Abandoned El Paso ballpark could be replaced by major leisure district

Residents of El Paso, Texas, have been invited to reimagine the future of the city’s abandoned baseball ground, the Cohen Stadium.

The City’s Capital Improvement Department and local representative Sam Morgan are backing the masterplan for the 50-acre site in Northeast El Paso, which is hoped will transform the area into a catalyst for development and a destination point for the city and the wider region.

The 9,000 capacity venue, first opened in 1990, was home to baseball team the El Paso Diablos. However, the last pitch was thrown there in 2013, after which the franchise was disbanded and reincarnated as the El Paso Chihuahuas, with the team playing its fixtures at the city’s Southwest University Park, designed by Populous and completed in 2014.

The Cohen Stadium has been rarely used since, and a new tenant has not been found. As a result, it has been earmarked for demolition, with the city working on a scheme for something to replace it.

Current plans for the site include a waterpark, athletics facility, hotel, urban plaza, zip line and jumbo screen, alongside restaurants, retail space and a media broadcasting studio.

Morgan is encouraging members of the public to participate in the shaping of this masterplan, which is expected to be completed in the next few months, by offering their feedback through several channels.

According to the El Paso Inc newspaper, architect Eugenio Mesta and local design firm Exigo are working on the plans, and the City Council is expected to discuss funding for the scheme by early March.

The development team may take inspiration from National Hockey League side the Pittsburgh Penguins. After leaving their Civic Arena home in 2012 to relocate to the Populous-designed Consol Energy Center, the franchise commissioned architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group to masterplan an urban neighbourhood on the site of their demolished stadium.

Meanwhile, last November, four architects were revealed to be creating a new ballpark for The Oakland Athletics and masterplanning a surrounding leisure district to boost the club’s engagement with the local community.

El Paso  El Paso Diablos  Cohen Stadium  Sam Morgan  baseball 
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