‘Be Amazing’: City Council Should Block Deansteel Project To Protect Southtown and a Legacy

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The Camp Street residence sits 5 stories tall over the Dean Steel property in Southtown

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Camp Street Residences stand five stories stories tall over the Deansteel property in Southtown

When I moved to the Camp Street Residences in Southtown in January 2017, a neon sign greeted me in the lobby. Linda Pace was my friend, and though she’s dead, the sign spoke to me in her voice. It said, "Be Amazing."

I laughed inside. Easier said than done, Linda. We’re not all as amazing as you.

Linda gave our city so many gifts. One of them is Artpace, a space where artists experiment and take risks through their work. Artists come from all over the world to San Antonio to share locally with us a global view that says, We’re all connected, and we have a responsibility to look out for one another.

When Linda’s son died, she cultivated an unusual park in his honor for all San Antonians to enjoy. I see young people at CHRISpark every week, posing for graduation and bridal photos in anticipation of bright futures, families exploring the grounds, reading words etched into limestone benches that proclaim, "Today a puppy licked me," or, "I marveled a mountain." At night, lights illuminate the park in the actual pattern the constellations were in on the night Linda’s son was born – all reminders of how life is, and how we can be amazing.

And now Ruby City, the museum Linda had the forethought to hire world-renowned architect David Adjaye to create so she could share her extraordinary art collection with the world, is coming to life. Even after her death, Linda continues to breathe vital energy into San Antonio. She planned ahead, and she didn’t settle. 

Last week, the City's Zoning Commission denied a developer's request to rezone a property near Ruby City, slated to become a high-density, multi-story apartment complex. The vote fell fittingly on Linda’s birthday, April 17. She’s still giving us gifts today – on her own birthday, no less

designed by preeminent architect Sir David Adjaye

Courtesy / Adjaye Associates

Sir David Adjaye's design for Ruby City is based on one of Linda Pace's dreams.

With the Deansteel project looming, a proposed viewshed ordinance could help protect areas around local landmarks such as the Pioneer Flour Mill, Confluence Park, and Ruby City.

The team behind the proposed development, however, is rushing to rezone the seven-acre property next to Ruby City to build 130 units per acre, essentially adding to the area 1,000 families, 1,000 cars, a multi-story parking garage, and three apartment towers that would be six to 10 stories tall. 

Developers have requested an Infill Development Zone (IDZ) designation, which would allow construction of more than 900 residential units and up to 10 stories in height – They're asking for way more than they want so they can get way more than they need. The average density for the area is 33 units per acre. Deansteel should not be allowed more than that. 

Due to past issues with IDZ zoning, City Council at the request of Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) created a task force that is currently reviewing the designation and will present recommendations in May – likely why developers are so desperate to gain the IDZ designation.

Longtime neighbors with single-family homes in the area need protection, too, because with 1,000 more cars in the area, traffic will clog up Rische, Daniel, Guenther, and Sweet streets, as well as Camp and Flores streets. Extending Guenther Street across South Flores Street, as developers have proposed, won’t solve the traffic problem either.

The neighborhood cannot support this type of traffic and density. Looming buildings belong downtown, which officially begins north of Arsenal. Even at four stories with a parking garage, the Deansteel project would block views of Ruby City from the surrounding area.      

This project fits neither the zoning criteria for approval in the section on "Consistency, Adverse Impacts of Neighboring Lands or Suitability as Presently Zoned" nor the careful, unique vision the neighborhood and City have deployed in the past, with small retail and art venues popping up in support of our strong artist community. That’s why the City's Zoning Commission denied Deansteel's request.

Ruby City promises to put the King William/Southtown area – and the entire city of San Antonio – on the map as a globally recognized destination for the arts, thanks to Linda Pace's vision and generosity and careful collaboration with city planners. But now the developer will try to persuade City Council to override the decision, as it makes the final call on zoning requests.

The nearby San Pedro Creek has enormous potential, but allowing developers to rezone and run with their projects could transform a jewel into an eyesore by blocking the view of what is certain to become an international landmark. I commend Treviño, whose district is home to Ruby City, for initially voicing opposition to the development. (On April 17, he committed to working with both sides for an acceptable compromise.)

Deansteel's project is not appropriate for the area. It is a slap in the face of the people who, over many years, had a hand in shaping our city into one of the most unique, vibrant communities in the United States.

