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U.S. Army Chooses San Antonio for $11.4M Veterans Transition Center

06/16/2017 12:41:00 pm | Viewed: 579

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

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Site plan for the Veterans Transition and Conference Center. Courtesy of City of San Antonio.

 

Posted: 6-16-2017, 1:38 p.m.

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County) - City Council on Thursday approved an ordinance providing $972,000 toward the development of a 50,000-square-foot, five-story building that will be built for the U.S. Army.

The development agreement is with LiveSmall LLC, and the mission of the facility will be to assist military personnel transition to civilian life when they are discharged. 

The estimated total cost of the Veterans Transition and Conference Center is $11,425,000. That includes the cost of land acquisition, site work, pre-development soft costs and hard construction costs.

Construction is anticipated to begin by December 2017 and reach completion "no later than Dec. 31, 2021," the Development Agreement states.

The address of record is 508 Roper Street. This project site is on two adjacent lots that LiveSmall purchased from Union Pacific Railroad, and they are bounded by Dignowity Avenue, Edgar Street, and Runnels Avenue. The north boundary of the property touches Roper Street at a dead-end.

The neighborhood is comprised of older low-income housing, however, the site is conveniently two blocks southwest of the Interstate 35 frontage at North Walters Street, a main arterial road into Fort Sam Houston, which is about a half-mile north.

LiveSmall is receiving the city loan on the basis of an application through the Inner City TIRZ (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone). The site lacks infrastructure and will require the installation of utilities, lighting, sidewalks, curbing, landscaping, ADA-related connectivity, and street reconstruction with an extension (Dignowity Avenue is not now connected between the Roper Street dead-end and Edgar Street, but it will be).

The facility is to be a mixed-use professional building that will provide support services for military personnel and a conference center accessible to the general public. The first and second story, comprising 20,000 square feet, will be the Veterans Transition Center. Stories three to five, another 30,000 square feet, will be conference facilities.

"This Conference Center will support the meeting needs of the 13 major commands on post, the San Antonio Area Military Medical Center and Eastside community. The Conference Center will have a separate entrance, elevators, and consists of various breakout rooms and a ballroom," the project brief to council stated.

The ballroom wil have the ability to set 600 in a lecture setting or 300 in a dining setup. 

"The top floor will consist of half air-conditioned space with glass walls and views of the city. There remaining half is considered a rooftop, open-air reception area."

The Department of the Army explained the need for the transition center had to do with limitations of the on-post Transition Office, which is effective only until the date of a serviceman's separation. 

"The current Army Transition Program (under a pilot program from the Secretary of the Army) will relocated to our Veterans Transition Center and include partners such as RP6, USO, Army for Life, Texas Workforce Commission, Center for Veterans Success, and other interested community agencies. A serviceman or woman will enter the program 18 months prior to discharge and is typically in the program for 12 months."

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, in a statement reported in Army Times, said county and city officials will participate. Wolff said the center will employ case managers that can assist in finding a house and doctors, while also assisting in finding a job with top employers such as Toyota, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.

 

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adolfo@virtualbx.com


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Adolfo Pesquera
Reporter/Editor
adolfo@virtualbx.com

Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.