El Paso City Council voted to authorize negotiations with The Meyers Group for redevelopment of the Camino Real Hotel at 101 S. El Paso Street. The hotel was built in 1912, and has seen its ups and downs over the years. The 357 room hotel has fallen into disrepair over the years, and is currently owned by Grupo Empresarial Angeles, a Mexican company that owns dozens of hotels.

Mayor Oscar Leeser says getting the Camino back to its former glory has been a priority for council for three years. He said the plan to turn the Camino into a convention hotel would be a "huge step forward to continue to grow the economy."

The renovation is expected to cost $70 million, with City, County and State incentives of $34 million.

The Meyers Group, the development group that is behind the proposed developments of a 22-story tower in west El Paso off Shadow Mountain, is also behind the redevelopment of the Camino. Council still has not voted on the controversial Shadow Mountain tower. They are expected to vote on it on July 19. The two projects are not related and will be looked at separately.

El Paso has lost out on conventions because people don't want to stay at the Camino Real, but this deal with help bring that lucrative business to the city. City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said the incentives for the hotel are a sound investment.

Having the Camino back on its feet and returned to its status as the shining star it has been since 1912 would be such a major help in turning around the entire downtown area. Hopefully the plans are executed well and we can once again be proud of the Camino Real.