El Paso could be on the verge of creating a district that will allow property owners to receive tax credits for renovation projects.
A consulting firm hired earlier this year by the El Paso Commissioners Court has released findings showing that there are exactly 169 properties in El Paso’s downtown area, including the Chihuahuita and Segundo Barrio neighborhoods, that could be classified as historic and eligible for National Register of Historic Places certification.
The report is compiled by the Austin-based Hardy Heck Moore, Inc., a firm specializing in historic preservation consulting.
The company surveyed more than 1,700 structures and sites in a 23-block area before determining the status of the 169 properties, some of which have buildings that are more than 100 years old.
According to a draft of what is entitled the Historical and Architectural Survey for the County of El Paso, the many different properties are in a variety of conditions.
“Due to the nature and age of the resources in the survey area, alterations to both residential commercial buildings are not uncommon,” the document says. “Many houses have stucco covering original adobe or brick, or have replacement windows and doors.”
The document also notes that “along commercial corridors in downtown and Segundo Barrio, common alterations include storefront replacements, exterior wall replacements, and oftentimes the addition of slip-covers.”
The area surveyed also included the Duranguito neighborhood, which has been at the center of a simmering controversy, owing to the City of El Paso’s efforts to build a $180 million arena there.
That neighborhood, according to the document, includes a fire station designed by legendary architect Henry Trost and three Victorian-era homes.
If the City of El Paso and El Paso County agree to pursue the creation of a historic district, owners of historic properties there would be eligible for both federal and state tax credits worth tens of thousands of dollars as they pursue renovation and updating projects.
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