The Substation is new face of retail in Borderland

The Substation sits on an L-shaped piece of land off the corner of Doniphan and Sunset.

If you're curious about the changing face of retail, look no further than the Substation in far West El Paso.

"We thought the public might like it," said Will Brown, a commercial real estate agent who helped develop the 24,000-square-foot retail center. "It's what we wanted. To try something new."

The Substation sits on an L-shaped piece of land off the corner of Doniphan and Sunset.

"It was a difficult site the way it was laid out," said Brown. "And we had to piece to gather parcels of land to create something different. More of a village. Not a traditional strip center."

The development gets its name because it sits right next to an actual El Paso Electric substation. But the site features colorful murals, rustic brick facades and historical items from local landmarks.

"We call it place making in the industry," said Brown. "Where people go and walk around and have lunch and dessert and meet up with other people."

From a coffee shop to a boxing gym, Brown says most of the retail sites are rented.

"We came here because it's the cool new spot and we know everyone is dying to come here so we knew we had to be here," said Lauren Effle, the manager at women's fashion boutique Cheeky. "A lot of customers come in and say the vibe is like an Austin or Denver and that's what makes it unique."

It took developers five years to get to this point, and Thursday's grand opening was about celebrating that accomplishment.

"It's something that's happening around the country as retail is changing," said Brown. "I think in El Paso it's one of the newer projects and other ones that have happened have done quite well."

The Substation is located at 145 W. Sunset, El Paso, Texas.

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