A number of contributors have written articles for The Rivard Report exploring life and work in San Antonio and some of its neighborhoods in the central city. The growing number of new downtown residential properties led us to invite a number of downtown residents to contribute to a new series, "Where I Live." We begin with a look at 1221 Broadway. Coming stories will feature the Pearl, the Vistana, the Vidorra, the St. Benedict's, Judson Candy Factory and Cevallos Lofts, among other downtown developments.
I am a transplant to San Antonio. Originally from Belton, Texas, a small town 140 miles north of San Antonio, I spent five years in College Station prior to planting my stakes in the Alamo City. At Texas A&M I received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance & Accounting in December of 2008. Afterwards, I earned a Master of Real Estate through the finance department at A&M's Mays Business School.
During my final semester, I interviewed across the state and on the East Coast. After my first interview with Hixon Properties, I knew I had to be a part of what was going on in San Antonio. The city’s firm foundation in a unique culture, history, and tourism is undeniable. The inherent potential of the city’s future trajectory and wide array of opportunities for me to contribute to the city’s progress are remarkable. The combination of the two seemed simply unmatched. I moved to Sunset Ridge Apartments, a stopover in the rental journey of so many San Antonio natives, and started with Hixon in June of 2010.
Eight months ago I made the decision to move to downtown San Antonio. Somewhere inside of me I kept thinking if I am going to live in San Antonio, I might as well see the River Walk from my apartment. If I am going to live in San Antonio, why not experience the alluring atmosphere at Pearl, enigmatic energy of Southtown, and appealing ambiance of the Center City every single day? That very thought started a relatively short journey, which has caused me to fall even deeper in love with our culturally diverse, historically grounded, and ever evolving big small town.
As the logistics began to unfold, I realized that I had to choose a specific location. Downtown offers a wider variety of living options then one might think. My options were narrowed by my personal preferences. I was leaving a great location where I knew most of my neighbors and interacted with them daily, so I wanted to live in an apartment complex rather than a single loft apartment or small grouping of units, which are common downtown. Other considerations included my 75-pound dog, Goldendoodle, my strong desire to be on the San Antonio River, overall safety, proximity to Alamo Heights where I volunteer multiple times a week, and of course, price.
There are a lot of great neighborhoods and niches in downtown, but River North was the best fit for me. The options there keep multiplying. A drive down Broadway these days means construction workers busy on either both sides of the avenue, cranes dotting the sky, and building facades dressing up stick and concrete frames seemingly overnight. The growth now visible in River North was in a much earlier stage of development at the time I chose to be a part of downtown, but it was coming. That as definitely a factor in my selection of 1221. The presence of more than 250 residents on two small city blocks, the pet friendly environment, ease of accessibility, security, and relative affordability, won me over.
My notions of what it would be like to live downtown at 1221 are affirmed every day. Nestled between the heart of the bustling Central Business District and the Midtown/Alamo Heights area, 1221 is well-connected with easy access to Broadway, 281, I-35, and I-10. Several H-E-B locations, including Central Market, are less than 10 minutes away. The connections to the Museum Reach of the river create a walkable environment where one can listen to live music at the VFW, enjoy a drink at Ocho with friends, attend Free Tuesday at SAMA, or grab fresh fruit and vegetables at the Pearl Farmer’s Market within a matter of minutes.
Julia Gleason, a fellow current resident, agrees, “I have really enjoyed my apartment at the 1221. Although there are several redeeming qualities, I think what I most enjoy is the location. Being able to walk to the Pearl Brewery via the River Walk is incredible. ”
The B-Cycle station at the complex provides yet another means of navigating downtown. Among other locations, there are B-Cycle locations near the Hyatt Regency, which hosts a monthly downtown trivia night, and throughout Southtown, home to First Friday and a slew of delectable restaurants, making nightlife easily accessible by bike. The abundance of festivals, performances, exhibits, and activities downtown are truly right outside my door.
I have gone on walks or rides with groups from 1221 more times than I can count. As someone who also works downtown, I rely on B-Cycle as well as the River Walk as a means of transportation to and from the office when the weather allows. I really can’t say enough about the walkability of downtown living. A VIA stop in front of the complex gives residents another option to get to work or nearby attractions and amenities.
The units themselves are modern, yet comfortable with high ceilings, warm finishes, and partially exposed concrete. Huge windows let in ample light which warms up the gray feel associated with concrete floors. Overall, the units have an upscale contemporary feel. Ample workout facilities along with the close proximity to the Museum Reach and Brackenridge Park can inspire on even the laziest of days. Area amenities such as community grills, a lounge area and rooftop deck/pool with spectacular views of downtown and Pearl, and the large ground level pool are great for hosting friends or just passing the day away. The complex’s recent integration with the food truck world of San Antonio has added yet another attraction to 1221’s growing list of market differentiators.
Design elements such as the density of units, single loaded corridors with exposed walk ways, and the variety of intimate interior courtyards create ample opportunities for personal interaction. The regular sight of smiles on familiar faces and friendly waves from neighbors give the complex a real sense of community. The ownership and management create environments conducive to building relationships among residents by regularly programming social events. Pet owners enjoy the on-site dog park, easy access to the Museum Reach of the river, and close proximity to both Maverick Park and the Madison Square Dog Park. It seems like most residents have a dog, if not two. I"ve met countless other residents through the dog community of 1221. I love that and so does my dog.
Controlled access and on-site security establish a sense of safety. Finally, the relative affordability of the complex promotes residential diversity. Units range from less than 500 sq. ft. to more than 1,100 sq. ft.. I've met teachers, chemists, architects, non-profit workers, military personnel, bankers, and retirees living there.
Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, said it best when he wrote, “Cities force us to interact with strangers and with the strange. They pry the mind open. And that is why they are the idea that has unleashed so many of our new ideas.”
I am proud to be a resident of downtown San Antonio. Projects such as 1221, among others, are adding a dynamic vibrancy to downtown, making San Antonio an even greater place to live, work, and play. After all, great cities have great downtowns.
Photos courtesy of Chris Cooper
Kelly Beevers is acquisitions associate at Hixon Properties, Young Leader chair at the Urban Land Institute, founding board member of LOOP, Witte Society member, and Young Life volunteer. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellybeevers.