Dear Friends and Media,

The City’s planned multipurpose basketball arena, strategically disguised as a “Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Facility” on the November 2012 ballot, will cost more than $500 million.

The City Council has never revised its original figure of $180 million, which it earmarked on May 24, 2012.

This past Tuesday under Agenda Item 22, the City Council voted 5-3 to conceal the actual cost of their multipurpose basketball arena from the public and media, with Reps. Annello, Molinar and Rodriguez dissenting.

The City’s 2016 RFQ reveals that their plan is to build “a state of the art arena with a target capacity of 15,000 seats for basketball games, that includes approximately 24 private suites, 30 loge boxes and 500 club seats.”

I was able to find three multipurpose basketball arenas built in the last five years that are similar in size and type to what our City hopes to build in Duranguito:

1.  Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, basketball capacity 13,550. Built in 2015 and opened in 2019, it cost $540 million ($39,852 per seat) in 2017 dollars. The public share of this public-private partnership is $225 million. Has hosted NCAA games.

2.  UT-Austin, replacement for Erwin Center, basketball capacity 10,000. It cost $338 million ($33,800 per seat) in 2018 dollars. Privately financed, it is slated to open in April 2022. For NCAA basketball.

3.  Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, basketball capacity 17,341. Built in 2016-2018 at a cost of $485.9 million ($28,020 per seat) in 2016 dollars. The public share of this public-private partnership is $250 million. For NBA basketball.

Based upon these comps, which give us an approximate figure, it would have cost our City somewhere between $420,000,000 and $598,000,000 to build a 15,000-seat multipurpose basketball arena in 2016-2018.

However, Forbes reported that between March 2020 and July 2021, the cost of steel increased a staggering 215%.

So you see, it is absolutely impossible to build a multipurpose basketball arena in El Paso with a seating capacity of 15,000 for $180 million ($12,000 per seat), nor is it possible to build it for $250 million ($16,667 per seat) as former Mayor Dee Margo suggested in 2018.

No one with any financial acumen believes that the City of El Paso can build this thing for less than $500 million!

But we, the taxpayers of El Paso, have a right to know, and we are going to find out.