Investors interested in redeveloping several historic downtown El Paso buildings long off the market may soon be getting a chance to make a bid on those structures.
Western District of Texas Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Mott has handed down a ruling appointing a trustee to oversee the sale of a handful of structures owned by El Paso businessman William “Billy” Abraham.
The decision was made in response to a request by Ivan Aguilera, son of the late singer Juan Gabriel, who last year won a $1 million judgment against Abraham resulting from a 2015 Gabriel concert contract dispute.
The trustee, as part of a general bankruptcy process, will be tasked with selling at least some of the 29 buildings Abraham currently owns in metro El Paso, including 15 that are in the city’s downtown area and are mostly vacant.
Many of those buildings have been regarded by area preservationists as being of historic significance, with investors interested in their redevelopment potential.
Despite offers through the years by various parties to purchase those properties, Abraham has steadfastly declined to put them on the market.
According to court documents, the total value of Abraham’s properties is nearly $32 million.
Among the buildings listed in his name are the former Newberry Department Store at 201 N. Stanton Street; the Caples Building at 300 E. San Antonio Avenue; and the Toltec Club Building at 717 E. San Antonio Avenue.
The Newberry structure was built in 1935, the Caples Building went up in 1909, and the Toltec Building dates to 1910. All three buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
By Garry Boulard
Timely, reliable news since 1949