Tax Credit Program Highlight: Abdou Building

El Paso, El Paso County



Listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Commercial Structures of El Paso by Henry C. Trost nomination

Historic Use

Offices and retail

Current Use

Apartments, offices, and retail

Date Certified

March 3, 2020


Also certified for federal historic tax credits.

Project Contact

Urban Lion, LLC; Root Architects; In*Situ Architects


The Abdou Building was constructed in 1909 for the Rio Grande Valley Bank and is an early exploration of concrete as a structural and decorative material, by prominent El Paso architect Henry C. Trost. The building not only has a steel-reinforced concrete structure, but the entire façade, including the cornice and decorative ornamentation, is concrete. It was originally planned to be six stories, but the seventh story was added before construction was completed, along with the two additional storefront bays on the side elevation along Texas Avenue. The building was purchased in 1925 by Sam Abdou, for whom it became known.

Rehabilitation Project

The Abdou Building has now been rehabilitated for use primarily as residential apartments. The building has a unique quadrilateral footprint and each of the upper floors has been converted to a single unit, maintaining the central corridors with tiled floors, wood trim, and office doors (some with historic paint). Historic windows were retained and repaired to create brightly-lit apartments with views across downtown El Paso. New bathrooms and kitchens take advantage of the large spaces within each unit. Existing exposed HVAC ducts were retained, while mechanical equipment was replaced. On the exterior, the concrete was fully repaired, including sensitive patching. The altered first floor canopies and storefronts were retained in their existing conditions. An original marble lobby houses the stairs and elevator to access the upper floors.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • Each floor was converted to an individual apartment unit, incorporated into the historic office layout, with a central corridor.