EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The former Mount Hope Lutheran Church is now being torn down with the hopes of a new property taking its place, bringing commercial development to the community.
The property is located at 9640 Montwood Drive, on the corner of McRae Boulevard, right across from Eastwood High School.
According to city zoning documents, the property owner hopes to turn the area into a neighborhood center with small shops and eateries.
Jason Barreras is listed as the property owner. Barreras was unavailable for comment, however his realtor, Rebecca Rojas told KTSM he grew up in the area, attended Eastwood High School and wanted to give back to the community.
“His mom still lives in the area, he knew the community was emotionally attached and when the church was showing signs of deterioration and nobody was taking care of it, he stepped up and wanted to do something to benefit the neighborhood,” Rojas said.
According to city zoning documents, the property owner is requesting to turn the lot into a commercial zone, bringing in about six buildings and a parking lot for small businesses.
Residents within 300 feet of the location were notified by mail on November 4, 2021, about the development.
As of November 17, 2021, only one homeowner responded with an email, opposing the center.
The couple living across the street from the location wrote an email stating they lived there for 50 years and said they were “strongly against the commercial zoning.
They listed factors such as noise, pollution and fear for an increase in traffic in the area.
Rachel Trevino, another neighbor, told KTSM she mostly worried about traffic since it is an already busy road.
“I’m a little against it cause there is too much traffic and it’s going to cause more.”
However, her husband said he was excited about the new development.
Other neighbors, such as George Younes, said it would be good for the community.
“It’s a good neighborhood it’s a good area I think it’s good for the economy good for the school everyone benefits out of it,” Younes said.
Rojas said the property owner wanted to bring coffee shops, medical services and possibly a breakfast location to the street and said there was a need for restaurants.
“We don’t have any small shopping center you have to go all the way to McRae or Montana or towards the freeway so this is very convenient,” Younes said.
Rojas said the property owner had several meetings with the Cielo Vista Neighborhood Association and took the neighbor’s input into mind when planning the development.
“We received lots of requests for restaurants,” Rojas said. “We don’t call it a shopping center in my mind its a strip with a line up of buildings we want to create a neighborhood environment with the aesthetics and buildings resemble what the Eastwood neighborhood.
The zoning needs approval from El Paso City Council, which will discuss the item at the February 1 meeting.