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Entertainment district in West El Paso makes comeback

It wasn't long ago when the vacancies along this stretch of Cincinnati Street almost outnumbered the actual storefronts.

Then, slowly that started to change.

New businesses moved in.

Now, the vacancies on this one-block area are gone.

Suddenly, the Cincinnati Entertainment District is in the midst of a resurgence.

"What's encouraging about the development is that we're seeing a lot of different kinds of businesses," said Jessica Escalante, who owns Jluxe Boutique. "It's not just one type of business. It's not just all bars or all shops."

Escalante's shop has been on the corner of Cincinnati and Stanton for five years. She says Cincinnati Street is entering a new phase.

"It's almost like Cincinnati has grown up, too. It's a little more mature," she said.

For more evidence of exactly that, look no further than Kopi Coffee, a gourmet coffee shop owned by coffee-bean connoiseur Ahmed Orozco.

"People assured me of that, saying, 'Yeah, we do need a coffee shop here,'" said Orozco, who opened his shop four months ago. "I like to walk down and see Cincinnati but I don't want to drink. I want coffee. I want to study and lounge with my friends and that's what it's turning into."

While the entertainment district still boasts its fair share of bars, the landscape is diversifying. Places like Paradigm Texas in Kern Village come to mind.

"We curated every single item in this store," said John Zimmerman, who grew up in El Paso but spent the last 30 years working for some of the biggest names in fashion and design.

"I worked with Armani and Prada for many years, opening stores across the country," he said.

John and his partner, Robert Lomnicki, always dreamed of opening their own store. So when they moved to El Paso last year, it was time to try.

"I think we wanted to elevate people's lifestyle expectations by offering a collection of items and services that we didn't see here," said Lomnicki.

Paradigm Texas has only been open a few months, but John and Robert say the response has been remarkable.

"It's been enormous," said Lomnicki.

G2, Ardovinos and Crave have been holding down the food front for years. But the newest addition to the district is W at Cincinnati, which offers a mix of casual and fine dining with a full bar and creative menu items, like a tuna tostada.

"We used to have places here for 20-cent drinks and we don't want that to come back," said W owner Jurgen Ganser. "Kern Place is a nice place. Cincinnati is a nice place. We can't have any of that come back."

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