Hard Hat Required: Downtown SA Under Construction

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San Pedro Creek is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

San Pedro Creek is under construction.

Detours, scaffolding, and jackhammers, it seems, are the new sights and sounds of progress in San Antonio’s urban core. With three years to go, the “Decade of Downtown” is topping out along nearly every square mile of center city.

If it feels like all of downtown San Antonio is under construction – from streets and creeks to schools and skyscrapers – don’t look now, because several major projects are only in the beginning stages of development.

“There’s a lot in the pipeline as well,” said Ramiro Gonzales, interim assistant director of San Antonio’s Center City Development Office. “We also have any number of projects for which we have incentive agreements plotted on the map.”

Much of the work going on now, such as the Frio Street project, is the result of the $596 million 2012 bond program, and other construction is private-sector development, such as hotels and apartments. When voters approved the 2017 Municipal Bond, another $850 million was put on the books for 180 projects across the city. City staff and the private contractors they oversee will have five years to complete them.

“There’s also just a resurgence of interest in living downtown, so there’s a huge investment [in developer incentives] from the City in downtown in recent years,” Gonzales said. “And every dollar invested in downtown returns $10 to $15 in additional tax revenue we can use to support efforts across the city.

“We do have our hands full, but it’s a good problem,” he said.

For those who live and work downtown, construction can be a hassle.

“You’re probably seeing all the construction downtown, and it’s only going to ramp up because of the bond,” Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said during Wednesday’s “Ask Ron” broadcast with Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “We want to be sure that downtown is accessible to everyone as we begin these construction projects. We need to be thoughtful about access to downtown, access to neighborhood streets, and what all those impacts are going to mean to those going to work and visiting San Antonio.”

Planning your route? We plotted on this map some of the bigger projects you might come across while downtown in the coming months, and when they’re set to be completed.

 

CAST Tech High School

Freshmen gather in front of the entrance to CAST Tech on their first day of school. Freshmen gather in front of the entrance to CAST Tech on their first day of school.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Freshmen gather in front of the entrance to CAST Tech on their first day of school.

CAST Tech High School is an SAISD charter school moving into two unused buildings on the Fox Tech High School campus for the coming school year. The first building is complete and the second will be finished in time for the first junior-senior classes.

Developer: San Antonio Independent School District

Cost: $5 million

Estimated Completion: 2019

San Pedro Creek Development

San Pedro Creek is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

San Pedro Creek is under construction.

The San Pedro Creek Improvements Project will revamp the two-mile drainage ditch into a linear park with historical and cultural amenities to connect pedestrians to both the new Frost Bank Tower and a community amphitheater behind the Alameda.

Developer: City of San Antonio, Bexar County

Cost: $175 million

Estimated completion: Phase I, May 2018

 

Frost Tower

A large crane extends high above the job site of Frost Tower.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

A crane extends high above the project site of the new Frost Bank Tower.

A 23-story tower on West Houston Street with 250,000 sq. ft. of office space for Frost Bank employees and another 150,000 sq. ft. for other tenants.

Developer: Weston Urban, KDC, TRT Holdings Inc.

Cost: $142 million

Estimated Completion: Late 2018 or January 2019

 

Hilton Canopy Hotel

Hilton Canopy Hotel is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Hilton Canopy Hotel is under construction.

The 24-story, 197-room Canopy by Hilton hotel is slated for the corner of North St. Mary’s and Commerce streets and will restore and use part of the existing Sullivan Bank and adjacent buildings.

Developer: Crockett Urban Ventures

Cost: $60 million

Estimated completion: Spring 2018

 

CPS Headquarters

The future CPS Energy Headquarters.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The future CPS Energy Headquarters.

The former AT&T buildings on McCullough are being renovated for CPS Energy, the City-owned utility, to move its headquarters and consolidate operations on the 5.3-acre property. Plans also call for the construction of a new parking garage with space for more than 1,000 cars.

Developer: CPS Energy

Cost: $100 million budget

Estimated completion: End of 2019

 

120 Ninth Street Apartments

120 Ninth Street Apartments are under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

120 Ninth Street Apartments are under construction.

The 220-unit residential development borders the River Walk and will offer renters a parking structure, elevators, a clubhouse, dog park, and fitness center.

Developer: SC Bodner Company

Cost: $40 million

Estimated completion: Summer 2018

 

Jones & Rio Apartments

Jones & Rio apartments are nearly done construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Jones & Rio apartments are nearly done construction.

