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Block by block, buildings and businesses change in downtown
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO- Texas: Certain sections of a transforming downtown El Paso may not even be recognizable in a few months.
Relators tell KFOX14 big changes are happening for buildings and business in downtown, inspired by the anticipation of an economic boom.
Driving along Paisano Drive, some of the changes are noticeable and some are still just blueprints.
One of the more visible changes is a brand new Walgreens off of Oregon Street and Paisano.
"You can see there are big corporations that believe in the future of downtown," said Steve Shapiro, a realtor with Remax.
A few months ago a brand-new, first-class, indoor "Mercado" opened on Paisano and El Paso Street. The space was once a flea market, but the owners converted it into an indoor facility with plenty of retail space. Two new restaurants in the "Mercado" are under construction.
"They really did a nice job with it," said Shapiro.
Just a block down, an old gas station, turned money exchange house, turned eyesore, will soon be transformed into an upscale Vietnamese restaurant.
The owners of the soon to be restaurant, Jessie and Yu Lin own several Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in East El Paso.
They're looking forward to breaking into a new market downtown.
"I love downtown. I think it has very good business potential to start a business in downtown," said Jessie Lin.
The Lins believe so much in downtown's future in fact, that they are opening two new restaurants.
"There are a lot of people that believe in the future of downtown and they see downtown as a good investment," said Shapiro.
The Lins are opening an express Chinese joint within the next week. The newly constructed restaurant, boasting Chinese style architecture, stands out among the clothing stores it is nestled between.
Yu Lin said he doesn't see downtown development as a risk.
"I see people opening businesses downtown, they're doing very well," said Lin.
A turn off Paisano, west on Leon Street, will lead to a building that once housed an auto repair shop. New owners redeveloped the structure into a unique space which is now ready for a business to move in.
"It's very contemporary; he has a patio in the back. It's going to be a cool space for an art gallery, a restaurant, a bar. It's going to be a redevelopment but I think whoever opens up here, people are going to walk in and say, 'Hey, this is a cool space. This is a great space to hang out,'" said Shapiro.
Shapiro said building by building owners will want to invest and make changes to keep up with their neighbors.
"I think in the future you are going to see a lot more owners have the willingness to fix up their properties," said Shapiro.