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Martin Lofts to open in August, apartments are part of downtown revitalization

Adam Ziegenhals
The old historical Martin building will now be restored for apartments, located at 201. N. Stanton in downtown El Paso.

As part of the downtown revitalization program, El Paso businessman Lane Gaddy and a group of investors renovating an area of downtown El Paso. There will now be a new set of apartment buildings at the old historical Martin building, located at 201. N Stanton.

Located in the heart of downtown, this declining area of the city has collected dust for a number of years. The buildings’ Art Deco style seemed to have lost their appeal to investors. Gaddy purchased the building four years ago and now the remodeled building will reopen in August as a 42-room, state-of-the-art apartment complex named Martin Lofts.

The starting prices for the new complexes, according to the Martin Lofts webpage, will start at $690 per month for single bedroom units. The lofts will include a keyless entry system, onsite restaurants and top-of-the-line appliances.

As the grand opening nears, the buzz surrounding the lofts has created a strong momentum around town and also with UTEP students as well.

Junior multimedia journalism major Yazmin Garcia said the revitalization efforts are much needed since it’s a beautiful part of town.

“I actually think it’s exactly what downtown El Paso needs.” Garcia said. “The city is growing rapidly, and the heart of our city, being downtown, seems to be left out.”

Garcia said she would consider moving there when it is finished, because of the building’s long history and for her love of the architecture.

“I definitely would consider moving in. I’m a big fan of downtown El Paso and its architecture,” Garcia said. “Coming across the chance to live in one of those buildings would be an honor.”

Not everyone was as eager as Garcia about the new lofts. Philosophy major Guillermo Estrada currently lives in Cd. Juárez, Mexico, and crosses daily to attend classes at UTEP. He said that the prices are extremely high for a student.

“Yeah sure they are very nice and luxurious, but at this moment school is more important for me,” Estrada said “I’d rather sleep on the floor with no furniture at all than to spend that kind of money.”

When it comes to expectations shared by businesses already established around the area, opinions also varied. Cecilia Ortiz, manager of the Sweet Corner, said she was concerned about when the time comes to remodel her part of the block, since her establishment sits at the bottom of Martin building and they will be forced to temporarily close.

“Right now we are in talks with the developers,” Ortiz said. “We can’t get on the same page on how the remodeling will take place.”

Another problem business owners are concerned about is the increase in rent prices since it happens anytime changes are made to an area. When the Southwest Stadium was built, Paola Herrera, owner of Healthy Bite restaurant, had an increase on her rent when the stadium was finished.

“Right now we don’t know if they are going to raise the rent or not, but when the stadium was finished, they did raise the price on us,” Herrera said.

However, Herrera was enthusiastic about the renovation since it will bring more customers, primarily on weekends, which are the slower days of the week for her.

UTEP economics professor James Holcomb said that any investment in the downtown area is bound to improve property value and the activities downtown, and examples of that can be seen in the revitalized Plaza area and the ball park, which have brought recent developments and new restaurants.

Holcomb added that while the retail area surrounding the renovated Mills Building has not been as successful as the city hoped, it was only a matter of time.

“Retail areas become more successful as more businesses relocate there,” Holcomb said. “(It) is question of having more people moving down there, but I think we are seeing the beginnings–this doesn’t happen overnight.”

Juan Raygoza may be reached at [email protected].

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    Matthew RobinsonJun 21, 2015 at 2:23 AM

    Those buildings look nice but I would prefer to live away from downtown because I don’t like traffic and downtown living no matter what.

    I am moving from Los Angeles, California (will be moving to El Paso later this year) and their downtown is always going through revitalization projects like this and gentrification projects.

    But the rent here in LA is way higher for buildings like this. What can I say, California is a greedy and high cost of living state.

    For all the students who feel this new building is high as far as rent (around $690 a month plus utilities) there will be tons of students who will replace them or who will move into this place and will probably share with other student(s) to make rent and utilities.

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Martin Lofts to open in August, apartments are part of downtown revitalization