By Ben Olivo | @rbolivo | Heron editor
BH Properties of Los Angeles announced recently that it’s preparing to start refurbishing CPS Energy’s former office building on Navarro Street into what it describes as a mixed-use destination on the River Walk.
Last week, a small crew barricaded the breezeway that connects Navarro with South Presa and La Villita, but it’s unclear whether that was in preparation for construction work, or related to A Night in Old San Antonio, aka NIOSA, one of Fiesta’s popular events that uses the breezeway as one of its gates. The four-day event begins Tuesday.
Overall, BH Properties plans to spend roughly $10 million on the project, which will renovate 28,000 square feet of office space across the upper three floors (including terraces on each floor that overlook the River Walk), add 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail and two-level restaurant space, and make its 605-space parking garage open to the public.
The company also plans to create an urban pocket park facing South Presa and La Villita that will include Fiesta-themed murals, curated by Centro San Antonio, and “retail pods.”
“We’re excited to be able to have a project that we think will make such a big splash on a community,” Andrew Van Tuyle, the company’s senior managing director of investments, told the Heron in 2021. “It’s not often that you get to acquire real estate on the River Walk like that, in such an iconic location.”
Construction on 146 Nav, as it will be called, is expected to begin mid-April, and take 12-14 months to complete, said Anuradha Koli, regional public relations director for Gensler, the architecture firm behind the design.
The project is 100 percent privately-funded, Koli said.
[ Archive: CPS Energy sells 10-story building on San Antonio’s River Walk to California firm | Feb. 11, 2021 ]
On Feb. 5, 2021, BH Properties paid CPS Energy $22.3 million cash for the building, Van Tuyle said.
“We set ourselves apart from a lot of other real estate groups because we don’t have any outside investors,” Van Tuyle said. “We buy all-cash and then sort of figure out our financing later.”
One of the goals, BH Properties and Gensler says, is to “create a walkable district that will also connect to the redevelopment of La Villita and a new (Hemisfair) civic park.”
[ Related: BH Properties’ $9M renovation of former CPS Energy building in downtown San Antonio receives first approval | July 22, 2021 ]
[ Related: Restaurant, office upgrades planned for CPS Energy’s former San Antonio River Walk building | July 18, 2021 ]
In 2018, CPS Energy put six of its properties (most of which were downtown) up for sale to help offset the $210 million cost of upgrading a pair of towers at 500 McCullough Ave. for its new headquarters. It moved into those towers, which formerly housed Valero Energy Corp. and AT&T, in November 2020.
On Dec. 17, 2021, Blueprint Hospitality, a company with offices in Chicago and Houston, purchased CPS Energy’s former headquarters building across Navarro for $19 million, and has plans to convert it into an upscale hotel.
[ Related: CPS Energy sells former HQ to out-of-town firm with hotel plans | Jan. 5, 2022 ]
A few weeks later, GrayStreet Partners of San Antonio purchased the nearby one-acre lot next to the Mexican Consulate, and across from the Tower Life Building, for $5.6 million.
[ Related: GrayStreet Partners buys parking lot next to Mexican Consulate from CPS Energy | Jan. 11, 2022 ]
Heron Editor Ben Olivo has been writing about downtown San Antonio since 2008, first for mySA.com, then for the San Antonio Express-News. He co-founded the Heron in 2018, and can be reached at 210-421-3932 | email@example.com | @rbolivo on Twitter