By Richard Webner | @RWebner | Heron contributor
A local entrepreneur plans to move the headquarters of his real estate firm into the historic Palace Livery Stable building at 115 Camaron St., which overlooks San Pedro Creek across from the Alameda Theater, after purchasing it last week.
About 20 employees of the firm, DJE Texas Management Group, which invests in multifamily developments across San Antonio, will move into the three-story, 7,175-square-foot building in late summer, said Devin Elder, its principal and founder.
“We’re really excited about downtown and the momentum it has,” Elder said. “Fundamentally, I just want to work down there. That’s the No. 1 thing. I’ve worked in plenty of uninspiring offices before I was an entrepreneur. Cube farms… I want no part of that.”
The building, behind the Penner’s clothing store, overlooks a segment of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park currently under construction. The Alameda Theater, which is currently being restored, is on the other side of the creek.
Another appeal for the area, Elder said, is the work of local developer Weston Urban, which co-built the new Frost Tower and is working on two major projects nearby: a 32-story apartment tower known as 300 Main and a 15-story mixed-use development on top of the former Continental Hotel.
“There’s a lot of momentum and energy, and we’re right in the middle of it,” he said.
It’s unclear just how old the building is. The Bexar Appraisal District lists it as being built in 1925, but the online portal of the city’s Office of Historic Preservation offers an estimated construction year of 1860.
A photograph of the building dated to 1905, on the website of the San Antonio Police History Archive, shows a “Palace Livery Stable” sign on its side and signs above its doors advertising “cabs and carriages” and “livery and boarding.”
A document attached to a brochure for the property from DK Realty Advisors states that it later served as the site of a fireworks company and as a boxing arena. Photos in The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Libraries Special Collections show a Central Candy Company as a former occupant. Between 1941 and 1972, it was the location of the Artes Graficas print shop.
Most recently, it served as offices for the Alvarado & Alvarado law firm.
The city has designated the building as a historic landmark, identifying it with the name “Artes Graficas.”
Elder said he plans to remodel the interior, but that overall the building is in good shape, having been renovated in the last decade or so.
He declined to share how much his firm paid for the building. The Bexar Appraisal District valued it at $997,000 this year.
Along with DJE Texas, the building will serve as headquarters for other companies Elder controls working in the fields of private equity and property management, he said.
DJE Texas typically invests in projects outside downtown, including apartment complexes such as The Helix Apartments in the Medical Center area, though it is a partner in the Travis Building project at 405 N. St. Mary’s St. Harris Bay, a California real estate firm, is leading a renovation of the 1920s-era building into 63 apartments.
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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