Some ten El Paso properties, the majority of which are regarded as historic, could be sold in a one-of-a-kind auction on November 6.
The structures all belong to developer William Abraham and his company Franklin Acquisitions of El Paso.
Earlier this year, Abraham filed for bankruptcy, beginning a process that has seen U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Christopher Mott hearing arguments from the developer who has maintained that if allowed to reorganize his estate, he would have the money needed to bring the buildings up to code.
Preservationists have stressed the historic importance of most of the properties, arguing that with adequate investment they could be redeveloped into hotel, retail, and office space.
Among the properties in question are the Kress Building at 211 N. Mesa Street, the Caples Building at 300 E. San Antonio Avenue, and the Toltec Club Building at 717 E. San Antonio Avenue.
All three buildings are more than 100 years old.
Under the rules of the planned auction, successful bidders would have to commit to rehabilitate the properties and, in the process, address all city code violations. The bidders would also be required to give evidence of having the financial ability to take on such work.
Abraham has consistently denied that the buildings in question are in a dilapidated condition. The developer has also said that he is working with his son-in-law Marco Zaragoza on a joint venture agreement that would provide enough funding to pay his debts and upgrade the structures.
It is not yet known if the Abraham-Zaragoza move to salvage the buildings will be agreed to by the court, thus forestalling the auction.
By Garry Boulard
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