Southwest University Park
The City of El Paso partnered with developer and team owner MountainStar Sports to create a new state-of-the-art minor league ballpark to serve as the new home for the El Paso Chihuahuas and spur redevelopment in downtown El Paso. At just under six acres — the smallest in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) — this was the only site that did not require displacement of existing businesses.
Opened in 2014, the 7,500-seat Southwest University Park resuscitated a decaying, but crucial area of downtown and simultaneously created a valuable and sustainable community asset. A perfectly tough site and a lightning project pace required multi-discipline structural, civil, traffic, and parking engineering excellence to make it happen.
Challenges & Accomplishments
- 18-month project schedule (demolition of existing City Hall, design & construction)
- Site constraints required portions of ballpark concourse to cantilever over active, national trainway and straddle existing infrastructure
- Unique aesthetic — pedestrian-scaled to evoke traditional neighborhood ballpark; 4 stories vs. 2 or 3 typical of AAA ballparks
- No new parking built — Game Day traffic operations plan utilizes existing garages, surface lots, and adjacent on-street parking
- Design elements focused on pedestrian safety and amenities
- One of first modern-day applications of a “woonerf” in Texas (living street)
- Earned LEED® Gold certification, making it one of only two minor league ballparks in the U.S. with that distinction.
- Pedestrian-scaled, ‘neighborhood’ ballpark aesthetic and displays of cultural art truly reflect culture of the community
- 2014 Ballpark of the Year (awarded by BaseballParks.com)
- 2014 Best New Ballpark (awarded by Baseball Digest)
- Record attendance (sold out 48 of the first 68 home games)