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EP16 - A New Era

El Paso - Annual 2016


Plans for a massive church and conference center breathe new life into Ciudad Juárez and El Paso.

EP16 - A New Era
Photo by Marty Snortum Studio

There's a new energy flowing through the streets of El Paso and neighboring Ciudad Juárez. Plans for the construction of a streetcar service, a children's museum, and more in downtown El Paso are underway, and new hotels and restaurants have already sprouted up.

The revitalization couldn't be happening at a better time. Pope Francis' visit to Juárez in February 2016 brought the Mexican city — and El Paso — to the world's attention. Many city leaders consider the two locales as one unified urban area, which is why the latest building project planned to commemorate the pope's visit to the Juárez fairgrounds (which have become a holy site) is a game changer for both cities.

El Punto, which translates to "the point" in English, is the name for the 225,400-square-foot building that will be erected on the now holy site. The modern, adobe-block structure will house a 92,000-square-foot church, a music academy for children, and a conference and community center. The $80 million project is being privately funded, and construction is expected to begin by mid-2017. Herzog & Meuron of Switzerland, one of the world's most prominent architectural firms, is on board to design the building (the same firm famously known for designing the stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics).

The point of such an impressive structure is to usher in a new era for Juárez. It will be visible from Interstate 10. Now that's a drive worth taking.


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