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Gateway Hotel voted condemned, boarded and secured

By Andrew J. Polk, Multimedia Journalist, andrew.polk@kvia.com
Pilar Arias, pilar.arias@kvia.com
Published On: Mar 26 2014 11:33:09 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 05 2014 02:27:43 PM CDT

On Wednesday the Building and Standards Commission voted to board and secure the Gateway Hotel.

EL PASO, Texas - -

On Wednesday night El Paso Code Compliance officials showed the Building and Standards Commission just how bad it is inside the Gateway Hotel when they presented during a public meeting.

That means the saga of the Gateway Hotel continues, with a city commission voting Wednesday night on the fate of the historic downtown building. The city's Building and Standards Commission voted 5 to 1 to condemn and have the building boarded and secured.

The six members of the commission at the meeting heard from city employees on the status of the Gateway. Fire Marshal Orlando Arriola detailed the numerous violations uncovered by the city's inspections, including fire, electrical, and structural problems throughout the building.

The board also heard from lawyers of some of the Gateway's owners. They said they were concerned about the city's sudden interest in the building, but they were willing to work with the city to improve conditions and bring the hotel back into compliance.

"Well, I feel it's very positive," said John Granberg, lawyer for Grace Yun and Chang Yoon. "I think that the hotel is very historic, shows a lot of promise to be rehabilitated. I think it'd be very important to restore this hotel to keep the whole revitalizing downtown effort going. I believe the tenants of the building would benefit from it, and I believe there's a lot of future uses from that building."

One of the problems that the owners' attorneys said had been standing in their way was a federal ownership forfeiture order, which was just dropped yesterday by the federal government. So the attorneys say that gives their clients more freedom to bring the building up to code.

The owners now have 30 days to inspect the violations and begin fixing them. If they don't, city officials can take further action. Keep in mind, the owners were warned to fix the problems during a February inspection. They were told that El Paso Fire Department would return March 10. It was during the multiple-agency inspection on that date that it was determined nothing had been repaired and the building was an imminent hazard to its occupants.

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