EL PASO, Texas -- As the city decides a new location for the proposed downtown arena, many questions remain about the future of the Duranguito neighborhood and the historic buildings located in Union Plaza.
City council voted Tuesday night 4-3 to move the proposed arena plans out of the historic neighborhood. The arena's location and cost has been a hotly-debated issue in the city for six years.
Dr. Max Grossman, a proponent of preserving the buildings in the neighborhood, said, "El Pasoans overwhelmingly are electing candidates who support historic preservation and preserving and honoring our culture," when asked about the city council vote.
Dr. Grossman is in the midst of years-long litigation with the city over the historic buildings that are located within the proposed-arena-footprint plans.
Dr. Grossman believes the first-step for the future of the neighborhood is to designate the buildings as historical structures.
“The county’s proposal to create a national-register historic district in downtown needs to come to fruition," Dr. Grossman said.
That designation would allow the buildings to be eligible for tax credits that can cover up to 45 percent of the rehabilitation costs.
The ultimate dream for Dr. Grossman is to see the area turned into an "Old Town," or a mix-use district that incorporates those historic buildings into residential and commercial use, such as restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.
There are multiple avenues to get to that goal. The city could sell the buildings in the area to private investors with the intention of rehabilitating the buildings; the city could invest in revitalizing the area on their own dime with taxpayer money; or form a partnership with the county and possibly other private investors to grow the area once again.