady business, but she always can depend on customers from Juarez every single day.

"It's scary because that means a loss of money, loss of financial gain, and it's pay that will take time. Because the money doesn't wait. You sell or you don't sell," Ortega said.

The city says there is no set timeline for relocation because they're still negotiating property acquisition. Relocation assistance will be tailored to each business.

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