Dear Media and Friends,
Tomorrow our City Council is taking up the controversial ordinance which, according to some, stands in the way of establishing a National Register District in our Downtown. See item 35 in the City Council agenda.
Two local journalists have diligently stayed on top of this critically important issue: Aaron Montes of KTSM 9 News and David Crowder of the El Paso Inc.
Montes provides a good summary of what to expect tomorrow in his recent report.
Crowder just published an exceptional report this past Saturday in which he cites recent statistics indicating that “from 2015 through August of 2020, Texas restoration projects have generated $2.6 billion in total spending, more than 54,000 rehabilitation jobs, $3.2 billion in wages and $55 million in local taxes – not including property taxes.”
One local law firm and a handful of developers have been working to prevent the establishment of the downtown national historic district and their excuse has been the never-enforced City ordinance that is up for discussion tomorrow. Will they change heart and support the National Register district when the ordinance is removed?
Crowder interviewed Lane Gaddy, who “supports the creation of the Downtown and Segundo Barrio historic districts. He took advantage of the federal and state historic tax credits to restore the 91-year old Basset Tower, now an Aloft Hotel, and the 104-year-old Martin Building, now the Martin Lofts, giving both new purpose and a new future. To him, removing the unnecessary and unenforced language from the city books is a no-brainer. That would clear one hurdle to the establishment of two large national historic districts Downtown and make financial breaks available to owners of significant buildings – but not owner-occupied homes. ‘The tax credits are very impactful,’ Gaddy said. ‘We would never have done the Bassett or the Martin Building without those tax credits.’ Gaddy said he already has plans for properties he owns that will be in the Downtown historic district if the Texas Historical Commission and the National Park Service agree on its creation.”
Have a nice day.
Max Grossman, PhD
Board of Directors, Preservation Texas