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EL PASO-In a move to relocate its Fallas Paredes store in the city’s old Downtown area, Gardena, CA-based National Stores Inc. has acquired the 210,000-sf One Union Fashion Center from a local limited partnership. The new store will open by year’s end.

Shawn Ackerman, executive vice president with Dallas-based Henry S. Miller Commercial’s Houston office, nearly vacant, nine-story building at 102 N. Mesa St. was a logical buy for National Stores. “Right now, Fallas leases three combined stores across the street,” he says. “It made sense for them to buy the building, occupy the first two floors and do something above it.”

The seller, VEK 2 LP, was represented by Dan Foster, a retail broker with Grubb & Ellis in El Paso. The buyer’s team included Jason Gaines, an assistant vice president with Henry S. Miller Commercial.

Ackerman confirms that Fallas Paredes will fill the first two floors. The remaining floors will be dedicated to office space and apartments. “There are tenants currently occupying the apartment section and they’ll leave that alone,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Fallas Paredes has just started renovations to the building, which is assessed at $2.4 million by El Paso Central Appraisal District. Designed by Henry C. Trost for Popular Dry Goods Co., the building rose in phases in 1912 and 1916 as a Popular Department Store. Popular reigned supreme over retail for many decades until it ultimately lost out in the late 1960s to retail mall development. The building was renamed One Union Fashion Square and remained vacant for several years.

Ackerman says, however, the building and its surrounding area are coming back strong. “There’s a lot of redevelopment happening in Downtown El Paso and that area has a lot of boutique shops and dress shops,” he adds, citing the drawing power from local residents and shoppers in Juarez City, just across the Rio Grande in Mexico. Many shoppers, in fact, are customers of Fallas Paredes.

“That’s a proven market for them and they’ve been there for awhile,” Ackerman explains. “They wouldn’t be buying if they didn’t think they’d be there forever. It’s kind of an outside-the-box transaction, but in the long run, it’ll be a neat deal for them.”

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