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.
"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.
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.