Lehigh Valley

El Paso developers look to Allentown for inspiration

PPL Center catches attention of El Paso developers

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The PPL Center arena project has been generating a lot of buzz since the beginning, and not just locally.

Some people in Texas have taken notice of the PPL Center.

El Paso is in the planning stages of building its own multi-use arena development and Allentown is one of the sites it's watching.

"It was a total shock to me," said Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Allentown's PPL Center is front page news in El Paso Texas.

The $177 million multi-use project scored the headline and the picture.

El Paso officials say it's just one project they are drawing from when creating the master plan for their city.

"I think what is particularly attractive about the PPL Center in Allentown is that it's an urban facility that has some mixed use to it. It's really interesting perspective to what could be a possibility here for what we are working on in El Paso," said Bryan Crowe, Destination El Paso General Manager and Project Manager for the El Paso project.

El Paso officials are looking at similar projects in South Carolina, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio.

This isn't the first time the PPL Center project and related development has taken the national spotlight.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski says the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other national outlets, have been watching and talking about the progress downtown.

"Little Allentown is now becoming a national model for other cities," said Pawlowski.

"It's incredibly exciting to know that what we are doing here is really driving discourse across the country in cities large and small in different venues. I mean here is a city that is totally in the Southwest that is now looking at us as a model as a mayor it just makes me proud."

Crowe says El Paso City leaders will be watching the progress of the PPL Center and how it deals with issues once it opens later this year.

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