H&LA Development Update: Sunland Park, New Mexico

H&LA’s recent research for a project in Sunland Park, New Mexico revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have a major impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Sunland Park, nearby El Paso, and the surrounding areas in 2021 and beyond. On-going pandemic concerns may alter timelines for some of these projects.

  • In May 2021, the new $48 million Beast Urban Park opened on the eastern side of El Paso. The city-run park features the region’s first indoor public natatorium, with a 50-meter competition pool and a diving well. Beast Urban Park also includes a community center with a gymnasium, fitness center, classrooms, an indoor walking track, and an outdoor waterpark. A planned second phase will add sports fields and other amenities. A third phase, not yet funded, could expand the park to over 92 acres and include an amphitheater and a BMX and skate park.
  • In the summer of 2021, four new city-owned outdoor waterparks opened in El Paso: Camp Cohen Water Park in Northeast El Paso; Capoteo Water Park in the Lower Valley; Lost Kingdom Water Park in East El Paso; and Oasis Water Park, part of the recently completed Beast Urban Park. In addition to a wide range of slides and other water attractions, these parks offer cabana rentals, lockers, and food and drink concessions.
  • Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open a massive new distribution center in eastern El Paso County in 2021. This 625,000-square-foot facility is expected to create about 750 full-time jobs, with wages starting at $15 per hour. The Amazon facility will be directly across from the new Eastlake Marketplace retail center, now under construction.
  • In April 2020, Wisconsin-based Great Wolf Resorts pulled out of a multi-million-dollar tax incentive arrangement with the City of El Paso to build a Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark resort in the northwest section of the city. While the deal fell apart amid the COVID-19 downturn, it indicates a willingness on the part of city officials to work toward a similar development agreement sometime in the future.
  • A new transnational border crossing has been proposed in Sunland Park, New Mexico, that would ease traffic congestion at current points of entry and reduce stress on existing transportation infrastructure in neighboring El Paso. The total cost of this project is estimated at $124.1 million, and it would handle upwards of 1,500 passenger vehicles per day. This project is now in the early planning stages, and it remains unclear when it will be completed.
  • The Western Playland amusement park reopened for the first time in April 2021 after being forced to close in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The park – located near the state border in Sunland Park, New Mexico – has been able to resume normal operation, but with reduced capacity and online-only ticket sales.