I hope other architectural firms and more thoughtful developers step up to propose a more compatible, exciting plan to Deansteel President John Dean, whom I would encourage to forego the current design.

I implore City Council to heed the Infill Development Zone task force's recommendations and see what innovative ventures bloom out of the proposed viewshed ordinance. To citizens, I say: Speak up. Your voice matters.

For Linda Pace’s legacy, and for our city’s sake: Be amazing.

51 thoughts on “‘Be Amazing’: City Council Should Block Deansteel Project To Protect Southtown and a Legacy

  1. I appreciate your opinion but there is so much hyperbole in your column. Ruby City is under construction but you deem it a landmark akin to Pioneer Flour Mill and Confluence Park. Come on now. It will be an awesome addition to the urban core but it’s not a landmark. Not yet.

    Then you say San Pedro Creek will be an international landmark. Sorry, as much as SPC Cultral Park will add to the west side of downtown and help stimulate development along its banks, I doubt it becomes an international landmark akin to I don’t know, the Alamo and other missions.

    Again, I understand your side and I appreciate your taking time to write this, but I disagree with you and like most people who don’t want development in their backyard, you use the two crutches that they all do when denouncing a development. Traffic and views. It’s a tired set of reasons and throughly played out.

    I can guarantee you the end result, if these multi story developments are built, will not be anywhere as bad you have painted,

    • I didn’t read this article as being anti-development. The neighborhood understands that density is coming and embraces adaptive reuse of its industrial buildings. But it will not tolerate density that is so completely out of whack with the environment. The article does leave out one important detail: the Dean family is unwilling to pay for the required traffic study and is asking for the zoning change without it.

    • San Antonio has long become known as a city that rolls over toe developers money. No longer. That’s over. We’ve tipped the scales and with world class operations like Rackspace, Geekdom, Techbloc, Scaleworks, the tech district and expanded universities etc are now a new kind of city, no longer dependent on developers money. Thank, God. So sell this somewhere else and be ready to not get what you want at the expanse of the well informed citizens of this world class city. No one needs this density of infill, the traffic congestion (yes, valid, always), the parking issues the impact to Ruby City. Pick another location.

  2. Derek,
    Do you know who David Adjaye is?
    All his buildings are landmarks.

    I don’t think anyone opposes the right kind of development, but IDZ circumvents the whole process.

    Make a real plan, go to planning, HDRC, zoning, do a traffic analysis… don’t just ask for Carte Blanche, this ain’t Houston!

  3. Well off the top of my head I don’t know who David Adjaye is but I do know this:

    Usually as far as architects go when you have to “know” them their work has a much higher probability to be self serving. Designed with themselves in mind. The people behind the curtains at the city eventually hate working with them and chisme everyday about them, they blow budgets and waste everyone’s (contractors, engineers, landscape architect, not to mention the client) time, create a distrust between the developer and architects (so developers get frustrated because they will now make less than projected profit and start marking up drawings like crazy and playing architects..then voila you have your cookie cutter boxes) its clearly more about their own egos than something that the end user can relate to or understand. You have to be an artist, architect, modernist or maybe just an elitist to enjoy it. Or you have to fall for the idea that wild looking (always wildly expensive) architecture is a net positive for everyone, no matter the cost to the developer or anyone involved for that matter. And furthermore, if art is subjective, and this is an “arts” community, then how is there a “right” form of development? How is there a “right” look to the design? Have you seen modern art work in San Antonio? Some of it is amazing, then theres some other stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily call art. It’s subjective and expressive, architecture is similar, but not the same thing. Isn’t the “right” way open to interpretation of the artist? Or is this a building for people? I’m not sure you’ve made the distinction about exactly what the community needs. To me it sounds like you want a museum, where the curator can live. The end.

    You know what is a net positive for the community every single time when there exists a high demand? Good housing.

    If you want good development you can’t just vilify the developers. That doesn’t attract good development. After all, Linda Pace was a “developer” in her own right. It’s just that when she does it, you call it “arts” and her “dreams” and how she gave back to the community. Never been inside but Campstreet looks about 6 stories tall plus the water tank for Batman to sit on that’s in the same height range proposed by the new development. 6-10 stories.

