The design for Weston Urban’s much-anticipated, 32-story apartment tower received its certificate of appropriateness by the Historic and Design Review Commission without discussion on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021, presumably one of the last steps before construction can begin.
The local developer, which owns nearly 26 acres of land in west downtown, plans to build a market-rate apartment tower with ground floor retail at 305 Soledad St., currently a parking lot bound by Soledad, Pecan, Main and Travis streets. The tower will include 354 residential units, 456 parking spaces, and 6,275 square feet of retail, according to updated numbers Weston Urban submitted to the city’s Office of Historic Preservation.
It’s unclear when construction will begin, but Weston Urban executives have said it will take two years to build. Weston Urban President Randy Smith did not respond to an interview request
Weston Urban is received an incentive package worth an estimated $7.5 million, the bulk of which is a 75% rebate on city property taxes over 15 years. During the same time period, the company will pay the remaining 25% of city property taxes into the city’s affordable housing fund, worth an estimated $2.2 million.
Urbanists see Weston Urban’s project as a major step toward increasing the population of downtown proper, as opposed to outlying areas such as the Pearl or Southtown. Affordable housing advocates have long criticized the city’s practice of offering tax breaks to market-rate projects.
For an analysis of where this city stands with its downtown housing incentive policy, read “Olivo: How McKee-Rodriguez’s support for a luxury housing project helps shape the Decade of Downtown,” Dec. 14, 2021.
Scroll down for more background on this development.
— Ben Olivo, Heron editor
Weston Urban residential tower
» Address: 305 Soledad St.
» Developer: Weston Urban
» Property owner: Weston Urban
» Rent or Buy: Rent
» Height: 32 stories, approx. 400 feet
» Land size: .87 acres
» Total units: 354
» Market rate: 354
» 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: 6,275 square feet
» Parking: Garage, 456 spaces
» Construction start date: Unknown
» End date: Unknown
» Architect: Page Southerland Page (Houston)
» Cost: $107 million
» Investors: Unknown
» Financing: Unknown
» San Antonio Incentives: $7.5 million
» SAWS Fee Waivers: $1 million (Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone)
» City Fee Waivers: Unknown
» City Loans: Unknown
» Est. City Property Tax Rebate: $6.5 million, estimated 75% rebate on city property taxes over 15 years ($2.2 million [or 25% of rebate] will feed city’s affordable housing fund)
» Tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ): See “SAWS fee waiver”
» Bexar County Incentives: Unknown
» Texas incentives: Unknown
» Federal incentives: Unknown
» Cashflow: Unknown
May 6, 2021
Weston Urban’s much-hyped apartment tower received the final piece of its $7.5 million incentive package from the city on Thursday, May 6.
The developer expects to begin work on its $107 million, 32-story high-end apartment building, 305 Soledad St., in the middle of this year, and for it to be completed in two years. The apartments will be high-end, Weston Urban executives have said, but they did not disclose projected rents.
The average size of the 351 apartments is expected to be 925 square feet for the market-priced units.
On Feb. 25, the Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board approved a $1 million grant to cover the cost of SAWS impact fee waivers. Last Thursday, the City Council made the award official by approving it on the consent agenda without discussion.
In a TIRZ, the increment in tax revenue gained is collected and reinvested in the boundary.
In all, Weston Urban has received $7.5 million in city incentives, including a 75% rebate on city property taxes over 15 years, worth an estimated $6.5 million, executed in December. The other 25% of taxes due over the same period, or $2.2 million, will feed the city’s affordable housing fund.
The 400-foot unnamed apartment tower would be the tallest in San Antonio’s downtown.
Roughly 7,000 square feet of retail is planned for the ground floor of the tower.
During the Houston Street TIRZ meeting on Feb. 25, Mark Jensen, a Weston Urban vice president, said there was roughly $1.7 million worth of public upgrades, such as work that needs to be done to the streets, electrical and gas work, and telecommunications connections, that still needed to be financed.
It’s unclear whether Weston Urban will return to the city for a subsidy to fund the gap.
— Ben Olivo, Heron editor
Feb. 25, 2021
Weston Urban Vice Presidents Mark Jensen and Reeves Craig told the Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) board that they expect construction on the $107 million apartment tower to start in the middle of 2021.
All of the tower’s 351 apartments, ranging from 535-square-feet for an efficiency to beyond 2,000-square-feet for a penthouse, are expected to be priced at market-rate. The average unit size will be 925 square feet.
Jensen and Craig did not disclose rents, but said each unit would cost $362,963 to build, when factoring in the cost of construction along with related costs, such as the land purchase and financing.
The Bexar Appraisal District valued the property last year at $3.1 million.
During the meeting, Jensen and Craig revealed more details about one of the most anticipated residential projects in the downtown area ever.
The exterior will be made of dark and light masonry, as well as concrete and glass. Apartments will consume floors 7 through 32. An amenity deck and pool will occupy the seventh floor.
The 7,200-square-feet of retail space is intended to activate the corners of the building, especially on the northeast corner of North Main Avenue and East Travis Street, kitty corner to the park Weston Urban just built. Jensen told board members there would be a natural pedestrian connection between a large-scale restaurant facing Travis and and Pinkerton’s Barbecue, which opened recently at the park.
The spaces facing Soledad Street and North Main Avenue he described as more “service-oriented.”
Weston Urban is planning for the building’s main entrance and lobby to face Main Avenue, and to place vehicular traffic access on Soledad, across from the Weston Centre, where there’s already a garage opening there.
“From a residential standpoint, we’re very excited to bring something to the city that sits in between the river and the creek,” Jensen said of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek. “The ability to pop out and go for a run along either of those greenways should be a very special experience.”
Jensen said Weston Urban currently has about 20,000 square feet of retail space it’s currently trying to lease, which includes in the Frost Tower, which opened almost two years ago, as well as in the neighboring Rand and Savoy buildings on East Houston Street.
Jensen said Weston Urban will look to build mixed-income housing in future projects, where the average apartment size would be in the 700-square-foot range.
“This one particularly is targeting the higher end of the market,” he said.
Houston Street TIRZ board consists of District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, board chair; Assistant City Manager Lori Houston; Deputy Chief Financial Officer Troy Elliott; John Jacks, director of the Center City Development and Operations Department; County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez; County Commissioner Tommy Calvert; and Manuel Leal.
— Ben Olivo, Heron editor
Dec. 16, 2020
Weston Urban’s plan to build downtown’s tallest residential building, a 32-story apartment tower in west downtown, took a step forward when the city’s Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) gave a thumbs-up to its design.
The commission made no comment as it granted conceptual approval for the design of the roughly 400-foot-tall tower, 305 Soledad St., which would single-handedly create a market for high-rise urban living in San Antonio.
Renderings and floor plans for the $107 million project show that it will have three separate retail spaces on the ground floor and a landscaped area with outdoor tables. Several stories up, the renderings show what appears to be an outdoor pool, and a skydeck close to the top of the building.
Most of the tower’s exterior will consist of grey brick and exposed concrete, but the lower levels will have an exterior of earth-colored brick, the renderings show. — Richard Webner, Heron contributor
Nov. 18, 2020
Word of Weston Urban’s plan to build a 32-story apartment tower, the first of its kind in San Antonio, surfaces after the plan hits the city’s Planning Commission agenda. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the plans without discussion.
Members of the HDRC’s Design Review Committee complimented Weston Urban on the “beautiful” design, according to a report from the meeting. The meeting was not open to the public. One member expressed concern that the grey brick exterior is out of character for San Antonio, but others said they did not share that concern.