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An office building in the heart of the central business district is about to get a makeover and join the growing number of new hotels and residential towers downtown.

Work to transform the 1980s-era Riverview Towers, which sits across from Main Plaza, from an office building into a hotel will begin in April, said a spokesman for commercial real estate firm CBRE.

In the postmodern-style building, located on the corner of Soledad and East Commerce streets, the new hotel will be one of several recently opened or under construction in the area.

The hotel development division of Winston Hotels recently purchased the 20-story building and announced it will become a dual-branded hotel with AC Hotels by Marriott and Element Hotel by Westin.

AC Hotels by Marriott is a chain of 145 hotels for upscale business and leisure travelers founded in 1998 that became part of the Marriott system in 2011. Element Hotels by Westin, another Marriott International brand, is an extended-stay hotel.

“This property offered a unique opportunity for Winston Hotels to rebrand and reimagine an outdated office building in the prime downtown San Antonio submarket,” stated Whit Jordan, vice president at commercial real estate at CBRE, who represented Winston Hotels in the purchase.

Starting in April, the Riverview property will undergo renovations to turn the 298,000 square-foot building into 342 hotel rooms, 60,000 square feet of office space, and 3,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

A conceptual rendering of the redevelopment of Riverview Towers. Credit: Courtesy / Campo Architects

The Historic and Design Review Commission also approved plans in June for the developer to install a rooftop bar on the tower’s 14th floor, modify the facade, and install signage.

The building’s primary tenant, the City of San Antonio, will be moving out, Jordan said, and the remaining tenants, many of them local attorneys, will relocate to lower levels in updated office space. “Everyone has been given notice and is aware of the repositioning,” he said.

One block east on Commerce, an ultramodern, 24-story Canopy by Hilton hotel is under construction and is expected to open this fall.

The 197-room Canopy, situated on an eighth of an acre next door to the Esquire Tavern on the River Walk, will have a rooftop swimming pool and a high-end restaurant, according to developer Chris Hill, who owns the Esquire.

Also on East Commerce, between the Esquire and the Witte Building, an octagonal tower called the Floodgate is being built in place of several single-story buildings along the River Walk. The 17-story Floodgate will offer 64 units of multifamily housing.

In March 2019, an eight-story Hampton Inn and Suites/Home2 Suites by Hilton opened at 118 Soledad Street just across the street from Riverview Towers.

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is a journalist and writer in San Antonio, and a business reporter for The Rivard Report.