    You can talk greedy developers all day…at least they provide housing for people who want it…or is this part of town closed off to newcomers? Sounds like you’re trying to shut the gates after you just got in last year. Not very fair to everyone else. Linda Pace made it an area worth visiting, and because of that it is going to be developed…its the double edge to that sword.

    Her gift to that part of town was a catalyst for development, not the end result.

    Also those of you criticizing the way San Antonio is being developed by the greedy men, I really encourage you to buy a plot of land and develop it yourself. Give back the way Linda did. Try it. See what it’s like to be called greedy when you feel like you’re giving of your resources to try to make something good. Something that’s rightly yours by law. See how you like the Rivard Report articles and phony renderings of your designs published after angry reader submissions because this is “theirs” and not for you after all. Post the YouTube videos of people complaining about your work to City Council and making a big fuss over something you’ve cared for and cherished. To developers, these are their babies. They are a part of our community too. If you want to see a poor community, keep at it with the developers. They follow the money and they won’t kowtow to this behavior.

    Move along developers! They’re okay if this city deteriorates into a “dream”. It’s their community, their views, their streets, move along!

  4. We need more density! I love the prospect of going vertical with a proposed 10 story building. Although San Antonio has made tremendous improvement recently, we’re still 20 years behind most other major urban centers. Please bring an additional 1000 cars downtown. While They are “caught in gridlock” you can jump on your bicycle and easily commute around the inner core. And as a result, maybe the city will recognize that it’s finally time for mass transportation so we don’t have to rely on these vehicles.

  5. To be a good argument, it needs to come from someone who lives away from the neighborhood or in a neighborhood residence far enough away from the new construction to be more objective about the effect this project will have on the whole neighborhood. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking, “This person is upset because her Camp Street Residences mid-rise view of Ruby City is going to be blocked by proposed new mid-rise buildings and her drive to her parking lot on Camp Street is going to become more congested.”

    • To have a persuasive (or in your words “good”) counterargument, you need to have more knowledge of the situation. The Camp Street Residences’s view of Ruby City is the only view that won’t be affected-it’s next door on the same side of the block. It is actually the public’s view of Ruby City from San Pedro Creek and other perspectives will be blocked or overcome by looming towers. Mrs. Erck’s commentary isn’t coming from a selfish place – she’s bringing awareness to the fact that the city is lucky enough to have this gift from Linda Pace and we need to take care of it. If you don’t understand why Ruby City is so important, just google David Adjaye, Ruby City’s architect. If you don’t understand why CHRISpark is such a special place, go visit sometime. If you don’t understand the negative effect that more than 1,000 units on this property will have on the whole neighborhood, then you should have an open mind and do some research before dismissing the author’s argument as selfish.

      • I think Dansk Tex’s point is that the author’s point of view comes from a self-interested place and not necessarily the best interests of the city at-large. From what I’ve read in this commentary and in other places, the neighborhood has done a bang-up job of characterizing the project in negative terms to serve their own anti-housing position, rather than judging the development on its own merits. A 6-to-10 story building is by no means a “looming tower.” Has anyone even done a sunlight analysis on how a 6-story building would cast shadows? It is entirely possible that Ruby City’s glitter paint won’t even be affected by the development, but it’s clear that the neighbors don’t actually care whether their claims about shadows or traffic or parking are true. It’s a lot easier to say “I got mine” and live as though you’re somehow more entitled to the amenities of the community than others. Georgia’s line, “Longtime neighbors with single-family homes in the area need protection,” is all the evidence I need to see in order to know what this is really about.

        • As someone who hasn’t just “read about” this topic here and in other articles, but who was present at the zoning commission hearing to see, listen and consider the sides presented, I can tell you that the neighbors do not have an “anti-housing” position. Are you aware that the neighbors actually presented a compromise proposal to the property owner? And that there is literally no way to “judge the development on its merits” because the owner and “supposed” developer have presented the barest 2-d site plan with vague-at-best references to what exactly they are planning? And as for the sunlight analysis, the owner sure hasn’t done one to show that the single-family one-story historic home next door won’t be affected by a 6-story building that is located 6 feet from the home. Why would they? Pretty obvious what the results would be. I think the neighbors sound pretty reasonable, given that they’ve all said they would support a development that’s more sensitive and in line with other developments in the area.

          • Studies, studies, studies. Who pays for the study? It should be the property owner who wants a change in zoning, not the neighborhood. There are no property rights here; the owner is asking for new property rights but is unwilling to pay for studies or compromise with the neighborhood.

