City officials: Company demolishing Downtown El Paso buildings violated construction rules

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - 11:20pm

First they were targeted by protesters, now a real estate and property management company is in hot water with the City of El Paso for breaking construction rules.

River Oaks Properties owns several buildings in Downtown El Paso and received permits back in March to demolish 5 of those buildings.

"If there's a way of preserving it, if there's a way of reusing it, we'd like to help them do that," said Bernie Sargent with the El Paso County Historical Commission at a protest last week to save the buildings.

But River Oaks Properties moved forward with their demolition plans anyway.

Late Tuesday night, crews resumed demolition of one the buildings on Mesa and San Antonio, prompting the City of El Paso to investigate the company for violating the terms of their demolition permits.

"The demolition has to take place during what we call 'normal business construction hours,' that's between 6am and 10pm," said Javier Camacho, with the El Paso City Development Department.

City officials sent an inspector to the area on Wednesday and claim River Oaks Properties was demolishing all 5 of their buildings after hours.

"We're showing that there was no special permit to pursue a demolition outside the normal construction hours," said Camacho.

The company will now have to dish out about $1700 in fines.

During Tuesday night's demolition, crews didn't block off the intersection or cover the building with plastic, but the city says it doesn't require companies to do either of those things when tearing a building down.

NewsChannel 9 contacted River Oaks Properties several times on Wednesday for a comment, but a company operator said supervisors were unavailable to speak with us.

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