The proposal for mixed-use developments for two parcels on the corner of South Alamo and South Market Streets was one of 11 total responses Hemisfair received from development firms around the country for the project since their initial call for proposals in March 2015.
After careful review and the shortlisting of first four and then two firms, the NRP Group-Zachry proposal was selected by a “blue ribbon committee of experts,” unassociated with Hemisfair board members or development firms, as the right fit for the job, said Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar.
(Read more: Suitors Line Up for Hemisfair Development)
Homer Williams of Williams and Dame Development, Bruce Petersen of USAA Real Estate Co., and Larry Speck of Page Architects made up the panel of seasoned experts in development, finance, and planning, respectively. The two “finalist” firms were graded by the panel on their “qualification packages speaking to their history, their financial capacity, and their experience with mixed-use urban projects around the country,” Andujar said.
The $165 million NRP Group-Zachry proposal includes roughly 800,000 square feet of leasable area, including 380 residential units; 75,000 square feet of retail space; 70,000 square feet of office space; a boutique hotel with 200 rooms; and potentially about 800 public parking spaces.
The downtown location near La Villita, the River Walk, Southtown and Hemisfair park itself mean they’ll likely have no problem finding future residents, retail and office tenants, and other customers. The proposed development plan will provide great “connectivity” between locations like Yanguana Garden, Andujar said.
Design renderings for the five-acre project will be released at a later date, pending project approval by City Council and Hemisfair’s board of directors.
Hemisfair policy requires a mixed-income component on every project developed on its public park land. The policy states that between 10 and 50% of units must be saved for those earning 80% or less of the area median income, which was $50,075 in 2014.
This is Hemisfair’s second public-private partnership (P3).the first was with AREA Real Estate who is currently working on a $25 million, 163-unit mixed use project in the park’s southwest quadrant. That project, specifically geared toward “entry level workforce,” will have 50% of units for those who earn 80% or less of the median income range.
The NRP Group-Zachry project will offer only 10% of units in the median income range, the rest will be rented out at market rate.
The goal for both mixed-use, mixed-income developments, Andujar said, is to increase “residential content” and to engage the entire San Antonio community looking to experience the park.
“We want to make sure (the park) is a place where San Antonians meet, and to achieve that we have to put residents here that are daily users of the park,” he said. “We want to make coming to Hemisfair more attractive for those that are coming to conventions and for tourists and also locals.”
HPARC is now entering into negotiations with the NRP Group and Zachry, and will seek City Council and HPARC Board approval based on those negotiated terms sometime in the future.
“We’re not predicting how long it will take,” Andujar said. “(That) will depend on how complex the deal gets.”
For now, the future of Hemisfair – which includes “increasing the park size and improving its quality” – has Andujar feeling optimistic.
“The beauty of this deal aesthetically speaking is just amazing,” he said. “What’s generally happening in Hemisfair is amazing, and I cannot be any more excited.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Zachry Corp. and Zachry Group, the company is actually Zachry Hospitality, LLC .
*Top image: The Hemisfair Distrcit. Graphic by Gustafson, Guthrie, Nichol. Courtesy of Hemisfair.