Commission Approves Rezoning for Southtown Apartments

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Courtesy / Davies Collaborative

This rendering shows the west street view of the proposed apartment complex at 400 Probandt St.

Three weeks after declining to approve the developer's original proposal, the City's Zoning Commission on Tuesday greenlighted a revised request to rezone a four-acre industrial tract in Southtown for apartments.

Developer Oden Hughes has proposed building a four-story multifamily complex at 400 Probandt St., the current site of the BFI-Acco Recycling Center.

The initial proposal called for a maximum of 95 units per acre and with 400 apartment units. City staff recommended approval of the original request, and the Lone Star Neighborhood Association endorsed it.

But on May 15, Commission Chair Francine Romero said she had heard that several neighborhood residents were concerned about increasing density, parking issues, and lack of green space in the immediate area.

Aside from residential spaces at the nearby Blue Star Arts Complex, apartment complexes such as the Flats at Big Tex, Cevallos Lofts, and Southtown Flats have opened  in close proximity to one another in recent years.

On Tuesday, Ashley Farrimond, an attorney representing Oden Hughes, said her client acknowledged concerns from the Commission and from neighbors, and decided to downsize the concept.

The developer now plans on a density no greater than 80 units per acre – a four-story complex with a maximum of 336 units.

"We feel this is a pretty significant decrease from what we requested a few weeks ago," Farrimond said.

Farrimond said the rezoning request and Oden Hughes' proposal both are consistent with the long-range Lone Star neighborhood plan and with area goals contained in the SA Tomorrow comprehensive plan.

Parking for the proposed apartment complex would be available in a new garage, she said.

Courtesy / Davies Collaborative

A site plan of the proposed apartment complex at 400 Probandt St.

The City's voter-approved 2017 bond allocates $5 million in planned improvements for Probandt Street, Farrimond said, which would benefit vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the neighborhood.

No audience members spoke for or against the proposed rezoning. The plan for the apartment complex will next be submitted to the City's Historic and Design Review Commission for consideration.

Farrimond said that Oden Hughes understands there's a demand for more housing options in the Southtown area, and that the proposed apartment complex would provide a compatible addition to the Lone Star neighborhood.

"With the significant rezoning that's been happening here the past few years, residential has been coming in," she said.

"I appreciate you reducing the density," Romero told Farrimond shortly before the Commission's unanimous vote. "Thanks for working with us."

6 thoughts on “Commission Approves Rezoning for Southtown Apartments

  1. “I appreciate you reducing the density,” Romero told Farrimond
    In other words, Romero is saying “I appreciate you creating 64 fewer homes for people when SA has a shortage of homes for 150,000 to 200,000 households” (market rate + affordable shortage)

  2. Oden Hughes isn’t done yet. Wait until the academic weirdos at HDRC completely redesign the project and make impossible to develop. Its too bad that the city cries for more residential and then makes you jump from one frying pan to another to get it done. Maybe Oden Hughes will use the city sponsored non-profit to avoid paying any taxes. And don’t forget about the city sponsored non-profit Esperanza Group that will surely oppose it. The city is it’s own worst enemy.

  3. “I appreciate you reducing the density” 70 households that won’t be able to live there won’t appreciate it.

  4. It’s not a pretty site to build residential, I wasn’t there for the vote and still would have voted “no” as residential is not appropriate for this active industrial strip. It’s dirty, its smelly, it has an active railroad behind it, graffiti buildings and cranes moving rusty metal, I could not imagine a family with little children living there. Better place for building residential living would have been the Dean Steel project, that is the missed opportunity for meeting our home shortage.

    • Turning ugly industrial into attractive walkable residential and commercial is the point. It’s ugly now, but demolition, new buildings, trees, sidewalks, etc… are what will make the area attractive for residential.

  5. The author omits the specifics regarding the zoning request, but it is likely IDZ and not specifically residential.
    IDZ zoning allows the developer to avoid storm water fees and other requirements. Since the $5 million in taxpayer improvements to Probandt is cited by the developer’s attorney it should be clear that they’re counting on the taxpayer to foot part of the bill.
    The developer should pay for the requisite sidewalks and drainage for its project, and not pass the buck.

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