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El Paso Inc: One of a kind deal for Downtown apartments

Work began last week on a new apartment project in Downtown El Paso, the Savoy Loft Apartments, where investors are testing El Pasoans’ appetite for Downtown living, building some of the first new housing the area has seen in years.

The highly anticipated deal has been in the works for more than three years and was spurred on by Borderplex Community Trust, a quiet real estate investment trust formed eight years ago as part of a plan to remake Downtown El Paso.

The deal involves El Paso real estate giant Mimco, El Paso developers TJ Karam and Paul Gilcrease and the Housing Finance Corporation, a quasi-public city organization.

“The main thing about this project is to show that it can be done. There is a solution, and the upper floors of Downtown’s buildings don’t need to go to waste,” said Karam, who is a partner of El Paso-based Bearing Development.

Savoy Loft Apartments will be located a block west of the El Paso County Courthouse on the top three floors of the old Hotel Savoy at 116 S. Stanton. Plans call for 27 studio apartments.

The century-old building is located at the corner of Stanton and Overland, where shop windows filled with frilly quinceanera dresses end and law offices begin.
The purchase price has not been disclosed, but rents will run from $560 to $950 a month for units that range in size from 550 square feet to 820 square feet, according to the developers.

“I will tell you that it will make money,” Karam said.

Construction is expected to finish a year from now.

In other cities, such a project may not attract much attention. But in El Paso, the project is significant, investors said, because it is blazing a trail for others to follow in Downtown, where a revitalization effort is underway.

“We are really hoping this is going to be a template for redeveloping a lot of the buildings in Downtown,” Mimco CEO Bob Ayoub said.

Inside the deal: Article continues at El Paso Inc.



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