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October 25, 2016

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You're right that Council has a "do it and apologize later" attitude. That works in the private sector, not in government. That's the attitude the voters rebelled against 3 years ago and, yes, there is a city election coming up in May. Better tell your li'l friend Tolbert to get his excuses ready.

It was never about what it's for. It was about who it's for: The DTEP vampire economy and whoever owns the land it sits on. Maybe Brutus can run a check on that party's CC contributions.

Wait. What??!!! You were the big advocate for the ballpork.
You pimped for the downtown development plan. This stuff is actually archived on the interweb.

JerryK: you must be referring to Billy Abraham. He owns the most buildings downtown.

D@V, foster owns the biggest downtown building along with sanders reit. billy owns the most, but it wasnt done for billy.

Hey David K, interesting point: "We'll have to see how this plays out in the next election (May). You have a ton of people angered by this and they are the kind of folks who can make these local elections a nightmare."

On this point: "One pissed off local amateur historian with a big email list can sink a candidate's chances of local political glory and $28 grand a year."

If Grossman and Sargent love all these old buildings so much, why don't they start a fund to buy them? Is that old two story red brick building, which was once a brothel, really that significant to save? So your creative wording was really funny: "a building Billy The Kid once pooped in."

No wonder the city passed on that bull shit historical study.

Hey you philistines, the point is not that Pancho Villa or Billy the Kid slept in the old red building. The point is that this is a historic section of town just like Sunset Heights or Segundo. Most of the buildings are late 20th, early 21st century architecture. The neighborhood is on the earliest maps of El Paso. Have you ever been to the French Quarter? So I guess you think it would just as cool if all the bars and shops there were in shiny new buildings. This could be a great area of town if the City would be as generous with incentives to small business owners as they with Jim Scherr or the Meyers Group - if the City would commit to cultural tourism instead of going down the same fiscally shaky arena route that has gotten other cities into deepcaca. Visitors and locals alike love local color, something that a sports arena has none of, no matter how many (formerly) old building facades you incorporate into the design.

The city tried to develop that area way back when the district was created. A few yahoos bought up every little worthless piece they could and brought the renovation to a halt. They have been holding out for big bucks ever since. Granted, there are a few interesting buildings but there are more buildings that are 21st century eyesores. The history people don't have much sway. The kerfluffle will be over with by May.

This kefluffle will be over by the election, but Jim Tolbert will still be two-faced self-serving Susie Byrd minion. At this point my dog would get more votes.

Juana, your observation was right on the mark: "Granted, there are a few interesting buildings but there are more buildings that are 21st century eyesores. The history people don't have much sway."

With all the media uproar in the presidential election, because of one candidate's conduct, the height of nuttiness was throwing that brothel into the debate.

So really enjoyed David K's classic master piece: "a building Billy The Kid once pooped in."

a hope: you are so right about Tolbert. He is a big loser but the strange thing is that he thinks he is the big-guy-around-town. He shows up everywhere so that those who want something from Council / from the City can fawn over him. And he's dumb enough to believe that they admire him. His ego has no end.

Someone pointed out that Max Grossman owns a home on the west side that is not historical. I looked it up. Sure enough, he lives at 6265 CAMINO ALEGRE DR. So this person was very accurate in calling him out as a hypocrite. Love the old buildings so much? Live in one. Oh wait, you don't want to live in "those" conditions. This guy is a joke.

Even Bernie Sargent's home is not "historical".

Where were all these people when these buildings were falling down in need of repair? Not a peep out of them. They always seem to come riding up when something good is about to happen.

The voters approved the arena. It needs to happen. Joyce Wilson was sneaky and kept the downtown location off the ballot language but put it in the ordinance, just like the multicultural center. Joyce is smart but unfortunately, she uses it in the wrong way. Too bad she didn't get the job in Florida.

The buildings are not falling down and plenty of people live in them. The point is that neither the county historical society nor the county historic commission were kept in the loop. How ridiculous is it to announce and vote in 5 short days. That's a short-sighted, dangerous move for a city with historic resources that many communities envy.

Question: If these historical people are so concerned about the city's "historic resources that many communities envy," why don't they simply purchase the properties and create an economic stake in them?

Then actually show the city what can be done with them, thus demonstrating the factual basis of their theory.

If a person lacks a documented financial stake, what justification do they have to tell the owners how to use those properties?
And why should the owners even listen?

In addition, why should taxpayers even listen?


Old Fart, so like those homeowners who will be evicted and forcibly relocated, you know those who have a documented financial stake, why listen to them? I guess that would have been nice had the City given more than 5 days notice that they we're going to take their property.

Hey Stampedem, don't get upset. Yes, those property owners do have a stake, so it will be interesting to see how they negotiate it to their advantage.

In addition, since the media is paying attention, they have a medium to present their case to the public.

What's that old saying about selling property: location, location, location?

So it will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.

Sorry, but as a property taxpayer, I no longer pay attention to the historical people. Let them invest in those downtown properties and put their own money at risk.

Ok Old Fart -- Ok, I'll say this again. It is the authentic, living neighborhood that is most valuable. Sure, lots of the buildings are old but it is the neighborhood that needs preserving.

