EL PASO, Texas — Today city council announced a private-public partnership with billionaire Paul Foster to revitalize the historic Kress Building in downtown El Paso.
Foster, the owner of Franklin Mountain Investments, has plans to revitalize the Kress Building to the same status it had in its heyday. The building used to be a social hotspot for many El Pasoans.
According to a city presentation, Foster will invest $18.4 million, and the city will, in turn provide over $2 million in incentives.
ABC-7 sat down with Foster to talk about his past and present projects in the downtown area. Foster explained his participation in the revitalization of the Plaza Theatre made him realize how important it was to preserve the historic buildings downtown.
“A lot of people have great memories of the plaza theatre from when they were little kids or when they were growing up, so bringing that back, it was just apparent to me how important that was to people,” Foster explained.
Foster restored the famous Plaza Hotel and now turns his attention across the street to the Kress Building. The first step will be an underground tunnel that will connect the basements of the Plaza Hotel and Kress Building. Foster says there will be a spa and full-service salon in the basement. The ground floor will have a food hall and a soda fountain. The top floor will be an entertainment venue for younger adults, Foster says.
Foster hopes the new Kress Building will bring more people downtown.