The 191-unit residential development on the River Walk includes 1,500 sq. ft. of retail space on the street level of West Jones Street.

Developer: Alamo Manhattan

Cost $40 million

Estimated completion: 2017

 

Hemisfair Civic Park

Hemisfair Civic Park is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Hemisfair Civic Park is under construction.

Civic Park’s great lawn, water features, and shady promenades are under construction, but the eight-acre park site won’t be fully completed for another three years.

Developer: Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC)

Cost: $58 million

Estimated completion: 2020

 

Hemisfair Acequia Lofts

The Area Foundation Development is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

The Hemisfair Acequia Lofts are under construction.

Site preparation has begun on this residential project that also will offer a 418-car parking garage and restaurant spaces facing Yanaguana Garden.

Developer: AREA Real Estate

Cost: $28 million

Estimated completion: 2019

 

Main, Navarro, & San Pedro Roundabout

Main, Navarro, and San Pedro Roundabout is under construction.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Main, Navarro, and San Pedro Roundabout is under construction.

The Main, Navarro, & San Pedro Roundabout project is part of the 2012-2017 Bond Program and includes full reconstruction of the intersection of San Pedro and North Main avenues. The reconstruction will include raised medians, 10-foot-wide “shared-use” paths to improve bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, curbs and gutters, reconstruction of existing driveway approaches, landscaping, pedestrian lighting, and other amenities. This project will include a public art component.

Developer: City of San Antonio

Cost: $6 million

Estimated completion: December 2017

 

Main / Soledad Streets

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Construction on Soledad Street.

Main and Soledad streets are being completely reconstructed to convert them from one-way to two-way traffic. Additional improvements will include bicycle lanes, curbs, sidewalks, ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps, left-hand turn lanes on Soledad, and streetscape amenities to promote pedestrian activity. In addition, Merritt Development Group and Vista Host are building a nine-story hotel with a River Walk restaurant and street-level retail space in place of the long-vacant Solo Serve building on Soledad.

Developer: City of San Antonio

Cost: $9.5 million budget

Estimated completion: December 2017

 

Frio Street Project

Construction is taking place to expand Frio Street.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Construction is taking place to expand Frio Street.

Curbs, sidewalks, driveway approaches, and drainage is being added to Frio Street between Cesar Chavez and Houston streets as part of the 2012 bond program.

Developer: City of San Antonio

Cost: $5 million

Estimated completion: October 2017

 

Alamodome Facelift

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Alamodome under construction.

The Alamodome is currently undergoing renovations in preparation for the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.

Developer: City of San Antonio

Cost: $9 million

Estimated completion: December 2017

 

McCullough Avenue Area Drainage

Construction to improve drainage is taking place near the intersection of McCullough Street and I-35.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Construction to improve drainage is taking place near the intersection of McCullough Street and I-35.

This project will provide drain systems that affect the roadways in the McCullough Avenue area and reduce stormwater runoff to the lower level of Interstate 35.

Developer: City of San Antonio

Cost: $15 million

Estimated completion: December 2017

 

Pearl Office Towers

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Pearl is under construction.

Two office towers will occupy the entire block between Broadway Street and Avenue B, and bring a total of about 344,000 sq. ft. of commercial office space to the Pearl. The 10- and six-story towers will wrap around a 950-space parking garage.

Developer: Silver Ventures

Cost: Not disclosed

Estimated completion: 2019

 

Savoy Hotel

The Savoy Building at 116 East Houston Street. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The Savoy Building at 116 East Houston Street.

Weston Urban purchased the vacant Savoy Building at Houston and Soledad streets in 2016 and renovated the upper three floors to meet the needs of venture equity firm Scaleworks. The street level is being developed for retail food and beverage, and the stone façade restoration won’t be complete until later this year.

Developer: Weston Urban

Cost: Undisclosed

Estimated completion: September 2017

 

Encore SoFlo

Courtesy / Encore Multi-Family LLC

A rendering of the proposed Encore Riverwalk.

Encore SoFlo will feature 339 rental units, consisting of one and two bedroom units. The development also features a structured parking garage with 420 spaces. Amenities include a dog park, pool and spa.

Developer: Encore Enterprises

Cost: $62 million

Estimated completion: Fall 2018

 

Hilton Garden Inn

The back sides of the Maverick apartment building (left) and Hilton Garden Inn (right). The first occurred between them on the fourth floor.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

The back sides of the Maverick apartment building (left) and Hilton Garden Inn (right) were damaged after a fire occurred between them on the fourth floor.

