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San Antonio: Commercial and Institutional Projects Cram Review Commission’s End of Year Agenda

Feature Illustration (above): Clockwise from upper left: Rendering of proposed ADA ramp to main entrance of old City Hall; proposed five-story affordable apartment building at North St. Mary’s Street and West Jones Avenue; the new administrative building at Fox Tech High School with new Frost Bank tower in distance; aerial perspective of the octagonal 17-story residence tower on the River Walk to be known at Floodgate. Images courtesy of City of San Antonio public records.

Posted: 12-3-2018

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County) — The Historic and Design Review Commission will close out the year with a lengthy list of commercial and institutional projects, including 17-story and five-story residential projects, a new administrative building for Fox Tech High School, and a new community center for the Heritage subdivision in far west San Antonio.

A total of 50 cases will be on the HDRC’s Wednesday afternoon agenda. Nine cases, however, stand out as major projects going into 2019. Four of these are requests for conceptual approval and one is a hold on a demolition request for a clinic, all indications that they are still at an early design stage. Four of the cases are further along and requesting Certificates of Approval to either rehabilitation work on historic buildings, or site work for new construction.

  • 1500 N. St. Mary’s St/405 W. Jones Avenue: Conceptual approval of a five-story, affordable housing mid-rise tower.
  • 727 N. Flores Street: Conceptual approval of the new Fox Tech High School Administrative Building and parking lot.
  • 1411 S. Ellison Drive: Conceptual approval of the new Heritage Community Center.
  • 100 Military Plaza: Conceptual approval for the removal of the exterior fire escape ladder at the old City Hall Building and construction of ADA compliant ramps to either side of the main entrance.
  • 140 E. Houston St./130-134 Soledad Street: Certificate of Appropriateness to perform rehabilitative work on the historic Book, Clegg, Kennedy,  Veramendi and Solo Serve buildings.
  • 139-151 East Commerce Street: Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish commercial buildings and commence construction of a 17-story luxury residential tower.

The six cases listed above have been under review for some time, are on the consent agenda and will likely receive approval without further discussion. The following three cases are new and up for individual consideration.

  • 1603 Broadway: Certificate of Appropriateness to perform site and foundation work. This is a 19-story mixed-use tower along the lower Broadway corridor that was previously given conceptual approval on its architectural design. The developer is San Antonio-based GrayStreet Partners.
  • 611 N. St. Mary’s Street: Certificate of Appropriateness to proceed with rehabilitative work on the historic Voss Building. The developers are Craig Glendenning/UC210 LLC and Uri Villarreal, and the architect is B&A Architects Inc. The Voss Building was constructed in 1930 and plans are to repair/reconstruct the wood storefront, the terra cotta ornamental elements, replace CMU in the west wall with brick, install or expand window openings, construct a stair and elevator at the south wall, add a staircase to the roof and a roof deck for entertainment purposes, with both stairs and roof covered with shed roofs.
  • 3630 Nogalitos Street: CentroMed purchased this lot on the South Side and applied for a demolition permit to tear down a house built in 1914 in order to construct a new clinic. The Office of Historic Preservation describes the house as a stucco over brick “folk cottage” structure with Craftsman and Prairie style influences. The Westside Preservation Alliance and Esperanza Peace & Justice Center asked that the commission consider the house for landmark designation, however, the department staff recommends denial, finding the house “does not meet at least three of the 16 criteria for evaluation.”

An extended description of the first six projects is provided below.

View of Museum Reach Lofts (above) from northbound St. Mary's Street. Rendering of the courtyard (below). Courtesy:

View of Museum Reach Lofts (above) from northbound St. Mary’s Street. Rendering of the courtyard (below). Courtesy: Alamo Architects and Alamo Community Group.

Museum Reach Lofts: Alamo Architects is designing this workforce housing project for Alamo Community Group. Located on the north end of the same block as the San Antonio Current, it will include 95 apartments. The podium-style structured will be above an enclosed surface parking lot. Two 1950s-era commercial buildings must be demolished.

