30-Story Luxury Apartment Tower Aimed at River Walk

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The JMJ Towers River Walk. Rendering courtesy of B&A Architects, Inc.

The JMJ Towers River Walk. Rendering courtesy of B&A Architects, Inc.

JMJ Development, a Dallas-based developer, announced ambitious plans this week to construct a 30-story luxury apartment tower on the San Antonio River Walk downtown.

The real estate firm’s CEO Tim Barton said the tower will have 6,220 square feet of commercial space for restaurants and retail on the ground floor while the first six floors will host an “automated parking garage,” that will whisk parked cars from the ground level into stacked spaces above.

“(Residents will) pull up, park on the plate, lock it, and the plate is pulled into parking vending area,” said Barton, who estimates that the entire project, including the land, will cost about $50 million.

They plan to recover that cost through the rental of 201 units ranging from $1,500 studio efficiencies to $3,000 top-floor penthouses. Amenities would include a pool, gym, and roof-top common space.

JMJ Development Executive Chief Tim Barton

JMJ Development CEO Tim Barton

“The timing is right for a product like this,” Barton said. “You have a city that is proactive to make a development work … (San Antonio) is cooperative and open to dialogue.”

San Antonio’s emerging downtown real estate market might have attracted the firm to the city, but it was the City’s commitment to downtown development as demonstrated by its Center City Housing Incentive Policy that made Barton confident in the project called JMJ Towers River Walk.

“JMJ Development has met with (Center City Development and Operations Department) staff regarding incentives for the project under the Center City Housing Incentive Policy,” stated John Jacks, CCDO interim director in an email. “An incentive agreement has not yet been executed but, per the policy, the project would be eligible for fee waivers, low-interest loans, and a tax rebate, all subject to funding availability and design approval by (Historic and Design Review Commission).”

As far as an affordability component to its rent structure, “we’re considering how to integrate it,” Barton said.

The firm is currently under contract to purchase the vacant 0.35-acre property – which works out to be about almost 15,250 square feet.

Google Earth view of the project site.

Google Earth view of the JMJ Towers River Walk project site.

Barton said it was atypical to announce building plans before such steps were finalized, but that they wanted to be “good neighbors and let everyone know what’s going on.”

Because it sits inside a River Improvement Overlay District, designs for the building will go through HDRC. Local architecture firm B&A Architects is working on preliminary designs, Barton said. “We’re a few weeks away from finishing up a design rendering.”

(Rendering at the top of this article is for conceptual massing, not design.)

The JMJ Towers River Walk is currently the largest proposed housing project in the Central Business District, is being hailed by downtown community leaders as a lynchpin for efforts to revitalize San Antonio’s inner city and the Decade of Downtown.

Some sources in the development community, however, have a wait-and-see attitude, citing the yet-to-be finalized property and financial/incentive deals.

If all goes as Barton plans, construction would begin this fall and it would take about 2 1/2 years before move-in.

JMJ has been a part of high-end hotel, single-family, and rental real estate deals around the world including King’s Gate, a 870-acre master planned community near Medina Lake and luxury hotels in Mexico and Dubai.

 

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*Top image: The JMJ Towers River Walk conceptual massing. Rendering courtesy of B&A Architects, Inc.

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34 thoughts on “30-Story Luxury Apartment Tower Aimed at River Walk

    • There is no way this is happening unless the city pours money into this. Those rents are just too low to justify that cost of construction. They’re baiting the city by generating media buzz to try to get more incentives. Not saying I don’t want this to happen, but they haven’t even closed on the property. Not buying the “good citizen” justification for letting us know… I’m hoping that I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t get too excited yet, folks.

  1. Really? Everyone howling for affordable apartments downtown and the city is going to give away the store to yet another luxury building that few will be able to afford? If the strategy is for the city to invest its incentives in a luxury building in hopes that the added population will attract more businesses downtown, then apartments need to be priced so local people can live in them (and not Mexican nationals who rent/buy luxury apartments only for monthly/weekend visits). The city should be investing incentives and tax breaks in projects that will bring full-time residents/workers downtown, not simply putting up what is sure to be yet another ugly tower. And 30 stories directly across from the Tower Life building? Well, kiss that historic icon’s distinctive spot in the skyline goodbye.

    • Ever been to NYC? The mixing of old and new, modern and post-modern, Greek revival, Romanesque, etc. is what makes New York unique. Too many so-called experts voicing their opinions and or boards or societies made-up of self appointed critics who impose their preferences. Much of this has stymied progress as noted in canceled projects that has given San Antonio a sort of anti-progress reputation. Look at the movements in art. Who could be so bold as to decide that another’s work is somehow lacking or crude or even inferior based on the critic’s personal knowledge or experience. Let the market dictate! ‘Well, kiss that historic icon’s distinctive spot in the skyline goodbye’ are you kidding me? Another example of ‘CAVE’ people in San Antonio.(citizens against virtually everything).

    • Lisa–there are SO many affordable housing options Downtown. Off the top of my head–Robert E Lee, SoapWorks, Maverick (being redone and still will be affordable), and even the Majestic and Exchange Bldg (it’s only $1,000 per month for a large 1 bedroom, which is a steal). Did you COMPLETELY miss the article about the affordable apartments about to be built at Hemisfair? Can we not have ONE nice building go up without people like you complaining about affordable housing. It’s absolutely absurd. Please go to any other city and get some perspective on how affordable San Antonio really is.

      I would also like to note that SAHA has a multitude of sites it owns and just sits on (there is one 3-acre site across from the Lock and Dam they own that’s undeveloped). Why not put the onus on them to develop affordable housing? Spending $50mm to build a tower for affordable housing (sub-$1,000/mo rents) does not make economic sense.

      The 90% plus occupancy rates at the River North apartments should tell you that there is huge demand in San Antonio for nice apartment dwellings. Before the Pearl, people like me who want to live in a nice apartment and are willing to pay up for it had very few options for living in the Downtown area. I live in The Pearl, and I would absolutely move to these apartments and pay that rent (it honestly seems cheap to me). I am not a “Mexican national” (that’s totally racist, btw), and I’m here every day. There are plenty of people like me in SA.

      It’s 201 luxury units. Calm down. I’m dying over the below–CAVE people. Too accurate.

  2. Developer …….From Dallas…….King’s Gate (poor Mico at Medina Lake), luxury hotels in Mexico and Dubai. Seriously, does anyone realize what kind of development this firm has been involved in? Medina Lake , once a place where the public could enjoy the hill country, now to be privatized through “planned communities”. Our hill country “views” are only for out of town wealthy people in gated communities.

    Is it possible to find a developer to build this building who has genuine experience in our community and surroundings?

    Sigh. So like San Antonio to give it all away to such “a good neighbor.” A shark attack, really.

  3. If SA wants to get out of the shadow of Dallas Houston and Austin it needs to revitalize its urban core. Right now San Antonio is a joke bragging about being the seventh largest city in the US when it’s so broke on the inside. This kind of development needs to happen.

  4. This is awesome. Attracting economic investment from the outside means we are doing something right. This will add to the vibrant mix of people, businesses, activities that occur in healthy downtowns. People who are afraid of this do not understand economics.

  5. Great news!

    To those crying affordable housing, go get educated or go get a higher paying job. The Rim, Stone Oak, Medical Center, and Alamo Heights all have apartments for rent over 1k. These rents are great for a downtown high rise.

  6. San Antonio has been sitting on the sidelines far to long. Other Texas cities are developing and building beautiful vibrant urban centers while we’re stuck in the 1900s. Wake up SA!! Make this happen and heck… make it 50 stories tall. Shoot for something really eye popping.

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