  6. It does not matter who the architect is or how amazing his/her creation might be. The proposed Deansteel building simply does not fit the character of the neighborhood. I’ve lived on Guenther Street for 39 years and, believe me, I’ve seen massive changes here. Some were delightful, some not so. I cannot fault people for wanting to live in this neighborhood, but it will not have the same ambiance or appeal if it no longer has scenic sightlines, or if our tiny grocery store is overwhelmed, or if San Pedro Creek — which we have waited to see redeveloped for literally a century — is overshadowed by ten-story buildings. Call me a curmudgeon, but hey, I live here, I’ve invested decades of my life here as an artist, writer, and publisher. When Bluestar first opened, I wrote the first NYT articles about it that drew major collectors. What Linda Pace envisioned and is accomplishing, years after her death, is indeed “amazing.” I am not averse to creative redevelopment. But there is a balance here that must be carefully maintained.

    • It’s odd to me, Bryce, that some people would discount your opinion simply because you live in the neighborhood. Who better to have an understanding of the project and its impact?

  7. John Dean’s feelings about our tolerant Southtown community were apparent when he hung his billboard sized TRUMP banners. That and building his metal shed directly across the street from the Camp Street Residences when he has 7 acres of land should concern us all about his intentions.

  8. Conversations about the future of the city have similar undercurrents as national debates. Should we be open or closed, dynamic or static, trusting or suspicious, responsibility to community and the future or responsibility to self and the present? The trends , especially amongst people who actually vote seems to be toward closed/static/suspicious/narrow realm of responsibility. How else could a thousand families be considered a bad thing?

  9. I don’t live in or near Southtown/King William, so let me state that I absolutely don’t want a high-rise high density apartment building to spoil one of San Antonio’s treasures.
    Rapacious greed seems to be Deansteel’s modus operandi and it’s up to us to keep them from destroying another landmark so that they can make a quick buck. It’s possible to develop in the overall context of a neighborhood, but this company hasn’t shown any desire to do so.
    In line with their underhanded practices, I would expect bribes and planted false remarks, so let me just say that I am a commenter with no vested interest other than the quality of life in San Antonio.

  10. Of course those who live in this area have more to say about the proposed Dean Steel project because they are the most affected. It’s easy to say that the residents of Camp street are just concerned about themselves and their views, but that’s only part of the story. Let me say that I too live at Camp Street, but on the first floor. My views of downtown are non-existent so the height of the proposed Dean Steel project has no impact on me in that respect. Here are some of my concerns:
    1. The residents of this area are being expected to agree to a IDZ for Dean Steel with no real plan, no designs, no actual numbers, and no real data.
    2. No studies have been done or even requested for traffic, infrastructure or other necessary services in the area. Yet again we are expected to just say yes to it.
    3. Whether anyone agrees or not, many of us moved to this area specifically because of the environment and what it had to offer. Ruby city will be a world-class art center, and It one of the main reasons why I chose Camp Street to call home. I don’t want to see it lost in the onslaught of 1000 new apartments and cars.
    We are not opposed to the development of Dean Steel. I think everyone agrees that it could be an amazing venture and an opportunity to add to this vibrant community. But the city’s own definition of what can and can’t be done in this area is clear and Dean Steel is trying to circumvent those rules. And to ask this community to blindly get behind this project with nothing to go on is absurd.

  11. I support the zoning change. Southtown is close enough to downtown to be an appropriate place for dense multi-family housing. We need more density in downtown and the areas directly surrounding downtown. More density. Less NIMBYism.

    • That’s it, just more density at the expense of anything and everything else? Not a very sound argument, if you ask me. How about, more density if the area can support it after a (real and not imaginary, as in this case) developer has submitted (real, and not zero, as in this case) plans and studies to the city, as is required for most multifamily and large-scale developments? Let’s have thoughtful growth and not just any growth. San Antonio (and you) deserves better.

  12. I serve on Zoning for District 9 and I fully support the zoning case for Dean Steel as they sell their property for development in residential living, which we are scarse of today. Dean Steel has held onto this land for decades and often “senority” rights exist for land owners on zoning cases, Camp Street and Pace are newer developments. While I appreciate the design of the Chris Park and the intimacy of smaller loft units, the property only belongs to Dean Steel. Work with them to develop an amazing area for both large and small, park and walkway for those coming into our city. With bike share, walkability, park areas, we have been preparing and investing much money for this very reason.

