In 2019, the San Antonio Housing Authority pursued a partnership with JMJ Development of Dallas to build a mixed-income apartment tower kitty-corner from the Tower Life Building, while JMJ would build a market-rate tower of its own next to it. Both were to rise 24 stories.
The project, like so many others that might have embellished the downtown skyline, never came to be. But now another real estate firm from the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex has purchased the two properties and is considering whether to do something similar.
[ Archive: SAHA board gives nod to build St. Mary’s Tower with Dallas developer JMJ | Aug. 2, 2019 ]
Newstream Capital, based in Roanoke, a northern suburb of Fort Worth, bought them on Dec. 27 from two shell companies linked with JMJ, county property records show. One of the properties, 112 Villita St., faces the River Walk, across from the Riverwalk Plaza hotel. The other is across Jack White Way at 126 Villita St. and is home to a one-story building built in the 1920s, according to the Bexar Appraisal District.
Tim Nystrom, Newstream Capital’s president and CEO, said in a phone interview that the firm is “contemplating the previous plans” but is leaving open the possibility of pursuing a different kind of development. The firm hopes to come up with a more definite plan in the coming months, he said.
“We like the idea of multifamily down there, but we’re still considering other options,” Nystrom said.
Newstream has built mixed-use developments in Roanoke and is working on renovating a historic tower in downtown Louisville, Ky., with a hotel, apartments and retail, according to its website. The firm hasn’t done work in San Antonio, but some of its partners have experience with the market, Nystrom said.
“The downtown San Antonio market is thriving. There’s a lot of great demand generators there,” he said. “Especially that little corridor where the properties are—there are lots of projects on the table in planning and zoning.”
The area around the properties, especially on Villita Street, has seen a lot of interest from developers and investors lately.
A block to the east, at 146 Navarro St., Los Angeles-based BH Properties plans to launch a $9 million renovation of the 10-story office building and parking garage it purchased from CPS Energy early last year. In December, CPS Energy also unloaded its former headquarters across the street to Blueprint Hospitality, with offices in Houston and Chicago, which plans to convert the building into a hotel.
Last week, CPS Energy sold the one-acre parking lot beside the Mexican Consulate—across the street from the 126 Villita St. site—to local development firm GrayStreet Partners.
Last month, the real estate firm Strategic Property Investment, with offices in Dallas and Austin, bought the 338-unit Encore SoFlo apartment complex, a couple blocks southwest of Newstream’s purchases.
Nystrom declined to share the purchase price. Last year, the Bexar Appraisal District valued the two properties at a total of $4.7 million. Newstream took out a loan of $3.5 million as part of the transaction, county property records show.
Richard Webner is a freelance journalist covering Austin and San Antonio, and a former San Antonio Express-News business reporter. Follow him at @RWebner on Twitter