More details have emerged regarding Weston Urban’s $80 million, mixed-use development bound by West Commerce, South Laredo, Dolorosa and San Pedro Creek in west downtown.
The project will refurbish the former Continental Hotel (which faces West Commerce) and the Arana building (Dolorosa). Between them is a large parking lot where the developer plans to build a 15-story, 255-unit apartment building, which will also include a parking garage for 342 vehicles. The Melchio de la Garza House, a small single historic structure, will remain on the property facing South Laredo, while the O. Henry House, another structure of the same stature, will be moved to an undetermined location.
Weston Urban is seeking conceptual approval for the plans this Wednesday before the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).
Here’s a look at each component of the overall development:
Mixed-income apartment midrise
The new construction will take place on a parking lot currently owned by the city, which stretches from South Laredo to San Pedro Creek. Ten stories of mixed-income apartments, some of which will be prefabricated off-site, will sit atop a five-story concrete parking garage—both will “blend seamlessly with the Continental Hotel and Arana buildings” without actually touching them, according to documents submitted to the HDRC.
Continental Hotel, 332 W. Commerce St.
Designed by Alfred Giles and built in 1896, the three-story hotel first known as the Arcade, will be refurbished. The work includes restoration of the storefronts for commercial and retail use, restoration of the windows, and cleaning the masonry facade. Weston Urban is proposing to remove a one-story addition to the rear, added between 1912 and 1951, which is considered part of the historic structure. However, the company argues it’s not part of the original structure and therefore could be removed—a request the city’s Office of Historic Preservation agrees with. The upper floors will be used as offices, which was their last use when Metro Health last occupied the building.
Arana building, 601 Dolorosa
Designed by Leo M.J. Dielmann, this 1926 building once housed a dance floor on the second floor. Weston Urban plans to restore the entire building, converting the ground-level into retail, and keeping the second floor as office space. It also proposes to remove a non-historic section of the rear, which was added in the 1980s.
Melchio de la Garza House, 100 S. Laredo St.
Built in 1800 during the Spanish Colonial period, this adobe structure will be completely rehabbed while remaining in place, the perimeter excavated to restore the structure’s original elevation.
O. Henry House, 101 S. Laredo St.
Will be moved to an undetermined location. Before it’s current location in west downtown, the home of the well-known American writer sat in the Lone Star Brewery site from the 1960s to the 1990s. O. Henry lived in the house in 1885.
Last month, the Bexar County Public Facility Corp., which has the power to grant full property tax exemptions to developers in exchange for mixed-income housing, agreed to partner with Weston Urban on the project.
“I think this is a game-changer,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Trish DeBerry said during a Commissioner’s Court meeting last month. “I am super-enthused about the opportunity that has presented itself. I look forward to other projects that will come to this court.”
[ Editor’s note: For more on the deal’s details, read “Bexar County, Weston Urban to partner on apartments at Continental Hotel in west downtown San Antonio.” ]
Ten percent of the units will be reserved for people making up to 60% of the area median income (AMI), 40% for people making up to 80% AMI, and the rest will be market priced.
[ Scroll down for a chart showing AMI levels. ]
The developer has brought on BKV Group for the in-fill development, and Alamo Architects and Post Oak Preservation Solutions for the restoration of the historic structures.
Last year, Weston Urban bought the former Continental Hotel from the city for $4.7 million.
The project is one of many Weston Urban is planning for west downtown, where it has already co-built the Frost Tower, and plans to break ground this year on a 32-story apartment tower—both developments north of West Houston Street.
Around the Continental Hotel and Arana building site, construction on San Pedro Creek Culture Park and the University of Texas at San Antonio’s six-story School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center continues. The Kline’s building restoration is nearly completed, and the Leeds’ rehab is underway—both across from the Continental Hotel.
[ » June 9, 2020: Continental Hotel sold to Weston Urban for mixed-use project ]