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Westin hotel project could revitalize El Paso airport area
By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- The Sun City's first four star hotel could revitalize the El Paso International Airport area. Plans are in the works for a new Westin hotel at the intersection of Airway Boulevard and Boeing Drive.
EPIA Director Monica Lombrana expects the new hotel to have much more in store for El Paso because it's set to have retail space nearby.
"We're looking at it in terms of redeveloping the entire area of the southern industrial park over time. We recently rezoned that to SmartCode. We have a master plan for that entire area," Lombrana said.
"I think that as long as it's going to stimulate the economy, it's a good choice for the area and also for El Paso," central El Paso resident Ruben Ville said.
The plan for more restaurants and retail locations could benefit other hotels in the area.
"There isn't anything aside from two restaurants to go out to at the end of the day," Lombrana said.
However, some are afraid the project would only bring more traffic to the airport area.
"They've got hotels up all over the city. Put them all on Interstate 10. That's where all the competition is anyway. I don't see any reason for building more hotels, especially a hotel that size," East El Paso resident Roger Jernigan said.
The new hotel is set to have more than 200 rooms, and the whole project costs more than $60 million.
Jernigan said this development could better serve other parts of El Paso.
"The Northeast needs stuff, and nobody thinks about putting anything out there," Jernigan said.
The new development is expected to have a SmartCode design, meaning it will have landscaping and a courtyard around the retail and restaurant space planned.
"It's very key in terms of that walkability and the open spaces. It will not be like a strip mall," Lombrana said.
Because the Westin development will be the first of it's kind in El Paso, some said they hope it lives up to the hype.
"Anything that brings like a new vibe to the area, I think that that would be positive," Ville said.
Construction on the project is expected to start this summer, and the hotel and retail space should be open by fall 2015.