A tiny park — or, parklet, as they’re called — is slated to be built along the Burns building on Jefferson Street, where there are four 2-hour metered parking spots currently.
The project received the go-ahead from the Historic and Design Review Commission on Wednesday. However, developer, AREA Real Estate and architect dwg. of Austin must add more trees than the two shown in the renderings.
The arrangement between the city and AREA Real Estate is still being hammered out, said Luis Miguel Martinez, AREA’s urban development manager.
“Most likely we’re going to lease that area from the city,” Martinez said.
The city of San Antonio has not yet answered questions from the Heron about the spaces.
The only opposition during the HDRC meeting came from the San Antonio Conservation Society, whose main concern was over the loss of parking spaces.
“The number of on-street parking zones downtown, especially commercial ones, is already at a minimum,” society member Patti Zaiontz told the HDRC. “Downtown businesses need commercial parking zones to ensure necessary access for maintenance and delivery of goods.”
The one commercial loading space at the end of the block, where the Burns meets Peacock Alley, will remain after the parklet is built. But Martinez said the city’s Transportation & Capital Improvements department will determine later whether it will stay commercial or become a metered spot.
At the meeting, Martinez, and dwg. Managing Principal Eric Shultz defended the loss of the four parking spaces, saying that amenities that benefit the pedestrians benefit downtown in the long-run.
“The differentiation of experience is what makes downtown space unique,” Schultz told the commission.
Schultz told the commission that the parklet is modular, meaning pieces of it can be removed and replaced with other pieces.
“If removal of some of these elements were needed, this could be removed in probably 24 to 48 hours,” he said. “There’s really nothing that is anchored into the concrete, at all.”
The Burns is in the middle of a renovation. In early August, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cogeco Peer 1 moved into offices on the third and fourth floors. On the ground floor and basement, Dallas-based Devils River Whiskey is moving its headquarters and is opening a distillery. Additionally on the ground level, barber Chuck Holdridge and a to-be-announced coffee shop are moving in in the coming months.