Plans remain in the talking stage for the renovation of a historic building in downtown El Paso, even as the primary retailer in that building is for the present discontinuing its business.
Officials with the Fallas discount department store have confirmed that the chain has closed its well-known location at 301 E. San Antonio Avenue.
Owned by the Los Angeles-based National Stores Incorporated, the Fallas store in El Paso takes up the entirety of the ground level of a six-floor structure at the corner of San Antonio and E. Mesa Street.
Designed by well-known southwest architect Henry Trost, the structure was built at a cost of $350,000 in 1917 as a location for the Popular Department Store chain that also included a basement and two mezzanine floors.
Designed in the Chicago School architectural style, it has long been regarded by preservationists and others as an architectural gem. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places list in 1980.
Talks between El Paso city officials and owner Michael Fallas regarding an extensive renovation of the 200,000 square foot building have been ongoing for the past several years, with a focus on transforming the upper floors into loft apartments and office space.
In an interview with the El Paso Times, Fallas said the closing of the store is due to the economic consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak, but that he remained hopeful that the store will be reopened soon.
Fallas also remarked that he was “still interested in redeveloping the building. It has to make financial sense, but I’m sure it will in the future.”
By Garry Boulard
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