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City Manager: We won’t be ‘held hostage’ property owners

by el paso voters be built? we now know who’s going to help the city find the locations. open our maria garcia has the story developing now. she’s live in our newsroom. the city council today hired two law firms who’ll be in charge of choosing sites for those three signature quality of life bond projects. they are the children’s museum, the hispanic cultural center and the big downtown arena. 00-13 05:06 we have multiple sites that can work and really to keep the cost down for taxpayers and to get more money into the actual construction, you obviously don’t want to spend it all on land the city needs to find three spots downtown to house the big projects. it spent this spring narrowing down some sites. and it’s not just about the right property – but also the right surroundings. 04:21 what type of additional development could occur around those sites so it wasn’t just looking at a particular site for those particular facilities but what could happen around it after interviewing a dozen firms, the city chose firms bracewell and giuliani and abernathy roeder – both companies have experience in land acquisitiion for big public projects. an out of town firm with no business interests connected to downtown el paso was important to the city attorney. 03:11 the conflict of interest would probably be strong in this community just because in her opinion the legal community has a tight knit kind of group the city manager has a strong message to downtown property owners who may be tempted to raise the price just for the city: “we have more than one of two viable sites and i think everyone needs to hear that. so if anyone thinks that we’re going to be held hostage in having to pay exorbitant prices, that’s not going to be the case. we are going to work to attempt to look at all those sites and go after the best one. ” the contract with the two firms will cost no more than one percent of the project’s budget. for example: the arena’s budget is 180 million dollars. so the firms cannot be paid more than 1.8 million for that project. maria, thank you. meantime … just when you thought it may be coming to an end … negotiations between the



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