Earlier this month, the Bexar County Commissioners Court agreed to begin negotiations with Broadway SA Investors GP, LLC, a company affiliated with Pearl Build, the development arm of Pearl owner Silver Ventures, on a 10-year, 40-percent tax abatement on real and personal property worth an estimated $596,875.
During the meeting on Aug. 9, members of the Pearl’s development team updated county commissioners on the project: a $54.1 million, seven-story, 263-unit market-rate apartment building at 1126 E. Elmira St. across the San Antonio River from the Pearl.
“You can see now that Pearl has created this district that has then created more and more opportunity including housing and jobs and restaurants,” Omar Gonzalez, Pearl Build’s director of development, told commissioners. “I think this idea of work-live-play is absolutely the future. I know it got a little bit stunned because of the pandemic. But people do want to have a place that’s walkable, that’s urban, that’s convenient. Pearl is starting to build all of that. I think everything around that is starting to come together. This is in that vein.”
Gonzalez described a two-story concrete structure, or podium, on top of which five stories of wood-framed apartments will be built. He also spoke of housing for “artists-, musicians- and chefs-in-residence.”
“The idea is they can use what they’re working on to bring it to the residents so … there’s some opportunity for learning and creative exchange,” he said.
The ground level will include a restaurant space, and a coffee shop that also serves as the leasing office, Gonzalez said.
He also described “oversized parking,” meaning the project will offer spaces to the public, as well as the people who live there.
“We know how much parking has become in demand for this area (Tobin Hill), and we want to solve some of the neighborhood issues by making sure we have parking in this facility,” he said.
Commissioner Tommy Calvert, Precinct 4, had pulled the incentive request from a previous Commissioners Court meeting because of concerns from the neighborhood over the county incentivizing market-rate apartments. He said those concerns had been ameliorated by the county moving forward with a solicitation process on building and preserving affordable housing using $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, which commissioners approved later in the same meeting.
“I’ve always been supportive of the things you all are doing,” Calvert told Gonzalez. “When the taxpayers look overall at $500,000, it’s relatively small, to be honest, relative to the $54 million (total project cost) that are going to (create jobs).”
Gonzalez said there would be roughly 34 jobs created by the restaurant and the coffee shop/leasing office.
Pearl Build is also receiving an incentive package from the City of San Antonio worth an estimated $3.6 million—$3.1 million of which is a 75-percent property tax rebate over 10 years granted under the now-defunct Center City Housing Incentive Policy, or CCHIP. Under the CCHIP agreement, Pearl Build will also contribute the remaining 25 percent of the property tax rebate over 10 years into the city’s affordable housing fund, worth an estimated $1 million over that timeframe.
Judge Nelson Wolff rhapsodized over Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury, the owner of Silver Ventures, and his commitment to sticking with such a large-scale and expensive redevelopment at the former Pearl Brewery.
“Out of everything I have seen that a private sector guy has done in San Antonio, this is by far the most meaningful,” Wolff said. “I know that if (another) developer had come in here, he would have never done the project because it’s such a long, long payback.
“And the way that it has happened, it has totally transformed a completely dead part of San Antonio. And I know we (Bexar County) played a part in (the Museum Reach segment of the) river. Without a person with some foresight that also believed in historic preservation, this would have never been done. So thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Last week on the site, which has been fenced off, the large-scale moving of dirt appeared to have been started.
In an email, Pearl Build CEO Bill Shown said construction is expected to be completed in August 2024.
Shown did not respond to a follow-up email asking about the project’s investors (if any), lender, or rate of return on investment. In an interview with the Express-News earlier this year, and in a previous interview with the Heron, he described a 5 percent rate of return on investment for Pearl housing developments, which is considered razor thin by those in the development world compared to profits they can make in the outskirts of the city where land is cheaper, and where there are less regulations.
» Address: 1126 E. Elmira St.
» Developer: Pearl Build (San Antonio; subsidiary Silver Ventures)
» Property owner: Broadway SA Investors GL, LLC (subsidiary Silver Ventures)
» Type: Residential
» New or reuse: New
» Status: Under construction
» Height: 7 stories
» Land size: 3.1 acres
» Rent or buy: Rent
» Total units: 263
» Market rate: 263
» 80% AMI: None
» 70% AMI: None
» 60% AMI: None
» 50% AMI: None
» 40% AMI: None
» 30% AMI: None
» Student units: None
» Section 8: Unknown
» Retail: 7,500 square feet
» Office: N/A
» Hotel: N/A
» Parking: Garage; unknown number of spaces
» Construction start date: August 2022
» End date: August 2024
» Architect: Don B. McDonald (San Antonio)
» Cost: $54.1 million
» Investors: Unknown
» Financing: Unknown
» San Antonio Incentives: $3.6 million
» SAWS Fee Waivers: $500,000 to be requested from Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board
» City Fee Waivers: N/A
» City Loans: N/A
» Est. City Property Tax Rebate: $3.1 million at 75 percent (estimated $313,476 per year for 10 years)
» Tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ): See “SAWS fee waiver”
» Bexar County incentives: $596,875 estimated value of 40-percent tax abatement on county property taxes over 10 years.
» Texas incentives: N/A
» Federal incentives: N/A
» Total public subsidy: $4.2 million
» Cashflow/ROI: 5 percent
» Affordable housing fund (City of San Antonio) contribution: $1 million (over 10 years)
June 9, 2022
The City Council approves a request from Broadway SA Investors GP, LLC, to close a portion of East Elmira Street—0.008 acres, or 362 square feet—for a fee of $11,600.
Nov. 3, 2021
The Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) grants final approval, or a Certificate of Appropriateness, for the design of the apartments on Elmira by the Pearl development team. Documents submitted to the HDRC describe “salvage tanks from brewery will be used int he landscape and hardscape design of the building.” — Ben Olivo
[ Related: Pearl set to expand across river, into Samuels Glass building after commission approvals Nov. 4, 2021 ]
Dec. 2, 2020
The Elmira apartments project receives conceptual approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).
During this time, an incentive package is also agreed upon between the Pearl developer and the City of San Antonio worth $3.6 million over 10 years, while also contributing $1 million to the city’s affordable housing fund, for its latest apartment project. Roughly $3.1 million is part of the Center City Housing Incentive Policy, or CCHIP, which expired the same month.
Frank Burney, an attorney working with Pearl owner Silver Ventures, described it as the last of the CCHIP packages.
The 265-unit residential development would be located on the other side of the San Antonio River from the Pearl’s main campus. It’s slated to go on a 3.1-acre lot on East Elmira Street, and rise seven stories with a facade made of brick masonry and painted stucco. Live-work units and 7,500 square feet of retail space would lined the street level.
The city’s incentive package includes a 75% rebate on city property taxes for Silver Ventures worth $3.1 million over 10 years, as well as $500,000 in SAWS fee impact waivers, which the developer will request from the MidTown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). The other 25% of the rebate—worth roughly $1 million over 10 years—will feed into the city’s affordable housing fund, which is used to create and restore below-market-rate housing.
Because developing the land will increase its value, other taxing entities are expected to benefit from the build. The city estimates the San Antonio Independent School District will receive $1.1 million annually, and Alamo Colleges $112,000 annually, from the property after the apartments are built.
The project’s cost and timeline are unclear. Bill Shown, Silver Ventures’ managing director for real estate, did not respond to an email inquiry earlier this week. — Ben Olivo
[ Archive: Pearl developer Silver Ventures plans to build 265 apartments across the river | Nov. 30, 2020 ]
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