El Paso, TX (KTSM) — With construction underway at San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown El Paso, empty store fronts and "For Lease" signs have replaced shoppers looking for a good deal.
Cecilia Burrows has been shopping in Downtown El Paso for more than 30 years and said she is sad to see the streets so bare.
"It's sad to see downtown dead, the construction and no business. I would like to have a lot of businesses in here like it used to be," said Burrows.
Downtown business owner Omar Mena said he is optimistic about the construction projects and what the downtown area could soon become.
"I like to see the progress. You're actually seeing it, you're not just hearing about it," he said.
While much of the retail space is empty right now, Mayor Oscar Leeser said plans are in the works to change that.
"As you see the investment in San Jacinto Plaza, and you see investments Downtown, those surrounding buildings are privately owned and people are starting to invest," said Leeser.
City Representative Cortney Niland said the renovations to the Cortez and Mills buildings are paving the way for other downtown property owners to invest in improvements to some of the empty spaces.
"We've seen huge resurgence and interest in downtown retail. I think you're going to see a lot of individuals invest in the area because it's such a great place to be," said Niland.
Niland said it's still unclear what the property owners will open in the vacant retail space.
Construction on San Jacinto Plaza is expected to be complete by February, 2015, and the baseball stadium is expected to be ready by April, 2014.