The Historic Landmark Commission (HLC) has denied an application to demolish buildings on two parcels on a block near San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso. The owner of a three story building at 230 N. Mesa Street and two smaller buildings at 218-222 N. Mesa would like to construct a brand new development on the properties which are adjacent to each other. The decision was made at the October 22, 2012 meeting of the HLC board. The applicant may now file an appeal directly to the City Council which can override the HLC's decision.
|Buildings outlined in blue could be demolished.|
There is some controversy surrounding the possible demolition of one of the buildings, the John T. Muir Building at the 230 N. Mesa location, which most likely caused the denial of the application. The building was designed by renowned El Paso architect Henry Trost and constructed in 1914. The HLC received two letters of opposition from historic preservation groups. Although the Commission stated in the application that the "properties have been so altered that they are no longer the embodiment of distinguished characteristics of an architectural type or specimen; can no longer be identified as the work of an architect or master builder whose individual work has influenced the development of the city; and no longer embody distinguished elements of architectural design, detail, materials or craftsmanship which represent a significant architectural innovation," the letter from the Texas Historical Commission disagreed, stating, "its grandeur is still visible at the third floor terra cotta façade."
|Muir Building today (left) and in its original condition.|
Borderplex has been silent on the proposed development, and no timeline has been given for the project. Borderplex was formed by Bill Sanders, a businessman known for creating REITs. Another Sanders company recently announced plans to purchase a Colorado-based bank.
Related: More Large-Scale Redevelopment Slated for Downtown
Historic Landmark Commission agenda: http://www.elpasotexas.gov/development_services/preview_mtng.asp?meetingid=1754
Borderplex website: http://www.bcreit.com/