Hotel Paso Del Norte developer may demolish historic building for Downtown housing project
The Miami development company that renovated the historic Hotel Paso Del Norte at a cost of over $100 million has plans to put apartments or condominiums next to the Downtown El Paso hotel.
That may require the demolition of the long-vacant, dilapidated, 105-year-old Haymon Krupp & Co., building at 117 W. Overland Ave. — across the street from the hotel and the El Paso convention center.
"When we bought it, we thought it could be something you could save. Unfortunately chances are it will have to be demolished. It’s in very bad shape,” said Alan Losada, the Meyers Group president.
However, he said, “We are not discarding the idea of renovating the building. . . . These are things we will study.”
Max Grossman, an El Paso architectural historian and historical building preservationist, said in an email that he hopes the Meyers Group will renovate the Krupp building —designed by the late, iconic El Paso architect Henry Trost — rather than demolish it.
“It was not only designed by the greatest architectural firm in the history of West Texas, but it also (is) an important piece of Jewish history,” Grossman said. Krupp was a Jewish merchant who came to El Paso in 1890, he reported.
Stuart Meyers, chief executive officer of the Meyers Group, bought the building in a 2018 bankruptcy-court auction for $875,000. It was one of 13 Downtown buildings that were owned by El Paso businessman William “Billy” Abraham and sold in his two bankruptcy cases.
The building is now appraised for tax purposes at $85,656 by the El Paso Central Appraisal District.
An initial concept for the project is shown in a rendering of a new, 60-unit condo building on the company’s website.
The project will likely be 40 condos or apartments because of the site size, and would cost in the ballpark of $12 million to $15 million to construct, Losada said.
Plans also call for having retail spaces on the ground floor, he said.
“We like the way it looks,” if a new building were constructed, Losada said. “We still don’t know.”
A project decision hopefully can be made by the middle of next year, depending on what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic, Losada said. The pandemic had put plans for this project and others on the back burner, he said.
The pandemic also delayed plans for an apartment buildings' complex on a vacant site on Shadow Mountain Drive, near Mesa Street, in West El Paso, he said.
The company hopes to tie the Downtown multi-family project to the Hotel Paso Del Norte by allowing tenants to use the hotel’s amenities, and possibly also offer room service from the hotel’s restaurants, he said.
That’s something that officials with Marriott, the hotel’s brand, would have to agree could be done, he added.
The Meyers Group also may want to work out a deal with the city to use or lease a city-owned parking garage located next to the Krupp building and directly across San Antonio Ave., from the hotel. Losada said.
However, Oswaldo Hernandez, the company's vice president of construction, called the parking garage "obsolete and out of compliance."
Grossman, the historic building preservationist, said the four-story Krupp building, which housed Krupp’s clothing manufacturing and dry goods business, is made of mostly reinforced concrete. He called it “structurally sound.”
But the Meyers’ Losada said fire in the building years before the Meyers Group bought it has weakened the concrete, according to an engineer who walked through the building. The building also has water damage, he said.
It was one of four Downtown buildings that city officials found with serious fire- and building-code violations in 2018, and officials ordered be fixed.