San Antonio: Multifamily Project Near Mission Concepción Amended
Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
Posted: 7-20-2017, 12:37 p.m.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) – The Historic and Design Review Commission allowed an amendment that would increase heights on previously approved final plans for a high-density development adjacent to Mission Concepción.
As one of the San Antonio missions that is a protected World Heritage Site, the request was met with some opposition. Brady Alexander, speaking for the Alliance for San Antonio Missions, contested the request.
The project involves the redevelopment of St. John’s Seminary. Several historic buildings owned by the Archdiocese of San Antonio on this 13.6-acre campus are to be renovated for adaptive reuses as residences. In addition, four new residential buildings are planned, of which two will have 2-story heights and two will have 3-story heights. Named the St. John’s Apartments on the architectural drawings, the mix of old and new buildings will total 230 units.
The historic buildings (maroon) shield the view of the new buildings (tan brown) from Mission Concepción (green).
The project team, led by 210 Development Group LLC, explained at the Wednesday meeting before the HDRC that the change was necessary because the civil engineers with Big Red Dog found that the original foundations were too low to provide for proper site drainage. To raise the foundations, the overall heights were proposed to be raised by from 1 to 11 feet, depending on the location of each building and its specific topography.
Miguel Saldaña, the project architect from B&A Architects Inc., said he initially offered to address the issue by switching to flat roofs with parapets. But the city’s Office of Historic Preservation and the Design Review Committee preferred to stay with sloped roofs that more accurately conform to the adjacent historic structures.
Mark Tolley, a 210 Development partner, said a visual survey was conducted with an aerial drone on June 22 that established the new buildings would still be hidden from view to visitors at the Mission Concepción national park. This is because they are shielded by the three historic buildings that 210 Development will restore and maintain.
The three historic buildings are also being nominated by 210 Development for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
The San Antonio Conservation Society raised an objection for a different reason. Spokesperson Patti Zaiontz said the exteriors of the new buildings had been changed in the latest designs to use more board and batten, instead of stucco. Commissioner Tim Cone agreed that this appeared to be so.
Tolley agreed to reduce the use of board and batten and go with more stucco.
The final designs were first approved by the HDRC in August 2016. Tolley said that the construction documents are nearly complete.
Extensive archeological tests were required, due to the site’s historic significance. Tolley added they are in the final stages of the archeological digs. According to the 210 Development website, a general contractor has not yet been selected.
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.