Scott Ball / Rivard Report
The AT&T building, which its nearest Alamo Heights neighbor has eyed for some time, is on the market.
The distinctive mid-century modern structure, located at 4119 Broadway St. and skirting a resurgent corridor that extends into downtown, is being offered for sale by the Dallas-based telecommunications company AT&T.
Designed by architect Atlee B. Ayres for USAA in 1956, the eight-story building has nearly 350,000 square feet of office space and a 500-car parking garage on 10 acres of land adjacent to the landlocked University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). In addition to its classic architecture, the building is the only such commercial office building in San Antonio with a bank of escalators that extends the full height of the structure.
A listing price was not disclosed, but agent Ed Cross, CEO of Cushman & Wakefield San Antonio, said there’s been a lot of interest in the property. Tax records show the property is assessed at $17 million, up from $14 million just four years ago.
“It is a great property and a great building in a great location. I always thought it was a great redevelopment opportunity,” Cross said, adding it could be maintained as office space, redeveloped into a school, converted to a “cool” tech office, or into housing. “We’ll sell to whoever is willing to pay the highest price.”
One potential buyer is the neighboring private university which has occupied the northwest corner of Broadway Street and Hildebrand Avenue since 1881.
“We’ve had our eye on the building for the long term,” said UIW vice president for Business and Finance Doug Endsley. “The obvious reason is the proximity to campus. It has parking and a lot of square footage.”
University officials have made previous inquiries and visited the property in the past, Endsley said, in hopes of acquiring the office building and converting it for use as classrooms, administrative offices, and possibly a residence hall. The university also is considering the renovation costs needed in formulating a bid, a topic that will be presented to the university’s board at a meeting March. 7.
Endsley would not disclose the price that the university would offer, and said he has heard others speculating about competing bidders but couldn’t name them.
An AT&T spokesman said the company is selling the property in an effort to better manage its real estate portfolio and make better use of underutilized office space. “Moves like this reduce operating expenses while creating more collaborative work environments for our employees,” he stated.
Employees located at 4119 Broadway will move to other offices, the spokesman stated, with most of them relocating to the company’s downtown San Antonio offices and a few others moving to various other AT&T locations within the city. AT&T does not release its employee numbers.
AT&T, which reported $84 billion in revenue last year, moved its headquarters from San Antonio to the Whitacre Tower in downtown Dallas in 2008. The company retains ownership of a 476,000-square-foot office building downtown at 105 Auditorium Circle, which the Bexar Appraisal District currently values at $8.5 million. AT&T leases space at its former 1010 N. St. Mary’s Street location, which it sold in 2014 to a New York real estate investment trust.
The Broadway property was one the first modern headquarters for USAA, a company founded by a group of military officers in San Antonio in 1922. The insurance and financial services firm outgrew that space and sold the property to Southwestern Bell Telephone company in 1974 when, under the leadership of Robert McDermott, USAA relocated to its current headquarters at Interstate 10 and Fredericksburg Road on the Northwest Side.
That move is said to have precipitated growth in the area, former ranchland, that now includes some of San Antonio’s largest corporations and the University of Texas at San Antonio main campus.