GrayStreet Partners announced Wednesday that the company has purchased the former San Antonio Children’s Museum building at 305 E. Houston St. The developer owns at least seven other properties on East Houston Street — the entire north side of the 300 block — including the adjacent Court and Kress buildings.
GrayStreet also owns properties in Southtown and will celebrate the June 30 opening of West Elm at 210 Grayson St, near the Pearl complex.
At a Centro San Antonio cocktail event held in the Starlight Lounge inside the Majestic Theatre Wednesday evening, GrayStreet Managing Partner Kevin Covey told Centro members that he plans to connect the next-door Kress building, which has stood empty for over two decades, and the former museum.
“We will create one cohesive, unique space,” Covey said. “We will have office space above-street level and street-level retail. And by ‘retail,’ I mean ‘put in your mouth’ retail.” Plans include multiple vendors and chefs who will operate out of pods in a food-hall environment.
Covey said that a principal tenant will be announced in the coming weeks, and that a tech company, cybersecurity firm, and law firm are expected to sign leases, too. Construction and renovations are expected to take “the better part of next year.” Once renovated, the two buildings will add 100,000 square feet of office and retail space to East Houston Street, which is thriving after decades of vacancy and underutilized historic buildings.
“Given our existing ownership on Houston Street and the contiguous assets we have on either side of this property, we are the logical buyer of this iconic building,” Covey stated. “This purchase will further cement our position on Houston Street, allowing us to more completely create synergy. This will give us not only a competitive advantage in leasing and in maximizing value, but we also hope this will make downtown that much more exciting.”
The five-story, 43,592 sq. ft. building, which includes a basement and mezzanine, was constructed in 1935. It has been vacant since the Children’s Museum, now known as The DoSeum, closed in March 2015 and moved to its new location on Broadway.
GrayStreet, Weston Urban and AREA Real Estate all have purchased historic buildings located along East Houston Street over the last four years. Tech startups and other tenants are quickly filling many of the long-vacant and underutilized properties, leading to what is now being called the downtown tech district.
This story was originally published on Wednesday, June 22, and was updated after an interview with Kevin Covey.
Top image: A rendering by GrayStreet Partners showing plans to renovate and combine the recently-purchased 305 E. Houston St building and the neighboring Kess building. Photo by Robert Rivard.