POSTED: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 6:43pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 7:00pm
Developer Wins Right to Destroy 230 North Mesa
El Paso —
The demolition of older buildings poses an inevitable conflict as El Paso begins to revitalize downtown. That's even true of buildings by Henry C. Trost. Trost, who died in 1933..is the undisputed master of architecture in El Paso and the southwest. Among his hundreds of buildings Trost designed and built El Paso High School, the great mansions which still define the character of central El Paso, 14 of our historically protected buildings downtown.. and 230 North Mesa, also called the Muir Building. This is the building which today sparked the classic preservation versus progress fight on the floor of city council. The first speaker was a man named Henry Trost. The architect was his great uncle..
Arguing for the preservation of the Muir Building and classic buildings in general. Trost told council, "I kind of look at it like a Christmas tree. You got a downtown with a lot of different buildings, and as you tear one down, you take a light or ornament off the Christmas tree, and it loses its allure and is no longer the same."
But Borderplex, the company with a contract to develop 230 North Mesa, and the two buildings next to it...came to council to argue the building must go. It's been vacant for four years and, cutting now to the bottom line..its what's called a non-contributing building-- no rental income, no products or services to help the local economy.
Bernard asked for permission to take the Muir Building down. "But if the council today were to deny our application for demolition wearing your historic preservation hats, the question becomes, where do you leave yourselves under the vacant building ordinance?"
With some regret, Courtney Niland, who represents downtown, moved that the demolition go ahead. Council unanimously agreed
Upset about the decison to destroy his famous ancestor's work, Henry Trost also sounds skeptical.
"I'm sad to see them tear it down. The others guys are talking about putting a building there, but i have a funny feeling there'll be a vacant lot there just like a lot of places on Mesa Street with parking lots and vacant lots. A sad ending to a Trost building? Right, and another vacant lot"