Sketch of the 220-unit luxury apartment complex proposed for 120 9th St. Arist: Risden McElroy.

Preliminary designs for a 220-unit luxury apartment complex on the Museum Reach were approved by the Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday afternoon, the latest of several projects to add to the housing stock and activation of a relatively abandoned part of town just south of the San Antonio Museum of Art and west of Broadway. Local developers – and increasingly those from out of town – are buzzing about the real estate market surrounding the Central Business District.

“It doesn’t take a genius – it’s on the River Walk it’s a 10 minute walk to the Pearl,” said Mike Klein, director of development for Indianapolis-based SC Bodner Company Inc. “The City has done a wonderful job on the River Walk getting it where it is and assisting developers in (producing) the residential component.”

Sketch of the 220-unit luxury apartment complex proposed for 120 9th St. Arist: Risden McElroy.
Sketch of a river view of the 220-unit luxury apartment complex proposed for 120 9th St. Artist: Risden McElroy.

The development company has partnered with Texan engineering and consulting firm Big Red Dog, Indianapolis-based architecture firm Studio M, and local landscape engineering firm TBG for the project at 120 9th St.

“I’ve been in the market for about a year looking for a good site (in San Antonio),” Klein said.

If all goes as planned, more specific design plans will be presented to HDRC within a month and, if approved, they’ll break ground in late summer/early fall. Each unit will have a balcony and/or a small, private yard. Other amenities will include, well, being on the Museum Reach, a swimming pool, dog park, outdoor fire pit and a possible mini-bowling alley.

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About nine bowling lanes have remained relatively intact from the Turner Club bowling group, which built the clubhouse in 1940. Rising property values – and therefore taxes – as a result of the Museum Reach opening in 2009, forced the club to sell the property, start leasing the space, and then eventually move. The project includes demolition of the existing structure, which is not listed as an historic landmark.

“We think it’s really important when moving into a community to respect the history of things so we have our design team incorporating in the plans (elements) that pay homage to the Turner Club,” he said. “There is some neat old stuff that we’ll try to incorporate into the building.”

These will be luxury apartments, Klein said, but “we’re looking at (mixed-income) options with the CCDO (Center City Development and Operations Department) – maybe holding a certain percentage of first-year rents down.”

Depending on final design schematics, the project will likely qualify for Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP) for City and water impact fee waivers, property tax rebates, and low-interest loans.

Across 9th Street, literally a stone’s throw away, a 305-unit apartment is planned. The HDRC approved preliminary designs for 815 Avenue B in April. The project is a partnership that includes David Adelman of AREA Real Estate, developer Ed Cross, and architect David Lake of Lake/Flato Architects. Construction is expected to begin before year’s end and be completed in approximately 18 months.

A conceptual sketch of 815 Avenue B. Courtesy of Lake/Flato Architects.
A conceptual sketch of 815 Avenue B. Courtesy of Lake/Flato Architects.

*Featured/top image: Sketch of a street view of the 220-unit luxury apartment complex proposed for 120 9th St. Artist: Risden McElroy.

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Iris Dimmick

Iris Dimmick

Senior reporter Iris Dimmick covers City Hall, politics, development, and more. Contact her at iris@rivardreport.com