County offers incentives for two downtown projects

Martin Building to get makeover, tax incentives to do so

EL PASO, Texas - County leaders approved an economic development plan to allow for the re-development of a downtown building and new construction a short walk away.

The developer, Martin Building LLC, is looking to re-develop the Martin Building on the 200 block of Stanton while building new construction at a lot located at 212 Mills.

According to a presentation by a city employee, the Martin Building renovation would be an attempt to keep the building's historic integrity. When finished, the bottom two floors would be developed for retail while the top five floors would be developed into 41 apartments.

The city of El Paso gave an economic agreement to the project last week. The county's deal was an incentive package that tops out at $234,361.

County Judge Veronica Escobar said she was excited about the notion of re-developing an old building to create more space for living downtown.

Commissioners Sergio Lewis and Carlos Leon rose concerns. True to recent county form, commissioners pushed for special language that 65 percent of the labor would be local.

While both commissioners were successful in that push, it was determined a second issue about buying local was not worth adding to the agreement. There was a fear that putting a percentage of required local products in construction would hinder hopes to keep the building's historic integrity.

As for the Mills location, food vendors are busy selling food at the site. It's listed as a location where a retail and commercial business would take place. It's slated to be a two story building with six suites for business.

Another economic development agreement was discussed tied to the Montecillo property that has sprung up in west El Paso during Monday's commissioners court meeting. County leaders inked a deal with them previously. On Monday, they agreed to some minor changes to that previous agreement that doesn't effect the previous financial agreement.

A third economic development plan that was expected to be discussed was taken off Monday's agenda at the last minute.

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