El Paso’s Historic Plaza Hotel is About to Get a Makeover

El Paso has invested millions in revitalizing downtown.

By Becky Fogel & Rhonda FanningAugust 5, 2016 11:48 am| ,

Anyone familiar with the El Paso skyline knows the Plaza Hotel tower. It first opened in 1930 and was described as “Fairyland” by the city’s paper. The sheer size and design of the building quickly became the focal point of downtown. Elizabeth Taylor called the hotel home for a spell in the 1950s, but the iconic landmark has been sitting vacant for years – until now.

Robert Gray, a reporter for El Paso Inc., told the Standard about what’s next for the iconic site.

“It’s been sitting empty for maybe more than a decade now,” Gray says. “But a local businessman here, Paul Foster, announced recently that he’s going to be moving forward with a restoration of the building – which has made a lot of people here in El Paso excited.”

The towering art deco-style building was the first high-rise in Conrad Hilton’s hotel empire and reminds El Pasoans of their long history.

“In a way, it sort of represents El Paso in terms of the boom time back in the 1900s, the long steady decline, and the urban renewal efforts here,” he says. “It’s one of at least 15 major private sector projects moving forward just in downtown.”

Investors say this is a tipping point for the city, with several public and private sector projects underway.

“We did have a number of public sector projects move forward,” he says. “You’ve got the ballpark, you’ve got streetcars returning to El Paso, you’ve got the major bond projects. But we’ve seen a flurry of private investment activity.”

Gray says the city of El Paso estimates that the private sector has invested $110 million in downtown El Paso.

“And my back-of-the-napkin calculation?” he says, “I’d say there’s been that much announced just this year.”

Listen to the full interview in the player above. 

Post by Allyson Michele.

Post by Allyson Michele.