    • I certainly hope that “seniority” rights do not exist in any situation when requesting a zoning change. A new owner or an old owner should have to clear the same bar and the same standards when it comes to requesting a zoning change. If I’m a “new” neighbor and purchased a parcel because the neighborhood is zoned a certain way, I shouldn’t have to worry that my “vested seniority” neighbors get special breaks from the zoning commission simply because they were there first.

      I wondered about the absence of details about the quantity of parking spaces in the original proposal – that’s because an IDZ designation lets developers circumvent those rules. IDZ means fewer requirements.

      I also wondered about the attorney’s vague statements about the building height and claims that it could go higher by a request at the Board of Adjustment. But the lot is also zoned AHOD. It may be miles away from the airport(s), but if you’re being vague on vertical development in an AHOD while claiming “we can always ask for more vertical later” that is a warning sign that it’s not a well-baked proposal.

      The bottom-line for the attorney at the hearing seemed to be the number of units on the site. To me that is a reflection of a specific return-on-investment based on an average rental rate per unit. The zoning request appears aimed at a specific cash flow for the owner, not good design or what is site-appropriate – or even allowed.

      A zoning change request should be tight, with locked down details, and not relying on the duration of time that the current owner has owned the property.

    • I am so curious to hear more about the “seniority rights” you describe. I am certain that no such rights exist but still curious to understand what you think you are talking about. What I can only guess you are referring to are “non-confirming rights” but these would only serve to protect Dean Steel’s existing industrial uses, not the proposed new development that entails entirely new uses.

      I submit for your rebuttal that the idea that someone who has owned their property for a long time gets special “rights” to apply for new zoning is a foreign concept in literally every place that has zoning — it simply does not exist and would lead to some pretty ridiculous and absurd results if it were to exist. For instance, if this were true then anytime someone sells their property they are devaluing it because the new owner will no longer have these “seniority rights.” As someone else has noted, your idea means that someone needs to investigate how long someone has owned property next door to understand the zoning and how that could change as opposed to relying upon current zoning, land use plans, etc. What happens when Dean Steel sells the property — as they plan to — do these seniority rights transfer or do they go away? Do these “rights” pass be inheritance as part of some quasi-feudal zoning system?

      From a policy perspective, the flaws in your approach are even more abundant. Should the city really trying to discourage people from selling land with the fear of losing “seniority rights”? Don’t we want an active, liquid real estate market to further our economic development? Is it really fair for the government to treat citizens differently based upon how long they have owned property? How does it benefit society to privilege long-term owners in such a way? Doesn’t this meant that we’re discouraging new investment to enrich the people that already own the property? Again, this really starts to sound like something out of the middle-ages when feudalism reigned and people had different legal rights based upon their family history.

      I’m trying not to be too harsh in my criticism but since you are serving on the zoning commission and have put forth these comments, I can’t help but point out the problems with what you are saying. As a member of the zoning commission, you should know that your role is not to create new “rights” that don’t actually exist and are actually completely contrary to the egalitarian ideas this country was founded upon.

    • I concur there’s no such thing as “senority rights. There has been a great deal of development along the Museum Reach of the River, but it’s not as tall as the Dean Steel proposed tower. Why should the new San Pedro Creek Improvement be treated differently?

      • My company is in land surveying, senior and junior rights do apply to land in cases of boundary/deed conflict ….I’m using it in this discussion

  13. To the people who say they don’t know who David Adjaye is or the architect isn’t important… google is your friend. Use it.
    He. Does. Matter.

    Again, no one is against development.. we just want them to use the channels provided to do it. I.e. planning commission, HDRC, zoning, traffic analysis
    This is so they have adequate parking and set backs and height restrictions. Everyone else abides by this, why not them?

    If they care about their project they should want to follow these measures. It’s always better to have a plan!

    • The presentation by Dean Steel representative did address parking that all units will have parking space. When a project is approved by zoning it will go through the Planning Dept which covers approx. 22 agencies for review which will address all these concerns: traffic impact; arborist, drainage, streets even that all taxes are up to date and so on. Zoning is one of the processes needed before it goes to Planning Development for it’s full review.

