EL PASO, Texas - It's a new kind of neighborhood for El Paso, a smart way of developing that could change the way the city is shaped in the future.
The massive new Montecillo Development on the West Side is bordered by Executive Center on its South end, Sunland Park Mall to the North, Mesa Street on its East side and I-10 to the West. And when it's finished, it will be unlike anything in El Paso.
"It's actually a joint idea with the city to develop a smart growth environment on approximately 300 acres," said David Bogas, Director of Development for EPT Land Communities, which is building the project. "It will bring about choice and options for the people of El Paso."
Bogas showed ABC-7 a new model of the development. " We're looking at a great deal of multi-family unit environments, apartment complexes of various designs, a great deal of Italian influence in the elevations, the town homes," Bogas said.
Once completed it will be the first major project in the Sun City featuring smart growth principles, a very walk-able community that will have more than 300 acres of infill, about 5,000 apartments, 200 to 300 residential homes and lots of retail and commercial space.
"It's the last major piece of developable land in what is now the Central part of El Paso," said West Side City Representative Beto O'Rourke. "It's going to completely change the face of the West Side, and frankly, I think it's going to completely change the type of development we get going forward. Montecillo and these smart growth developments are dense, they're transit friendly and it's easy to walk places."
Nathan Ramos, who used to live in a smart growth community in Tampa, Florida, sees the advantages.
"In my current neighborhood, I would love to be able to bike to the grocery store and not need a car to do it," Ramos said.
He added that he would absolutely consider living in a community like the Montecillo Development in the future.
"Once this project proves itself, you will see development in El Paso take a completely different path, a much better one," O'Rourke said, "one that we as a community could be more proud of."
EPT Land Communities is scheduled to break ground on The Venue at Montecillo Apartments, the signature project of the development, next Thursday. The timeline to finish the entire project is 20 years, but once completed, city officials say it could pump an additional $80 million in property taxes into the city's coffers.