Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Explosive growth and development continues in the neighborhoods immediately north of San Antonio’s urban core, and one of the latest proposed projects already has the backing of the Tobin Hill Community Association as it goes before the City zoning commission Tuesday.
PSW Land Acquisitions plans a mixed-use project of retail and for-sale residential at 246 and 252 W. Josephine St. and 323, 327, and 331 W. Grayson St., according to documents filed with the commission last month. The project would be within walking distance from the Pearl and would feature two levels of underground parking as well as street-level retail space, said attorney James Griffin from Brown & Ortiz, which represented PSW at a zoning commission meeting in February.
City staff has recommended approval for a minor zoning change for the property, which would permit greater density for the project. It is currently zoned for 40 units per acre and Griffin said PSW would like that number bumped up to 74 units per acre, which would allow it to build an 83-unit project on the site, which is slightly over 1 acre.
Documents outlining the project indicate plans to demolish buildings on the site. The Office of Historic Preservation must review and approve any demolition requests and none had been submitted for the project as of Monday.
City staff reported last month that 48 notices about the project were mailed to area residents, none of whom returned the notices saying they opposed the change. The community association submitted a letter of support for the project to the commission.
Cody Doege, president of the Tobin Hill Community Association, said the proposed density, the parking, and retail components earned the project the green light from the community.
Doege said he and others have been concerned about where all the people moving into the area will find basic services because too many projects are not developed with retail components.
“There are a lot of multifamily projects going on with no retail space or coffee shops,” Doege said. “If you live in a city, wouldn’t you like to have some retail spaces nearby and available? That was a focus of the neighborhood, and [PSW’s project] was welcomed versus just trying to put as many units on a piece of land as possible.”
PSW met several times with the Tobin Hill Community Association and responded to its request for affordable housing to be a part of the project, Griffin said. Units will be sold at market-rate prices with a to-be-determined percentage dedicated to affordable housing, he said.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Tobin Hill –a lot of dialogue and discussion,” Griffin said. “They asked for [some affordable housing units] and we said we’d do it. To do it, we had to bump up our units a little bit, because even with incentives we wouldn’t make any money off of it. So we increased the density by a handful of units to address that.”
Griffin said he and PSW are still in the process of understanding what incentives the project might eligible for under the City of San Antonio Fee Waiver program and the revised Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP).
A PSW representative said the company was not prepared to share renderings or other details of the project, because design changes are still possible. Griffin said the project would be six stories tall at its highest point and four stories in other places.
“We had good conversations, but I think overall the neighborhood supports it because it’s high-density with retail and they have agreed to include affordable housing,” Doege said.