Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar Co.) – Brooks City-Base staff advised the Brooks development committee that it has chosen a team led by Douglas Architects to produce the master plan for the town center project.
The town center would be the centerpiece for a retired Air Force base that has already undergone major redevelopment as a mixed-use residential and commercial community.
The Douglas team includes a second architectural firm, Overland Partners, and the landscape architects of TBG Partners. Watry Design Inc., an architectural firm specializing in parking garages, is on the team as traffic engineer, and Project Cost Resources is the economic consultant. The team developer is Reata Real Estate Services.
Brooks development projects manager Jaime Lawhn said the team that Douglas Architects presented distinguished itself from the rest in that it included Overland, which had previously helped develop the Brooks City-Base land use plan. That represented a continuity, he said, “that gave them an upper hand to move forward to this next stage.”
Douglas also added a different dimension by being the only firm to recruit a well-known developer, he said. Reata has produced numerous successful mixed-used developments and knows the San Antonio market, he said.
The Douglas team was one of six under consideration. The pre-selected architect/planner teams in contention were Alamo Architects/Town Planning & Design; Beatty Palmer/Gensler; Debra Dockerly/Dover, Khol and Partners; Durand-Hollis Rupe/Lake|Flato; and Zapata Design Associates/REM Engineering.
The project scope includes development of a master and implementation plan for Brooks Town Center. The plan must include opportunities for restaurant, retail, office and other commercial uses. It will include conceptual layouts with traffic plans, infrastructure requirements and site amenities.
The study area for the master plan is designated within the yellow boundaries of the map illustration on the right. The focal point of the town center would be the intersection of South New Braunfels Avenue and Sidney Brooks, and it would extend north to Southeast Military and south to Inner Circle Road.
While most of the specifics in the master plan are yet to be detailed, staff advised the Brooks Development Authority Planning & Development Committe at a Friday meeting that it is already in talks with VIA Metropolitan Transit on the possible use of 2.8-acre tract at the northwest corner of the intersection of New Braunfels Avenue and Sidney Brooks.
Brooks is in talks with VIA now on a sales contract for the portion of the tract that is recessed from the corner. Staff asked the committee to begin considering what should be done with the “hard corner” of the same tract that faces New Braunfels and Sidney Brooks.
The committee was advised that VIA has $18 million that the transit authority is willing to invest in Brooks City-Base. Acquisition of the land and construction of a transit station would cost VIA about $10 million.
That leaves VIA $8 million that it might use to partner with Brooks on the construction a three-story building on the corner lot. Options raised included having retail businesses at street level and office space above for lease, or residential space above for rent.
Brooks City Base CEO Leo Gomez told the committee that VIA is doing a similar transit/office building project at Crossroads Mall.