Feature Photo: A neighborhood scene on San Fernando Street in the Alazan Courts. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — The San Antonio Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved a contract Thursday with Able City LLC to be the master planner for the redevelopment of the Alazan Courts.
Able City was considered the most qualified of four firms that responded to a solicitation process that began in June. The one-year contract amount is not to exceed $281,750, and there is an option to renew for up to six months.
However, the duration of the master planning process is expected to be approximately nine months.
One of their Able City’s subcontractors on this project is Alamo Architects, which has previously worked on SAHA projects to include: 100 Labor, Artizan at Ruiz, Lavaca Neighborhood, Leigh Street, Marie McGuire, San Juan Square I, II, III, and Victoria Commons.
This selection process marks that second time SAHA commissioners have attempted to redevelop Alazan Courts. In 2017, the commissioners initiated a process that led to the selection of NRP Group as a development partner. The previous concept involved a wholesale demolition of the city’s oldest public housing project (built in 1939) and was fiercely opposed the residents and a Westside community that resented the loss of what was considered a historic community and fears that its replacement would be unaffordable to many residents.
In January, SAHA ended its relationship with NRP Group on this project. Since then, the commissioners have been more engaged in getting community input on how to proceed.
In a prepared statement release today, SAHA said the redevelopment of Alazan Courts “is a commitment to be responsive to the needs of the residents, neighborhood and surrounding community including building higher quality housing. Renovations will be conducted in multiple phases to allow residents to remain residing in their neighborhood with little disruption.”
SAHA President and CEO Ed Hinojosa Jr. said, “New beginnings are on the horizon for Alazan Courts and the historic West Side community. Our approach to transform the Alazan Courts is one that takes into account robust resident and community engagement and we are confident Able City will handle this project with the delicacy it needs to honor the past and plan for the future.”
This week, SAHA submitted a request for $35 million for infrastructure improvements as part of the City of San Antonio’s 2022 general obligation bond to help partially fund the redevelopment.
The total cost of the redevelopment is estimated to be more than $100 million.
Alazan Courts is located on 15.83 acres of land and consists of 501 public housing units contained within 119 buildings. The redevelopment project will also include the Alazan baseball field, a 2.59-acre site that is located behind the Alazan Apache leasing office.
SAHA’s goal is to replace distressed public housing units with the same or increased density and create higher-quality housing units that are responsive to both the needs of the residents and the surrounding community. The redevelopment shall be in multiple phases, which allows current Alazan residents to remain residing in the neighborhood with little disruption during the redevelopment of the property.
The services of a master planner are required for the development of a master plan that describes the overall land use of the two areas designated for redevelopment.
This plan shall be resident and community driven and should focus on creating a diverse neighborhood by providing mixed-use development, expanded housing choices, reuse of older buildings for new purposes, shared community places, improved safety, and enhanced amenities and services.
The other companies that responded to the solicitation were ITEX, Saldana Architects, and Southeast Venture Design.
VBX Project ID: 2021-3EBE