You want "history people" to buy property there? That actually would be worth considering except that one or two investors beat us to it. And these investors are not interested in keeping the neighborhood -- they are counting on making money when the City buys their property. Nothing wrong with making money. Plenty wrong with making money by destroying cultural resources. The structures are ok but the neighborhood - the people - the culture is of primary importance. Add a few shops, art galleries and cafes and El Paso has its own French Quarter.

Why did the City rush this? Clearly because they knew there would be push back. The City is abusing its authority. "Do this 'cause I say so kids and shut up." We are not children and those who wrongly rushed this decision will be up for election next year.

Hey there Abandon Hope, this old "philistine" or "one who is (apparently) smugly conventional," always enjoys your postings, along with the one from Stampedem.

Other than this selected location, strongly suspect people, can reasonably make the same argument against any other possible location downtown.

From what I see, it probably not a bad location. Isn't it near the coming trolley line, plus there are new owners for the Camino Real hotel, and not far from the border bridges.

Fine, if you can muster the opposition and kill this specific location, I don't care. But my guess is, for those who really want this $180 million structure, this thing will be tied up and delayed for years. I'm not against what the city did, plus if this project is to move forward, it was likely a very smart move.

Now as a rather flawed "philistine," I will be glad to sell the city my home. Unfortunately, I lack that one vital economic quality: "location, location, location."

So if those living in that area are property owners, and not renters, hope they do well in their individual negotiations with the city.

Like others, I've been to the French Quarter, along with a lot of other places. So sorry if it may upset you, if I no longer pay attention to some of the local and always out spoken historical people.

This entire thing is better that a TV novel, so sure hope the media keep covering it.

If you go to Boston, New York, Virginia, the Carolina's, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Arkansas, Louisiana, all over TX, and I could go on and on. But, all states and their historical sites make money by showing off their historical buildings. It does not matter if at one time it was a brothel or not. History in the best of any buildings can make money if you know how to do it. Like I said before people are tired of one too many arenas. They just go to waste.

Hi Lupe, In El Paso I've heard this for years, and years, and years: "all states and their historical sites make money by showing off their historical buildings."

If what you are saying about that specific downtown area was true, there would be loads and loads of people always going down there, which from all appearances does not seem to be happening.

Found this post by Abandon Hope interesting: "You want "history people" to buy property there? That actually would be worth considering except that one or two investors beat us to it. And these investors are not interested in keeping the neighborhood -- they are counting on making money when the City buys their property."

It might be informative for the public to know, possibly through an El Paso TIMES guest column, which historian group offered to buy some of these downtown properties, at what locations, and at what price. Plus, with some of those multi story downtown buildings, what they actually planed to do with them to make them useful and economically viable.

Right now all I get are peoples passionate theories with no guarantee they will work.

As I said in an earlier post: "With all the media uproar in the presidential election, because of one candidate's conduct, the height of nuttiness was throwing that brothel into the debate." I've passed by that 2 story red brick building a number of times, and it's ugly and unappealing.

Old Fart, you have to understand the difference between El Paso and all those places I mentioned. All those places keep those places upgraded and have them as show places. Just go to the International Museum on Montana Street. That place is really fabulous. They made it into a museum and it has worked so far. What has anyone ever done here in El Paso for any of these old buildings? That is why the schools in El Paso are falling apart. They have passed several bonds and what have they done with that money? NADA!!! Do you keep up with your house? That's all it takes is simple love and care. But around here all that counsels want is spent taxpayer money. Think about it!

Old Fart, I agree with that if you own a building you should be able to do what you want with it. Being a commercial property owner I also understand that it is probably better for most of the downtown owners to tear down and rebuild. Upgrading most buildings would cost an arm and a leg just upgrading to the current fire code alone not to mention the rest. also, by tearing down and rebuilding you can build as high as you want. that's increased square footage without going sideways. the air is free. it cost the taxpayer 18 million to upgrade the Mills building. How would like trying to lease that and make a profit ? You cant, that's the point. Unless your Foster and a billionaire and want to spend some money to upgrade a building because its your personal project then its ok. If your not him its just stupid. I know, you all want to say incentives will help. that causes an unequal playing field with those who cant get the incentives which leads to the only ones getting incentives are the ones who donate to all our reps. Like Hillary and all the Arab countries. Pay to play.

Hi 'a deplorable,' thanks for adding some practical business and economic content to this discussion.

I don't have a problem with the owner tearing down that Trost bank building. There were some interesting front exterior features that possibly might have been saved. One was that long horizontal top piece with the Roman numerals.

Too bad the history people could not have asked for, or negotiated for it to be saved to possibly be used somewhere else downtown. Maybe in a park, or as part of the outer wall of another rebuilt downtown building.

In these occasional public uproars, come away with the uncomfortable feeling from the historical people, that it must be 'their way or the highway.'

Updating existing structures to current building code and the associated costs is a much cited, but poorly understood argument. The City adopted the 2015 International Existing Building Code on September 1. The code specifically recognizes the challenges of updating old buildings to new code, but similarly recognizes the ability of these buildings to meet equivalent performance standards without burdensome costs or feats of engineering. It actually doesn't take being a Foster to renovate a historic building.

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