      • Respectfully, commissioner Gibbons as former vice chair of the commission you and I both know they do not have to adhere to the presentation they gave at zoning.
        That is the whole problem with IDZ. It is created to fast track development for infill. Maybe there are tracts to be fast tracked, but this one having significant green space, architecture, and an entrance to SP creek is not a candidate for fast tracking sloppy projects.

        You can clearly see here:

        No traffic analysis required
        No site plan required

        https://docsonline.sanantonio.gov/FileUploads/dsd/IDZKickoffMeeting.pdf

        I heard your position on property rights, but why should Dean steel get to receive special treatment to be able to market their land to the highest bidder? Just because they have owned it 100 years ? Doesn’t that seem counterintuitive to the community we are trying to build here in San Antonio?

        Again, it’s not as though we are trying to claim imminent domain or say the property shouldn’t be developed. I would just appreciate it if the developer would pause and actually make a real plan he has to stick to during the building phase.

        Further, the argument Patrick Christensen made to the commission- I heard that a million times on that commission.. “I just have a lot of moving parts and want to keep this moving.”
        Well, boo hoo.
        I’m sorry you have to do more work Patrick, guess that’s just life.

        • I view zoning cases as to whether they are effecting the health, safety and welfare of the area effected. Welfare is subjective and in reading over the comments here many feel the welfare of our city and its housing situation would be at risk if this does not get approved. IDZ is an acceptable code to ask for and staff gave approval. Best for neighborhood and other projects to learn how best to work with developments around them, but not to block or bully them into limited rights to their property for economical gain.

  14. Bryce Milligan wrote the best comment.

    The wonderful architect’s building and our new FREE TO THE PUBLIC art oasis, thank you Linda, will definitely be amazing. But in that longtime steelzone space, which could happily house 1,000 sunflowers but hardly 1,000 apartments and 1,000 cars – something much better could happen. Use your imagination, city! Please help us, councilpersons, zoning persons, architects! Consider something gracious and more understated, which suits this old hardworking neighborhood, as the renovations of Judson Lofts & Camp Street, and the Housing Authority apartments in the park do.

  15. I live a few blocks from the proposed development in the Lone Star Neighborhood. How is it ok for Camp Street to loom above Ruby City and Chris Park but no other buildings can? Camp Street is 5 stories, but each floor has a higher than normal ceiling height so the building is actually the height of a 6-7 story building plus the water tower on top. Further south from Camp Street are South End Lofts (4 stories), Steel House Lofts (5 stories), Cevallos Lofts (4 stories), Southtown Flats (5 stories) and the Flats at Big Tex (4 stories). I hate to break to to everyone but mid-rise multi-family is already in Southtown. Even if Dean Steel built 10 story buildings, which isn’t necessarily what they said they wanted to do, it would not block the view of Ruby City from San Pedro Creek because it’s not between Ruby City and San Pedro Creek. Both properties are adjacent to San Pedro Creek. Ruby City is only 2-3 stories, so anything on the Deal Steel site that is 3 or more stories will “block the view” from the north. Whose view is going to be blocked? You can see it from San Pedro Creek, you can see it from Cevallos St and you can see it from I-10/I-35. I think that residential development that connects to San Pedro Creek is exactly what we need. If we want San Pedro Creek to be a vibrant linear park then I can’t think of a better way to accomplish that than connecting it to residential developments. As for traffic, it’s an urban neighborhood. Cars are parked up and down the street all day every day and that’s not going to change. More people will always mean more traffic, and as a City we’ve said that we want more people in our urban core. More people will support all of the local businesses that are popping up and encourage more to open. First Friday was the only thing that kept the restaurants on S. Alamo open for many years and as the population in Southtown grows those businesses are now thriving.

    • 5 stories is not 10 stories. No one is saying that development shouldn’t happen. And 10 story buildings is EXACTLY what their lawyer said they wanted to do, if you had been there, or had read any of the pieces that have been published here or in the Express News. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT DEAN STEEL SHOULD NOT BE DEVELOPED. The opposition is not asking for no development, or expecting that John Dean turn this into a park. They are asking that this development be in line with those very developments you mentioned. Some of the opposition even mentioned Big Tex in their speeches as being an appropriate type of development for the neighborhood. They are in support of mid-rise multi-family. 10 stories is not mid-rise and 1,000+ units is not the same thing as 3 or 4 stories and 200 or 300 units. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

      Also, Camp Street has been there for around 100 years. It’s a building that was developed in the spirit of this area–redevelopment of former industrial buildings. So that’s why it gets to “loom” at 5 stories (see above. 5 stories is NOT 10 stories). It’s a historic landmark. Again, apples and oranges.