The building will feature brick details reminiscent of the San Antonio Museum of Art down the street. It will also have a multi-colored rain screen panel system and other features to give the structure more human scale.

To create a buffer between the building and the Current parking lot, there were be a screened courtyard with shade structure, outdoor kitchen, seat wall, community table, herb garden, synthetic lawn, vine plantings, a cistern-style fountain, and paving.

Fox Tech High School: Adjacent to the recently completed north end of the San Pedro Creek linear park, the San Antonio Independent School District is proceeding with plans to convert a lot used for track and field events. SAISD proposes a tilt-up construction, three-story, 140,000-square-foot administration building that will include new hardscaping and landscaping.

Perspective of the proposed SAISD Administration Building from the highway. Courtesy:

Perspective of the proposed SAISD Administration Building from the highway. Courtesy: RVK Architects.

SAISD has not yet requested demolition for the existing structures; there is a building at the corner of Flores and Quincy, and bleachers next to the oval track.

RVK, the architect, submitted a site plan that locates the new building along Kingsbury Street. The new admin building has a 46,666-square-foot footprint.

A meandering track would replace the old building and extend from Quincy at Flores down to Kingsbury and Flores. There would be outdoor patios on either end of the chevron-shaped administration building, with one patio facing Flores at Kingsbury and the other facing Camaron Street at Kingsbury and the San Pedro Creek.

A new parking lot would occupy about half of the entire lot. It will be located along Quincy.

Heritage Community Center: The City of San Antonio is planning to build the Heritage Community Center, located northwest of the corner of Marbach Road and Ellison Drive. This is a bond-financed project.

Perspective of the Heritage Community Center north facade. Courtesy: Robey Architecture.

Perspective of the Heritage Community Center north facade. Courtesy: Robey Architecture.

Robey Architecture Inc. is designing a one-story, 16,000-square-foot facility. However, the angles and heights of the pitched roofs give the appearance of two or more stories in places. The west section of the facility will be a high school-sized gymnasium. The east end will include a dining room, arts and crafts room, computer lab, restrooms, nutrition office and storage room.

A large pond occupies the center of the lot and it drains into a northbound ditch. This required Robey to work around the pond and ditch. Access is from an existing park that includes a pool and tennis court. The entrance form Ellison will be extend to the west end and and bridge constructed over the ditch.

In the project narrative, Robey said, “Heavy, more mature trees are located adjacent and surrounding the pond’s perimeter which support an existing ecosystem of birds, small reptiles/snakes and insects. The interior of the site has small, more scattered low existing tree canopies. The site has a natural grade sloping from the highest elevation at the far northwest corner of the site to the southeast corner of the site, or where the bisecting drainage easement feeds into the existing pond.

The south facade of the Heritage Community Center. Inset illustration of the site plan. Courtesy: Robey Architecture.

The south facade of the Heritage Community Center. Inset illustration of the site plan. Courtesy: Robey Architecture.

“The proposed new facility is sited along the East-West axis of the site, with defined glazing openings along the North and South elevations. This is to limit western exposure to the summer sun and using the canopy of the taller mature trees to provide sun screening on the Eastern and Southern elevations. The front entry of the facility is located on the North elevation, where tall glazing takes advantage of excellent neutral natural lighting.

“The south elevation exterior window wall will look out onto an exterior courtyard which will be shaded for roof elements and screening. A small, albeit intimate Reading Room is located on axis with the front Building entrance, also signifying exterior access to the exterior courtyard space.”

South face of the old City Hall. The fire escape is to be removed.

South face of the old City Hall. The fire escape is to be removed.

Old City Hall: The restoration of the historic City Hall Building, constructed in 1889, has been underway. The architect–Allison Chambers of Ford, Powell & Carson–submitted plans to remove a fire escape exterior metal staircase that was part of a 1927 fourth-story addition. ADA-compliant ramps are also to be added to the east facade by approaching the building diagonally from the street corners of Commerce at Flores and Dolores at Flores.

