San Antonio Panel OKs Plans to Restore Historic Buildings and Construct 15-Story Tower
Weston Urban plans to rehabilitate the Arana and former Continental Hotel buildings for businesses, offices and "creative lofts." The work would include restoring the historic storefronts and windows.
A 15-story building would be constructed between those two buildings at the site, which is bounded by the creek and Commerce, Dolorosa and Laredo streets. It would house about 255 units on 10 stories atop a five-story parking garage for more than 340 vehicles.
Weston Urban plans to "develop the block as a mixed-use, mixed-income project" and "seeks to help enliven the San Pedro Creek redevelopment," according to documents prepared for the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).
The firm also would restore the Melchio de la Garza house at the site.
It served as headquarters of the Texian Army during the Texas Revolution and is believed to have been standing in its current location for more than 200 years, placing it among downtown San Antonio's oldest residential buildings.
In March, Weston Urban proposed moving it 42 feet south and 4 feet east of its current location. The HDRC gave initial approval to the plan, but commissioners and preservationists voiced concerns, and the firm has since decided not to move the structure.
The O. Henry House Museum , which has been relocated in the past, will be moved to another site.
Weston Urban is looking to partner with the Bexar County Public Facility Corp. , a nonprofit set up in part for the project. Under the deal, the developer would receive a property tax exemption in exchange for building some apartments for tenants at lower income levels.
Half of the units would be rented at market rates and 40 percent of the units would be reserved for tenants earning up to 80 percent of the area median income, which is $41,550 for one person and $47,450 for a couple, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development .
The remaining 10 percent would be for tenants making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or $31,140 for one person and $35,580 for a couple.
Rents would not exceed 35 percent of an individual resident's income, and the average rent-to-income ratio across all of the lower-priced apartments would not surpass 30 percent of tenants' income.
The Public Facility Corp. would receive $150,000 per year in rent, a fee of $250,000 and 1 percent of the sales price each time the complex is sold.
Weston Urban may seek historic tax credits for renovations at the Continental Hotel and Arana buildings, which were constructed in 1896 and 1926, respectively.
The former hotel has been vacant since the Metropolitan Health District moved its offices and lab space elsewhere. The city put the site up for sale in fall 2019. Weston Urban was the sole bidder and last summer received approval from the City Council to buy it for $4.7 million .
The HDRC gave conceptual approval to the plans Wednesday. The firm will need to return for final approval.
Office, restaurant upgrades
The panel also OK'd upgrades at a 10-story office building and parking garage previously owned by CPS Energy .
In February, the utility sold the property at 146 Navarro St. for $22.25 million to an affiliate of BH Properties .
The Los Angeles -based real estate company plans to refresh the offices and add a "food and beverage venue with exterior dining and porches facing the river and La Villita," according to materials submitted to the city.
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