The 111-year-old Caples Building downtown isn’t much to look at, but it’s on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s big, and it’s up for sale at a three-day Ten-X online auction this week — very likely El Paso first such sale.
The Caples Building belonged to Billy Abraham’s family for decades, along with a long-neglected collection of downtown historic buildings that Abraham lost to the city a few years ago, or sold to get out of bankruptcy.
Now it’s being sold by a Los Angeles investor, Siamak “Sy” Dardashty, who owns several buildings in South El Paso and outbid a crowd for the Caples Building in 2018 when it and several other properties were auctioned off to pay off Abraham’s bankruptcy debts .
El Paso real estate agent Sergio Tinajero, who is preparing for the expanded auction, said there are five strong builders and others from out of town interested in the sale.
“The winner closes 48 hours later,” said Tinajero, who is with Keller Williams Realty. “Expect the action to be hot and intense. So once you start bidding you have 48 hours to close the sale if you win.”
When asked about Dardashty, who had big plans for the Caples building and others he’s acquired in El Paso, Tinajero said, “Things have changed. During construction, prices rose. Several things happened and he decided not to go ahead with the development of the building.”
Potential uses for the Caples include conversion to an indoor self-storage business similar to Extra Space Storage properties offering clean, air-conditioned storage units that are easy to use.
“There are many office spaces downtown, but I don’t know of any in the area where lawyers can keep their files,” Tinajero said. “We also spoke to housing developers and office developers.
“We’ve had three groups bring engineers and architects into the building over the last few weeks. They registered there, but we don’t know if they will or not. We will know that on Monday.”
Registration is complete Ten-X.com and bidders must be approved in advance, he said.
“So far about 18 people are looking at the papers, but I don’t know if they’re bidding or not,” he said. “I know there are two groups that are very interested, but I don’t know if they’re going to bid or not.”
He announced that Paul Foster, a major downtown investor and developer, is among those who have inquired about the 56,000-square-foot building, which has been all but empty for the past 25 years or more.