Empty Lot Near Main Plaza, River Walk to Become Hotel

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The vacant lot at 100 N. Main Avenue was recently purchased by Choice Hotels. Photo by Scott Ball.

Plans for a hotel will likely surface soon for the vacant lot at 100 North Main Ave., just north of Main Plaza, after preservationist Paul Carter sold the property to Choice Hotels of Rockville, Maryland.

According to Carter's broker, Choice Hotel will be looking into building a Cambria Hotel & Suites.

Cambria, one of the Choice Hotel brands and likened to some of their other hotel lines such as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn and Econo Lodge, are "upscale but never uptight" hotels with "modern, stylish rooms," according to its website.

The 0.4-acre lot is in the heart of downtown at the intersection of Main Avenue and East Commerce Street. The building was restored by Carter's father in the 1990s, but the lot has been vacant since 2011 when a fire destroyed the 1880s Wolfson building.

After the building burned down, he turned to the City for development input. Carter's broker, Thomas Nyman of Parman Group said the City conducted and partially funded a study on the site. The study determined that either housing units or a food truck court could best fit the space.

"(The study) helped to get the ball rolling," he said. "(A Hotel is) the next best thing (for the) high number of tourists who come to see the Cathedral."

Nyman said Choice Hotel's land acquisition team, which has been pursuing sites in top markets across the United States, caught wind of the vacant lot and pursued a deal.

Carter could not be reached for comment before deadline.

A vacant lot at 100 North Main Avenue which was recently bought by Choice Hotels. Photo by Scott Ball.

The vacant lot at 100 N. Main Avenue was recently purchased by Choice Hotels. Photo by Scott Ball.

The hotel is a stone's throw away from San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest standing church in Texas built in 1731.

In addition to local traffic that still attends services at the active parish, "The Saga" video art installation is projected onto the church's façade on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Some hotel guests will be able to see the installation from their room windows.

Main Plaza hosts variety of events including a weekly farmers market, a night market, an annual mariachi competition, bicycle rallies, and more. Main Plaza's position near the Bexar County Courthouse, Municipal Plaza building, City Hall, the River Walk, and several restaurants makes it a prime location for daily commuters and tourists alike.

Nyman thinks a hotel would be a positive addition to the area, but personally, he said he was "a little disappointed" that the property was not sold to a local company or individual.

"It would have been (sold at) a very different price" for a local, he said, who assisted Carter during the process. The deal was closed on July 6.

Another downtown hotel, the AC Hotel by Marriott, remains on the drawing board for development on the River Walk. The 21-story, 252-room hotel would be blocks away from the Cambria hotel and involves demolishing at least a portion of the old Solo Serve building on the 100 block of Soledad Street.


*Featured/top image: The vacant lot at 100 N. Main Avenue was recently purchased by Choice Hotels.  Photo by Scott Ball. 

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22 thoughts on “Empty Lot Near Main Plaza, River Walk to Become Hotel

    • This should be a grocery store. 😉

      In all honesty H-E-B is building a downtown store on S. Flores & E. Ceasar Chavez Blvd.

  1. What the article fails to mention is this was also the former site of the Yturri House, Santa Anna’s headquarters during the siege of the Alamo in March, 1836. The Alamo’s 18 pounder cannon hit the house during the siege. After the battle, all of the non-combatant survivors were brought here and given 3 dollars and a blanket. This included Susanna Dickinson. There was some talk after the recent fire that destroyed the more modern structure on the site that the Yturri house would be rebuilt to help bring back the lost history of the location. Now, some hotel is being built there. What visionaries.

    • Ned,
      You should contact Cambria Hotels, Even though they have a corp look, they try very hard to bring in local flavor to their properties to make them unique. I’ve stayed at a number around the country.

      Historic preservation-wise, it’s sad the original is gone, but better than a fake replica. It would never be recreated authentically. I personally think they should move all the buildings back to when the streets were narrower, but time moves on. We should pay attention to what’s left now and protect it going forward.

  2. The problem is we have exceedingly dull architecture being slapped together, with very few very welcome exceptions of our great local design firms doing good work. Look what became of the delightful, stunning Peanut Factory, now surrounded and hidden by exceedingly mediocre architecture, the same firm that is foisting giant apartment complexes by each of our sacred missions. Hotels are inevitable and there’s simply no incentive to recreate a house that existed in the early 1800’s. We don’t breed visionaries here. We breed mercenaries. Seriously rethinking my lifelong commitment to living in downtown San Antonio. It gets less and less rewarding by the year.

  3. What sad is that this will probably be another bland looking, mediocre building in our downtown. While I would prefer a residential or office building, I would take a hotel if it was something grand. I hope I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure this will be quite the opposite. Maybe they could had a mixed use component to this site, or is it too small?

  4. Interesting comments. Anyone that wanted something else try to purchase the property and make it happen…Guess Not.

    It’s a case of want in one hand and spit in the other…see which one gets full first.

  5. I wanted to complain about this hotel, and then I remembered that the hotel will be built on land which was available for sale, and I forgot to buy it. I am a history buff, and a conservationist, and I forgot to call all my like-minded friends to pitch in and buy the property while it was available for sale, so we could purchase the land…and build a historical building of significance or something. Oh, well. I guess I better be quite until the next time I want to complain about something.

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