Bexar County Commissioners Delay Decision on Parking Garage/Office Tower
Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
Bexar County Commissioners Court is considering a six-story (possibly seven) parking garage/office tower project.
Posted: 2-9-2017, 12 p.m.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar Co.) - Bexar County Commissioners Court opted to put off a decision on hiring a architectural/engineering firm to design a parking garage/officer tower, and instructed staff to continue its research on the project.
Facilities Management Director Dan Curry came before the court Tuesday seeking authority to issue a Request for Proposals for a designer to draft architectural documents for a six-story concrete structure that he estimated would cost $11.2 million.
Curry had retained the services of a parking facilities consultant and in his presentation gave the court an overview of the market, the need and floor plans of the proposed facility. Through the course of deliberating the details of his presentation, however, the commissioners decided they needed more information.
Conceptual site plan of the ground floor of a proposed parking garage/officer tower.
The main point of concern was not the parking garage. There was consensus that it is necessary. However, Commissioner Tommy Calvert suggested that, given the demand for Class A office space in the Central Business District, more research should be done on the financial benefits of including commercial office space into the project.
Calvert suggested that staff might want to consider expanding the project to include a seventh floor, if a commercial office component would help defray the construction costs by bringing in a new revenue stream.
There were competing considerations over the use of office space. Commissioner Paul Elizondo was concerned about the shortage of space in the courthouse for Child Support Court and the IT department, and the need of county services to be on a ground floor.
In response to Elizondo's comments, Curry acknowledged that there are county offices that have been asking for first floor access, but none is available.
A motion was made to extend the terms of the agreement with the parking consultant to produce a more detailed feasibility study. Curry estimated it would be completed in about two months.
Architectural concept of a mixed use residential/commercial development in the 300 block of Dwyer Avenue, one of two such developments that are adjacent to where the county wants to build a parking garge/office tower.
During Curry's presentation, he stated that since November there has been a loss of 362 surface parking spaces within walking distance of the courthouse complex as a result of aggressive development. In addition, there is pending development near the courthouse that will make the parking shortage worse.
He cited as examples the recent demolition of the Heritage Plaza buildings in the 300 block of Dwyer Avenue, which was done to make way for a mixed use development that includes 272 apartment units and ground level commercial space, and the Encore Riverwalk project, which will be located in the block southwest of Main Avenue and Stumberg Street; this is catercorner to the site where Curry wants the parking garage.
The Encore Riverwalk would have 340 apartment units. Both Encore and the Dwyer projects would have on-site parking, but only for tenants.
Another consideration is the pending construction of a new federal courthouse on Nueva Street, immediately west of the Bexar County parking garage on South Flores Street at Nueva. Curry said it would only have parking for staff, not the public. In addition to the loss of parking spaces, Curry noted that boom in downtown development is cutting the court's options on where to build.
The proposed site is bounded by Main Avenue to the west, Dwyer Avenue to the east and Stumberg Street to the south. Its northern boundary abuts the former Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas building.
The concept for the facility Curry presented would have 539 parking spaces on five levels of parking above a ground floor shell that would have 25,867 square feet available as county offices and/or some commercial use. The square footage area of the above ground floors would be 35,333 square feet on levels two through five, and 30,905 square feet on level six. The exit/entrance ramp is why the first floor square footage is smaller.
An additional benefit of the garage, Curry said, is that it would allow the Parking Division to more 409 county employees that do not pay for parking in the South Flores garage, and convert those parking spaces to market spaces.
Curry estimated that at an average rental of $4.58 per space across 250 operating days a year, the county would realize an additional $470,000 in annual revenue.
Virtual Builders Exchange graphic: Concept of a parking garage with street level office, as seen from South Main Avenue and Stumberg Street, looking north. Bexar County Courthouse gable is in view above the tree-line center.
Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has previously worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He is a communications graduate of the University of Texas-PanAmerican.
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