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El Paso (KDBC) — The complete demolition of five buildings in downtown El Paso will take place before September 9,according to the City of El Paso.
River Oaks Properties owns the buildings on the corner of Mesa and San Antonio. The permits were issued on March 10. The area is zoned for commercial development, so the buildings were retail stores at some point. River Oaks could not comment on when they were last occupied.
Javier Camacho, the city development coordinator said because these buildings are not historic or in a historic building, the process to get a demolition permit is fairly simple.
Non historic buildings need to provide an asbestos report and pay a $115 fee.
The City adds, property owners do not need to disclose what they plan to do with the property once the demolition is complete.
Historic buildings, however, need approval by the historic landmark commission.
But the question of revitalization versus demolition is a polarizing topic for residents.
"Individuals can speak against the demolition. That's entirely their right, but through the city of El Paso we have a very specific protocol. And as long as the applicant meets the due diligence of the permitting process, then the City of El Paso can follow through and issue the demolition permit," Camacho said.
Jason Mendivil, a resident in far east El Paso, said preservation is crucial.
"Encouraging these business owners who are looking to invest. you got some really old building down here, beautiful buildings... it's all about reinventing downtown," Mendivil said.
However, some see the buildings through a business perspective and see the need to tear them down.
"There are buildings out there that are not historical. They are old but they're in really bad shape, and I believe they should just tear them down and build something new out there," said Frank Mares, owner of Leo's Mexican Food in downtown El Paso.
"Of course we would love for it to be preserving every part of the city that we can. But at the same time, there's only so much square footage as well, as well as buildings that are in desperate need of TLC and sometimes those resources are just not available," said Rudy Vasquez, marketing manager for Downtown Management District.
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