American Furniture Building, when it was the First National Bank, at center of frame | Photo courtesy El Paso County Historical Society
The City of El Paso has taken a huge step toward dealing with an iconic structure located in the heart of downtown: The American Furniture Company building.
On May 5, 2016, the El Paso Building and Standards Commission issued an order related to the American Furniture Building, located at 105 N. Oregon, and owned by Caples Land Company, LLC. The attached Building and Standards order included assessed civil penalties and a detailed listing of issues that need to be addressed.
Late last month, Judge Linda Chew of the 327th District Court, issued a Final Judgment that upheld the Building and Standards Commission order with a modification regarding the civil penalties.
The Court approved civil penalties in the amount of $1,242,486.15.
The City is now authorized to enforce the Final Judgment and file a lien in the real property records against Caples Land Company, LLC and William D. Abraham.
Additionally, the property must be vacated within 60 days of the date of the judgment and brought up to code within 90 days.
“The City has been working hard to revitalize Downtown and we are making tremendous strides. However, we still have some amazing structures that have not received any attention for years. The property owner has not complied with building codes or orders issued by the Building and Standards Commission, I appreciate the court issuing this order to bring it up to code,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “Maybe now we will see some improvements and bring this iconic building back to life.
The American Furniture Building is immediately adjacent to two signature historic redevelopment projects, the Paso Del Norte Hotel and the Plaza Hotel.
Via a news release, city officials added, “The City is committed to revitalizing downtown and will continue to explore all legal options to ensure compliance with this legal judgment.”