Downtown developer GrayStreet Partners on Thursday of last week purchased a one-acre parking lot from CPS Energy, next to the Mexican Consulate and across from the Tower Life Building, in the heart of downtown.
The sale comes less than a month after CPS Energy sold its former headquarters across the street, 145 Navarro St., to an out-of-town real estate company with plans to turn it into a hotel. For the last two years, the city-owned energy utility has been selling off much of the real estate it owns downtown to help offset the cost of building its $210 million new headquarters on McCullough Avenue and the San Antonio River. CPS energy moved into the new headquarters in November 2020.
[ Related: CPS Energy sells former HQ to out-of-town firm with hotel plans | Jan. 5, 2022 ]
Peter French, GrayStreet Partner’s director of development, said in a text message that the firm plans to continue operating the site as a parking lot. He didn’t respond to a request for more information.
The purchase price was $5.6 million, CPS Energy spokeswoman Nora Castro said.
Over the last decade, GrayStreet has established itself as one of San Antonio’s most ambitious developers by tackling major projects such as the ongoing renovation of the Light building on Broadway into high-end office space, and by buying up numerous historic buildings on East Houston Street. The firm is now working with Midway, a development company from Houston, to redevelop the former Lone Star Brewery south of downtown.
» Main office building, 145 Navarro St.—SOLD
» Navarro building and garage, 146 Navarro St.—SOLD
» Tower garage connected to main office, 211 Villita St. (portion owned by CPS Energy)—SOLD
» Surface parking, adjacent to Mexican Consulate—SOLD
» Villita Assembly Building, 401 Villita St.
» Northside Customer Service Center, 7000 San Pedro Ave.
» Former Jones Avenue Service Center, 326 W. Jones Ave.
But many of the GrayStreet projects have not worked out: The firm once planned on building a $560 million master-planned development east of Broadway from the Pearl, but it canceled the project after the pandemic had a “dramatic effect” on its plans, its general partner Kevin Covey told the Heron last year. It has sold many of the buildings it once owned on East Houston.
[ Related: Pandemic derails GrayStreet Partner’s plans for Broadway East, delays W Hotel | Feb. 7, 2021 ]
CPS Energy sold the first of its downtown properties, the 10-story office building and parking garage at 146 Navarro Street, in February of last year. The new owner, Los Angeles-based BH Properties, won approval from the city to launch a $9 million renovation that will remake its office space and create a two-story restaurant space on the River Walk.
[ Related: BH Properties’ $9M renovation of former CPS Energy building in downtown San Antonio receives first approval | July 22, 2021 ]
The properties that have yet to be sold include the UFO-shaped Villita Assembly building, 401 Villita Street.
The utility has recently struggled with the costs it incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic and the winter storm in last February, leading its trustees to approve a rate increase of 3.85 percent on Monday, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
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
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