Skip to Content

City Manager Seeks 3 Buildings for City Hall Relocation

City Manager Joyce Wilson unveiled her presentation advising the city to purchase three downtown El Paso buildings, a day before it goes before city council for a vote.

“This is the best deal on the table,” Wilson said.

The proposal will cost nearly $40 million in purchase and renovation costs for the three buildings: the Luther Building, the El Paso Times building and the Galeria San Isidro building.

Wilson says the city’s relocation agency, TVO Groupe, did an extensive study, examining properties best suited to house city hall, after it is demolished to make way for a ballpark.

The Luther Building, which is owned by the Luther Acquisition Company, is associated with Brett Harris and Paul Foster, Wilson says.

The proposed purchase price for the building, which will include renovations by the owner, will be an amount not to exceed $17,875,112. That amount is a far cry from the appraised value from the Central Appraisal District, which lists the building’s real property value at only $527,783.

The property tax paid on the Luther Building was $14,157 in 2011.

Wilson states the market value of the Luther Building, after renovation, would be a price not to exceed the $17,875,112 figure.

The purchase of downtown buildings by the city from private owners, has given insight into the great disparity of the CAD valuation of the buildings and their current market price.

In Texas, final sales prices of property are not public record and do not have to be revealed. Sales prices are usually kept private, unless a public entity, such as the City of El Paso is the purchaser, Wilson says.

El Paso realtors say market values are often much higher than the CAD valuation, especially when it comes to businesses. Residential properties generally have a narrower disparity, they say.

Due to the fact that downtown properties are being undervalued by CAD, means that building owners are not paying taxes on the market value of their properties. Therefore, the city is missing out on millions of dollars in property tax revenue every year.

Wilson says this allows for some downtown building ownerswho own multiple properties, to pay nominal property taxes as their buildings stay vacant and dilapidated, as they watch the market improve and redevelopment take place around them.

“It’s not gone unnoticed, and it’s not something that the council continues to argue about,” Wilson said. “Part of our state legislative agenda, even, is actuallyhiring lawyers to go in and more aggressively defend valuations and contest those fighting against the appraisal review board to lower them.”

The other properties included in the proposal for purchase by the city include the El Paso Times building, for an amount not to exceed $11 million.

When an ABC-7 reporter went to the El Paso Times building for comment on the potential sale, representatives would not comment.

The El Paso Times has a real property value of $10,903,710, according to CAD.

The group of buildings sought for purchase on Texas Street, Wilson is proposing to purchase for an amount not to exceed $2.3 million.

The buildings on the 800 block of Texas have a combined CAD value of $873,283.

Wilson is requesting for an additional $10 million dollars to refurbish it to meet the needs of the city.

The Texas Street buildings are in great shape, realtors say, which are home to the oldest operating elevator in the state of Texas.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content