Buildings to be demolished in downtown El Paso

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 11:31pm

Another makeover for downtown El Paso as an entire block of buildings could soon come tumbling down.

The area has gotten a facelift in recent years - but it appears even more changes are in the works.

Permits have been filed to demolish a block of buildings on San Antonio Avenue, although it's unclear what will go up in their place.

"These buildings speak a lot about our past history,” said Malissa Arras.

Arras is part of the group trying to raise awareness to save the abandoned buildings, which have housed various businesses over the years.

"Part of our identity is found in this history and heritage found downtown,” she said.

The owners of the buildings, River Oaks Properties, filed permits with the city to demolish their property between 212 and 220 East San Antonio Ave.

Something Arras says will destroy the street.

"Once you know the buildings down, there is nothing left to speak about that history,” Arras said.

Dr. Max Grossman is with the El Paso County Historical Commission and he agrees.

Grossman: "This represents perhaps the single greatest act of destruction that El Paso has ever seen,” he said. “At least, certainly in recent memory. "

But city representative Cortney Niland said she knows nothing about the plans to knock the buildings down.

"At this particular time we have not been notified of any demolition permits. I don't know if that is speculation, but at this particular time we have received no notification," Niland said.

But the city's website says they have been filed.

Arras hopes the city will see her point of view.

"Recognize the potential these buildings do have for El Paso and it's future," Arras said.

Local 4 News reached out to River Oaks and the demolition company listed on the permits to learn what they have planned for the property -- but have yet to hear back.


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