PSW Real Estate officially broke ground on a 32-unit housing development in the so-called Lone Star Arts District Monday morning. Unlike several other recent projects that have brought hundreds of apartments and condos to the area, this is the first large batch of new single-family homes to the neighborhood that flanks the near-Southside industrial district and Southtown. While some warehouses and industrial parks in the area are still being used for their original purposes, they are increasingly converted into art galleries, housing, and offices.
“We’ve got lots of for-rent properties right here with Southtown Flats and we have Big Tex coming online, so we continue to see this great revitalization in our area, especially for housing,” Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) said during a press conference on Monday at the construction site for Clay Street Homes. “This is one of the first single-family residential projects we’ve seen here in a long time, (it is) contributing to the vibrancy and desirability of a community like this one.”
The site plan for the former vacant lot at 330 Clay St. is for several rows of small, two-story homes, most of which will share greenspace between their front doors instead of streets. Developers began the first phase with nine houses that are expected to be finished in October – all of which have been purchased. The entire project is slated for completion by late summer in 2017.
Michael Padavic, director of architecture and planning at PSW, said that because of the project’s high density, the neighborhood layout has a centralized parking area to decrease traffic and to encourage interaction with the pedestrian walkways and park area.
“Although some of the spaces are a little smaller, we anticipate that people are going to be outside enjoying the community and enjoying their neighbors in the common area,” Padavic said during a press announcement on Monday.
Clay Street Homes are within short walking distance of Blue Star Arts Complex and the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, but is currently cut off from the greater Southtown area by Probandt Street which lacks sidewalks and safe pedestrian cross walks.
(Editor's Note: While the City called this neighborhood the Lone Star Arts District, the Lone Star community and several business owners has been rebranded under Southtown The Arts District.)
Gonzales said she's looking into securing funds from the 2017 city bond to address pedestrian safety on Probandt Street.
The houses, ranging from two- to three-bedrooms and 1,250 to 1,675 square feet will be outfitted with solar panels from Lighthouse Solar. In a press release, PSW stated that homeowners will own their solar panels.
Ross Wilson, PSW lead developer, said that the company is excited to see what effect the 2-acre development will have on District 5.
“We are passionate about growing our cities in an urban way, in a way that promotes pedestrian-friendly communities, strengthens communities with home ownership, and is an overall benefit to the sustainable future of our communities and our cities,” Wilson said.
The project is part of the Center City Housing Initiative Program and will receive $764,497 in incentives from the City. Approximately $200,000 was granted in fee waivers and over $500,000 will go toward tax-based rebates, Wilson said.
Stan Pipkin, Lighthouse Solar VP managing director, said that residents can expect to see their electric bills cut almost in half. Houses will also have foam insulation and thicker walls to increase energy conservation.
“The houses are small, manageable and affordable, which means that solar gets more affordable (for each house),” Pipkin said.
The focus on sustainability fits with CPS Energy's plan to turn a decommissioned power plant into and education and innovation campus called the EPIcenter nearby on the Mission Reach. The former Lone Star Brewery is also in the beginning stages of redevelopment, and residential developers are buying nearby vacant lots with plans for urban homes and apartment complexes in the burgeoning neighborhood.
Gonzales said that with increased single-family home ownership, the area will see a great revitalization.
“For many of you all who have been in the neighborhood for a long time, we know that this area, this lot was vacant for many, many years, underutilized and just a blight on the community,” Gonzales said. “We’re just so exited about the new homes that are coming online here, and I hope the new residents enjoy their new neighborhood as much as I do.”
Top image: Construction continues at 330 Clay St. on the development of 32 residential single-family home. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.