140 East Houston et al: The complex of historic buildings southeast of Houston Street at Soledad include the Book, Clegg, Veramendi, Kennedy and Solo Serve buildings. The design team is led by Clayton & Little architects. The ownership entity is Soledad House LLC, an affiliate of AMS Commercial Real Estate in Austin.

Construction as been underway for a while on the area that was once the Solo Serve and this Certificate of Appropriateness request will allow rehabilitation on a laundry list of related projects:

Book Building (140 E Houston)

  1. 1. Repair, restore and replace existing tin cornice and other original façade details with matching profiles and
    patterns.
  2. Repair, restore and replace existing wood windows including storefront windows in like kind at all elevations –
    wood storefront line at street level will vary from existing for egress clearance.
  3. Remove all existing mechanical equipment from roof and replace with new in same locations.
  4. Replace existing 1970’s steel railing with new railing.
  5. Replace existing 1970’s paving at “pasao” and dog trot with new paving to be selected.
  6. Add new fire rated egress stair at West wall.
  7. Repair or replace existing elevated walk at exterior of building with new to match existing – foot bridge from
    Houston to be removed.
  8. At Book building courtyard – existing infill building to be demolished down to structure. Area to be courtyard
    extension and location of new fire rated egress stair for Clegg Building.

Clegg Building (130 Soledad)

  1. Re-roof existing roof with new code compliant TPO roofing.
  2. A new exterior fire rated stair will be constructed at the Book courtyard along with new walkways that connect
    Book to Clegg.
  3. The existing windows will be modified at these locations to be a door with the same steel construction as original.
  4. A new door for egress to the Riverwalk will be added as required by code.
  5. At street level and river level there will be a new opening in the exterior wall below the courtyard walkway. These
    are no on a primary façade.
  6. Existing steel windows will be restored – glazing will be replaced with clear IGU’s
  7. New signage to be proposed in future package.
Soledad Street side view of the concept for the reconstructed buildings

Soledad Street side view of the concept for the reconstructed Kennedy, Veramendi-Clegg and Solo Serve buildings. The Book Building faces Houston and would not be visible from this angle. Courtesy: Clayton & Little.

Kennedy Building (134 Soledad)

  1. Repair, restore and replace existing missing brick detailing to match historic photos along with other original
    façade details.
  2. Repair, restore and replace existing wood windows including storefront windows in like kind at all elevations –
    wood storefront line at street level will vary from existing for egress clearance.
  3. Re-roof existing roof with new code compliant TPO roofing.
  4. A new interior terrace at guest rooms will be constructed within the existing perimeter walls.
  5. New signage to be proposed in future package

Veramendi Building (130 Soledad)

  1. Repair, restore and replace existing missing brick detailing to match historic photos along with other original
    façade details.
  2. Repair, restore and replace existing wood windows including storefront windows in like kind at all elevations –
    wood storefront line at street level will vary from existing for egress clearance.
  3. Re-roof existing roof with new code compliant TPO roofing.
  4. A new skylight will be installed in existing roof above new lobby stair.
  5. New signage to be proposed in future package

SoloServe Building (124 Soledad)

  1. Repair, restore and replace existing and missing stucco detailing at West façade. A new wall will be constructed at
    the Southern wall. The West and North walls will be restored.
  2. Repair and restore existing steel windows – at West façade in former storefront openings decorative gates and
    screens.
  3. Re-roof existing roof with new code compliant TPO roofing.
  4. A new interior terrace at guest rooms will be constructed within the existing perimeter walls.
  5. New signage to be proposed in future package

The Floodgate Apartments: Rhode Partners of Austin submitted construction documents that were at 80 percent completion and dated Nov. 16. This is a 17-story octagonal building that was shaped that way to allow more sunlight to reach the River Walk. The project is described in detail in this June VBX report.


adolfo@virtualbx.com

Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2018-12-03T16:23:03+00:00December 3rd, 2018|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

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.

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