San Antonio: Borden Park Developer Given OK on Pedestrian Bridge
Feature Illustration: The Borden Park mixed-use development, outlined in red, includes an agreement with the city to construct a pedestrian bridge over the San Antonio River (highlighted in the upper right corner), and landscaping with a trail connection on the Borden Park side of the river. Image: Rialto Studio Inc.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — The developer of Borden Park, a large mixed-use development involving the adaptive reuse of the old Borden Dairy Company plant in Midtown, received approval yesterday to proceed with the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the San Antonio River.
The bridge had been proposed as an amenity that would provide new connectivity along the Museum Reach trail of the San Antonio River, and its construction was a condition of the $4 million loan the city agreed to provide in a development agreement that was approved by City Council in October 2019.
The stated purpose of the loan was for the provision of public improvements to the river frontage, a trail system connecting the Tobin Hill neighborhood to the river, trails on the river, a pedestrian bridge crossing the river, landscaping, the removal of four billboards and other beautification efforts, as well as improvements to East Ashby Place and Menefee Park.
The agreement further stated that public improvements shall include “demolition and restoration, hardscapes, fixtures, landscaping, roadway improvement, and conversion of existing storm water drainage improvements to low impact development.”
This was last reported by VBX in this Oct. 3, 2019 article. The concept of the Borden Park Project is to rehabilitate the historic Borden Building (875 E. Ashby) for office and commercial use. The site area totals 5.1 acres and a storage complex adjacent to the Borden Building had to be demolished to clear a site for a 350-unit apartment building with a parking structure at the lower levels.
Wednesday’s action involved approval by the Historic and Design Review Commission of a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct the bridge where it meets the new trail system that comes around the mixed-use project. It is located just south of where the river goes under U.S. Highway 281.
Rialto Studio Inc., the landscape architect, designed the bridge.
The pedestrian bridge will feature steel construction with a concrete deck, and steel railings of approximately 5 feet in height. The bridge will also feature the installation of a concrete retaining wall within the river channel.
Schematics of the pedestrian bridge. Source: Rialto Studio Inc.
Prior to this vote, the HDRC approved on Feb. 19, 2020 the developer’s plans for the site work, general location of the bridge, overall landscape design, and the construction of the multi-story residential structure.
At that time, it was stipulated that the final design of the proposed river bridge return to the Commission for approval. Additionally, the applicant had to coordinate with the San Antonio River Authority, COSA Transportation & Capital Improvements, COSA Parks & Recreation, and any other regulatory body, as required.
The developer is San Antonio-based Embrey Partners Ltd., a national company that develops and manages apartment communities. Embrey Partners created a special purpose entity, Borden River Road LP, to own the real estate.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) 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.