San Antonio: Loopy Ltd. Proposes Zoning Change for High-Rise Apartment
Feature Photo (above): The two-story office building at 311 W. Laurel St. in Tobin Hill will have to be demolished to make way for a proposed high-rise residential project. Image: Google Streets.
UPDATE: 10-2-2019 — This case was rescheduled to the Oct. 1 meeting of the Zoning Commission, at which time the commissioners approved the zoning request on the “combined agenda,” (approved without public discussion). Staff noted that the Tobin Hill Community Association had approved of the concept.
Originally Posted: 9-16-2019
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County)–A zoning request is pending before the city Zoning Commission this week to facilitate the developer’s plans for a high-rise residential build to be located near the San Antonio College campus.
The Zoning Commission meets Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 16. The project under consideration is for a 120-unit structure with a maximum height of 120 feet.
The concept site plan submitted only provides a comparison of the building footprint (135′ x 65′ or 8,774 square feet) versus the total lot area, which is slightly under four-tenths of an acre. Given that there is almost no room left for surface parking outside of the building footprint, it appears the structure will include a parking garage.
The address is 311 W. Laurel, which is at the hard northwest corner of the intersection of West Laurel Street and Lewis Street. The project is within the Tobin Hill Neighborhood Association boundaries.
The site plan shows a building footprint that fills most of the lot. Courtesy: Loopy Ltd.
The land use law firm of Brown & Ortiz is representing the developer, Loopy Ltd., a San Antonio-based company owned and managed by Mitch Meyer.
The current zoning is Light Commercial and Meyer is requesting High Intensity Infill Development Zone. The Development Services Department is recommending approval.
“It is located along the major San Pedro (Ave.) corridor, providing housing for both the Alamo College campus and major employment centers of Downtown and Midtown,” according to city staff planner Michael Pepe’s report.
The project is also within the original 36 square miles of the city in a historically significant neighborhood, a condition that will eventually bring the architectural plans up for review by the Historic Design and Review Commission.
Meyer is listed as the owner on the zoning application, however, county property appraisal records still NP United Associates Inc. as the owner.
There is a 17,357-square-foot, two-story office building on the property that will have to be demolished. The building was constructed in 1955 and it has an appraised value of $782,880. There is also a paved asphalt parking lot of 11,000 square feet that will have to be removed.
The project site is adjacent to Laurel Apartments, a garden style rental community that occupies the west half of the same city block. Loopy Ltd. owns Laurel Apartments as well as the historic 12-story Aurora tower one block east.
Looking east on West Laurel, one of the structures in the Laurel Apartments sit to the far left. The project site is center left and the Aurora is in the distance on the right. Image: Google Streets.
Although most of the neighborhood is early to mid 20th century housing and neighborhood commercial, there is a new higher density townhouse development, City View Modern Lofts at 215 W. Laurel St., that is just across Lewis Street from the Loopy Ltd. project.
Meyer has been in the news over the past few years because of his involvement with Eugene Simor, the founder of Alamo Beer Company. Simor acquired land that was below and adjacent to the historic Hays Street Bridge from the city under controversial circumstances. Meyer purchased the parcel north of the bridge from Simor, knowing that the land was embroiled in a dispute with a coalition that had been working with the city to convert it into a park.
After lengthy litigation, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion favorable to the plaintiffs. This put the city in an untenable situation and rather than continue fighting the case the city offered Meyer a land swap. In exchange for taking the Hays Street Bridge land back, Meyer was to be given a city-owned lot near the Alamodome.
The project on West Laurel Street is not associated with the Hays Street Bridge land dispute.
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.