      And the view of Ruby from 100 ft plus down the creek will be blocked. San Pedro Creek curves right there.

  16. There are some great visuals of the blocking that will occur that I am unable to post here, but I’ll post them to the Facebook link if you would like to peruse them there.

    The guests to SP creek will have a big ugly building blocking Adjaye’s building.

    Sir David Adjaye has been named among TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world – and is the only architect on the 2017 list.

    Is there another building in town that can claim to have an architect of this caliber?

    Isn’t that worth protecting or is More fast tracked mediocre housing really our priority ?

  17. I would imagine that at almost 62 yrs of age I am older than most commenting. I do not understand why the need for more housing, more density, has to be taken to such extremes unless it is for pure profit. 1,000 units? Unless it is a requirement that you can not have a driver’s license before you can rent, there will too much street use in the area. All the jobs in Bexar County are not downtown SA, all the jobs in the city limits are not downtown. There is life outside of the 2 miles radius around downtown. If you think making this city great I’d adding more boxes in the skyline, then I think you do not really know San Antonio. Ms Pace had more foresight than most. Chris Park is a gift to us all. What she did not have was a greedy soul. You see a lot of that lately. Oh but we need to change zoning because the developer can’t make money. Then they should find somewhere else or get more creative.

  18. It’s funny…I’m reading a lot about not blocking the view or keeping this area preserved. There are houses less than a block away from this “monumental” building with rusted roofs, chain linked fences in their front yards and 88 Dodge trucks with ladders on top parked out front. How about classing the joint up a bit with some new development instead of placing such a nice building in the middle of a street with 400 utility poles. New developments will bring more art, more tourists, creative eateries and more class to the area. Either way…it’s happening and the 15 people that showed up to protest just want to hike land value up so they can inevitably sell out, just like Steele.

  19. The writer and other nimby commentators are probably self-proclaimed liberals that tout de-segregation of the city, equity and affordable housing. Yet they blatantly fail to see the connection of housing demand, housing supply and housing prices, and oppose any housing in their backyard that isn’t single family or look like single family (definitely no apartments!).

    They shout neighborhood character, traffic, parking and, now, view sheds as reason to oppose any housing more than two stories. The same old song and dance in all of these nimby comments/articles.

    They bash the city for not having good transit options to reduce traffic, yet they oppose the density that would support it. They bash the city for not solving its affordable housing issues, yet they oppose any multi-family housing that would reduce the pressure on housing prices and any displacement that may occur. They dwell on parking issues yet don’t support good biking infrastructure that would reduce parking demand.

    As another mentioned above, there are already 5-6 story apartment buildings nearby and very few single family homes in the near vicinity…cannot argue neighborhood character on this one, nimtons!

    SO OVER IT!!!! Council…stop listening to the few, minority loud voices and start paying attention to the loads of others who support projects like this.

    • This is not NIMBY. The proposed zoning would have allowed for arguably the most dense development in all of San Antonio. Disagree? Then show we where else you have 1,000+ units on 7 acres? No one is arguing for single-family.

      If you are going to propose the most dense development in San Antonio in order to net millions of extra profits, why not be willing to at least spend a few bucks on plans and studies to prove to people that you aren’t going to create a mess? That is the real question here!

      There is a middle-ground but that requires the owner to make a few millions less on the sale of the property than the max payout — but realize he is still making many millions benefiting off the investment of the public in the Creek Project and the adjacent neighbors in improving the area. The land wouldn’t be worth nada without those investments that he didn’t contribute to at all.

  20. I suppose we should all cherish the view of the Candlewood Suites, Church’s Chicken and Extra Space Storage as those certainly don’t distract from a world-class landmark. And what’s another 1,000 cars in downtown… a blip. C’mon.

  21. So, private property is now the domain of everyone who thinks (nay, FEELS) that a building built by a significant architect deserves its own viewshed. There’s nothing that ever gave Linda Pace’s projects the right to their own enhancements. Besides, I agree, exactly whose view will be blocked?

