A 1930s Art Deco landmark, whose penthouse green Spanish tile roof still stands out in the El Paso skyline, could see an extensive renovation beginning in early 2018.
Members of El Paso’s Historic Landmarks Commission, following a similar decision made in mid-November by the Texas Historical Commission, have given their approval to the $78 million renovation of the 19-story Plaza Hotel at the corner of E. Mills Road and S. Oregon Street.
Paul Foster, chairman of the board of the El Paso-based Western Refining, purchased the 87 year-old steel framed building nearly a decade ago with plans to turn it into a four-star boutique hotel.
Foster has committed himself to maintaining the integrity of a structure that was designed by well-known architect Henry C. Trost and opened as a Hilton Hotel in the fall of 1930.
Plans call for an updating of all of the structure’s electrical and plumbing systems, windows and window frames above the third floor, and restoration of the three rooftop terraces located on the Plaza Hotel’s penthouse level.
The project will include the building of some 7,600 square feet of function space and 6,500 square feet of bar and restaurant space.
According to reports, the restoration project may be eligible for just under $28 million in both city and state tax incentives.
Built for $4.9 million, the hotel, visited by more than 10,000 people on the day it was officially opened, was described by hotelier Conrad Hilton as the “zenith of our aspirations.”
Hilton’s first high-rise was also seen as a very visible vote of confidence in El Paso’s future during the depths of the Great Depression.
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