El Paso-based Hunt Companies has released a completion date for its new multi-story office building in Downtown El Paso: spring 2018.

The high-rise building would be the first built by a private-sector company in Downtown in decades. The last building to change the city’s skyline was the eight-story federal courthouse building that opened five years ago.

In response to an interview request, a company spokesperson provided an email statement.

“Hunt purchased the city block bordered by Mesa, Missouri, Oregon and Wyoming Streets in El Paso’s Downtown district last year,” the statement says.

“We continue to explore the viability of Hunt relocating its offices there as well as securing other users for the site,” it continues. “Contingent upon those and other efforts, the new building could be ready for occupancy by Spring 2018.”

Hunt has provided few details about the building, but a sign on the property shows a modern building clad in glass and rising about nine stories, with a rooftop patio.

Executives have said they are doing market studies to determine demand for office space in Downtown and the results will determine how high the building will ultimately go.

Located at 601 N. Mesa, the block overlooks Interstate 10 where it dips underneath North Mesa. Immediately west of the block, construction has started on the Artspace, a low-rise building that will provide affordable housing and studio space for artists.

Hunt purchased the Downtown block, along with the motor bank across the street, from BBVA Compass Bank for an undisclosed price in November 2014. It demolished the old two-story building on the property, which used to house a BBVA Compass Bank branch and Lone Star title office.

The block is paved and is now a public parking lot.

A sign on the property lists North Carolina-based Duda Paine Architects as the building design firm. Commercial design giant Gensler is listed as the interior architecture firm and El Paso-based Sonny Brown Associates as the broker.

Hunt Companies, which has $26 billion in assets under management and employs more than 1,200 people, has built high rises, research buildings and apartment towers across the country.

Email El Paso Inc. reporter Robert Gray at rsgray@elpasoinc.com or call (915) 534-4422 ext. 105. Twitter: @ReporterRobby.