ONLY ON 9: Relighting El Paso’s Blue Flame building


“When the flame is blue, no change is due.

When the flame is red, warmer weather’s ahead.

When the flame is gold, cooler weather foretold.

A flickering flame means wind, snow, or rain.”

El Paso Natural Gas Co. published this verse to help El Pasoans remember the signals of the Blue Flame, and after years of being dimmed, it will once again light up!

KTSM got an exclusive tour of the old El Paso Natural Gas Building, which in the heart of an uprising downtown on Texas and Stanton St., will soon house more than 100-elderly tenants as part of the El Paso’s Housing Authority.

According to El Paso’s Housing Authority CEO Gerald Cichon, the Housing Authority will buy the 17-floor, 1953 building through a public/private partnership with Paul Foster.

The building will house 150-families, some of those in market-value apartments, with the first floor expected to be used as commercial space. 

Cichon says he is excited about the project, which he believes will head in the direction of improving people’s quality of life, while revitalizing downtown.

“As you drive by El Paso and look at the downtown, there’s a hole at night, there’s just a dark hole and this is now going to be lit up with lights. It’s going to come alive, you’re going to have families living here, you’re going to start to see a revibrance in downtown, but the historical building will be maintained,” said Cichon.

As for how the government agency will be able to afford the building, Cichon says it will be done through private equity as well as tax breaks and credits given to re-purpose the building.

“Having this opportunity right now, as downtown is starting to blossom, is really something you can see only in cities like this that are going through part of this transformation,” said Cichon.

This announcement will officially come a week from Wednesday, when the blue flame will light up for a bit and then later go dark once construction starts. 

Cichon says they expect to have families occupying the building by January of 2020.

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