Three buildings were demolished on the 400 block of E. Houston Street for a Hilton Garden Inn, a 10-story hotel soon under construction by Baywood Hotels.

Developer: Hilton

Cost: Undisclosed

Estimated completion: November 2017

 

Light Project

The restoration project of the Light building will include replacing the windows, re-roofing, plaster and paint restoration, and more.

Hannah Whisenant / Rivard Report

The restoration project of the Light building will include replacing the windows, re-roofing, plaster and paint restoration, and more.

The long-vacant San Antonio Light campus, a 1931 Spanish Colonial Revival building, is being transformed into a mixed-use office and retail complex. The building was home to Hearst Corporation’s 112-year-old newspaper until it closed in 1993. “The Light Project,” as GrayStreet is calling it, will bring 60,000 sq. ft. of new class A office space to downtown San Antonio.

Developer: GrayStreet Partners

Cost: Undisclosed

Estimated completion: Spring 2018

 

Correction: A previous version of this article listed “the Heart Corporation” as the previous owner of the Light building. This has been corrected to the company’s correct name, the Hearst Corporation. 

 

4 thoughts on “Hard Hat Required: Downtown SA Under Construction

  1. They talk about new apartments or condos to bring people back downtown will not work for those that work downtown now as they will be priced out, the only ones able to pay the amount will have to make 40 thousand or more to live downtown.

    • Agreed! I live near downtown and I haven’t seen one “affordable” apartment complex be built yet. My neighbors are starting to be pushed out by rising property tax and greedy infill developers. Anyone on a fixed income knows their days of enjoying downtown life are numbered. Thanks gentrification!

  2. It’s a shame the article neglects to plot the trajectory of San Antonio’s ‘other’ and arguably most critical West Side and greater downtown creek systems — Alazán, Martinez and Apache.

    The article highlights the ENORMOUS public expenditure (at least $175m) for just two miles of downtown San Pedro Creek work, and mainly for efforts to pedestrianize channelized sections north of El Paso Street (more or less duplicating the River Walk) where mapped flood risk is slim to none and street level pedestrian path improvement options abound.

    In contrast, vital Alazán and Martinez Creek work — in the heart of zipcode 78207 and a few blocks from UTSA’s downtown campus — is delayed yet another year (the hopeful completion unceremoniously shuffled to FY2020 from FY2019) and cut some funds by the City’s draft FY2018 so-called equity budget.

    City proposed budget for the ‘other’ four miles of West Side creek work along Alazán, Martinez and Apache and where flood risk is substantial is less than the City’s commitments to variously lone parking garage projects at approximately $9m combined for the three creeks over the next three years.

    An interactive tool published by San Antonio Express-News shows the extent of known flood risk along Alazán, Martinez and Apache creeks and in contrast with low to no risk along sections of San Pedro creek downtown where the lion’s share of $175m in public funds seems headed. SARA’s approved 2011 Westside Creek Restoration Conceptual Plan similarly stresses the need to prioritize and focus funds, connecting trail, and flood mitigation work to creek sections other than downtown San Pedro creek — professional planning and flood mitigation advice paid for and endorsed by the public that the City and County appear to be ignoring.

    The City’s and County’s hypocrisy in doing so much for recent Hurricane Harvey victims and evacuees and so little to address known West Side Creek flood risk with public funds, including with the City’s FY2018 budget, is glaring. A walk along the first mere half-mile stumps of Alazán and Martinez Creek improvement work (only a mile in total completed since 2010) makes clear that this is not SARA’s or the City’s finest or even adequate creek restoration and flood mitigation work.

    The City can help turn the tide with the final FY2018 budget. The City should at least maintain but possibly increase the current (FY2017) budget for projects 26-00657 (Alazán Creek), 26-00601 (Apache Creek) and 26-00654 (Martinez Creek) and re-commit to completing and improving these vital connected trail and flood mitigation projects by FY2019.

    See:

    ‘Are You At Risk of Flooding’ (Express-News):
    http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/item/Are-you-at-risk-of-flooding-mod-83145.php

    Westside Welcomes Alazán Trail Improvements (Rivard Report 2016):
    https://therivardreport.com/westside-creeks-project-celebrates-alazan-trail/

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