    Go back to your private condo and look out of your own window at your significant building, which was never built with the intent that its view should be protected by those in the glass tower who are throwing stones. Oh my goodness.

    This is a city that needs density, and this kind of project, with a few tweaks, is perfect for this location. So in agreement with many of you here–get over listening to the loud few who support what they say with emotion and feelings, and listen to reason and real facts. If someone is willing to invest here risking the money to build housing, then bring it on. Density will fulfill the mayor’s vision for transportation, fill up the shrinking SAISD, and bring more life to an industrial area that has long needed to go. You can’t have it both ways!

    The same people who are arguing that how sad it is that downtowns are gutted of life protest this entirely too much. This is what you need, not what you need to oppose.

    Plant your 100 sunflowers on your own patch, when you own it and have a say over what it can be used for.

  22. I live a little less than 1/2 a mile from the development & I think it sounds like a great idea. Deansteel is across the street from the housing authority, next to Judson Candy Factory, and even the taller building on the other side of Chris Park is 6 stories. I don’t think you’ll get a better spot in the area for such a development without that much impact on the single family housing in King William. On the flip slide, what is the impact of not doing this? The area could remain industrial and more people will keep moving to King Southtown without sufficient housing. I for one hope they are allowed to move forward!

  23. This part of town is OLD.This development for a Thousand units will clog up the Old streets with high density traffic.Will there be a limit as to how many cars each unit will be allowed ? If you live here,will you work in the neighborhood ? Would you Bike to work,or Drive ?

  24. The City should allow 80 units per acre and require some non-vertical mixed-use. So, the owner can do a large multifamily wrap project at about 300 units, and can also add some commercial or retail space that could enhance the area. Overall, this will make the land value northward of $10m while also providing needed density and the potential for another cool retail option.

    Right now, and really for the foreseeable future, the rents in San Antonio really only allow a five story wrap project (units wrapped around a parking garage). There are a few exceptions near the Pearl, and there are some crazy projects being proposed that don’t make any financial sense and probably won’t get financed, but wrap product is what works right now in San Antonio. 80 units per acre will allow for two 280 story wrap products and a commercial space.

    No lender is going to give the go ahead to do anything more than 350 units at a time in the San Antonio market. So, we don’t need to worry about the area getting 700 apartment units overnight.

    The ability to do 80 units per acre will give the owner some flexibility while also ensuring a product that fits with the community and a product that is actually feasible in the marketplace. The owner deserves to make a good amount of money on his land. We need to have some more respect for our small business community. They work harder than all of us and usually get the short end of the stick.

  25. We should be welcoming of a developer looking to put 1,000 families within walking distance to downtown, instead of letting a wealthy minority of residents force such families out into loopland just to protect their precious view from their overpriced lofts. I’m sorry but we have 1 million people moving to the city in the next 20 years, where do you expect them to go? Oh that’s right anywhere as long as it’s not in your backyard.

  26. Fyi. 8 to 10 stories IS NOT LOOMING. it is actually the most sustainable urban pattern and density. We need greater density to get rid of autos. Rome 2000 years ago was 9 stories, and now we have elevators

  27. My residence at Judson Candy Factory Lofts is 11 feet from Dean Steel. Behind the metal pedestrian gate to Flores Street is an area the homeowners use as our outdoor area with seating, BBQ grill & green space.
    The residences in this 2 story building part of Judson are the largest sq foot units in the complex and on the average pay over $11,000 per year in property taxes.

    I’m not opposed to development but the current siteplan shows the drive entrance on Flores St at that 11 foot property line.

    This would adversely affect property values in this part of Judson.

    Also, it is almost directly across the street from the main entrance to Bexar County Housing which covers an entire city block.

    It would dramatically change the ability to use this area as it is currently utilized. This would create that area as being subjected to the cars of up to 1000 new units

    A traffic study is a must. Logic would move the entrance to the Dean Steel Development to the New Guenther Road and possibly add a stop light there.

    Also I’m am hopeful the Developer would agree to construct a solid cinder block wall on the front 1/3 of the Judson property line to allow residents to continue the same use & enjoyment of our small outdoor area & protect our property values & the tax amounts received by the tax collector

    Again, I’m not opposed to the development but it should go through the scrutiny & approval of a traffic study & site plan approval.

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