Pro 8 Investigates: Was El Portal a good investment?
Years after spending about 4 million dollars on El Portal, both the city and HKG are stepping back and taking a good look at whether or not the investments paid off.
Many have wondered if the city lost any money by investing in the project.
HKG director of operations Elsa Navarro says plans to bring name brand merchandise to downtown shoppers did become reality, though not to the extend they hoped for, admitting business has been slow.
The first floor is completely occupied by HKG, but upstairs, spots remain vacant.
Assistant City Manager Jesus Olivares says the economy hasn't helped, saying el portal is a project that was simply approved at a bad time, but for HKG one of the real problems is parking.
Either way, Navarro still has faith that soon all spaces at El Portal will be full, and in the mean time, they'll continue trying to draw in customers.
El portal has been contracted out for 20 years, so according to Olivares, it’s the responsibility of Khaledi Industries to fill the spots.
He says either way, the city has not lost any money on the project because the group has paid rent on time.
Meanwhile, HKG says they want shoppers to know that a duty free store does not mean items have to be exported to Mexico.
They're encouraging everyone to shop downtown.