San Antonio: NRP Group Banks on San Pedro Creek Redevelopment
Feature Photo (above): NRP Group proposes a market rate apartment community at Cevallos Street where the San Antonio River Authority will complete flood control and landscaping improvements to San Pedro Creek. Image: Google Streets.
Originally Posted: 8-6-2018
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) – The NRP Group LLC, a multifamily housing developer, obtained its requested rezoning by unanimous vote for a 9.1-acre tract that is adjacent to San Pedro Creek.
In other business, the August 7 session of the Zoning Commission considered plans for an office tower on the Broadway Corridor, a multifamily project near the Pearl, and a hotel by Northwest Loop 410 and Ingram Park Mall.
On Tuesday at the Zoning Commission hearing, the land use/zoning law firm of Brown & Ortiz represented NRP on a request to change a district zoned Heavy Industrial to Infill Development Zone with MF-40 multifamily as a permitted use. MF-40 allows up to 40 residential units per acre.
NRP is contracting with several property owners in order to get this deal. John Schule, Peden Street Partners LTD, Strafkids Realty Co., and Melissa Maldonado Gonzalez own the land. NRP also plans to obtain rights to West Peden Alley, a private road, to secure a second entrance/exit point.
The land is in the South Flores district, west of the Steel House Lofts and it straddles Peden Alley. Marty Street connects the north end of the site to West Cevallos Street. Its northern boundary is a Union Pacific Railroad track.
Aerial map of the industrial site where NRP Group proposes an apartment project. Image: Google Maps.
There are no vacant lots. The entire site is covered with warehouses and surface parking. Current tenants include an Advance Auto Parks Distribution Center, Mapco Inc., and Accu-Rite Roofing. A multifamily project would require extensive demolition work.
The Development Services office submitted an approval recommendation. It states that NRP “proposes approximately 320 residential units. This project will integrate and blend higher density residential with commercial and other land uses in the surrounding area.
“The requested “IDZ” requires urban design standards in order to maintain a neighborhood commercial scale, promote pedestrian activity and maintain the unique character of the center. The design criteria intends to create infill development that is proportional to surrounding area, to ensure appropriateness. The “IDZ” zoning district is meant to provide flexible standards for the development and reuse of underutilized parcels. Allowing the change will downzone the heavy industrial use, and further enhance the neighborhood.”
Conceptual site plan for NRP Group’s proposed multifamily project at Cevallos Street and San Pedro Creek. Courtesy: City of San Antonio public records.
A conceptual site plan for the project describes five buildings. Four of the buildings are of similar scale, with two fronting West Cevallos Street to the south and two fronting San Pedro Creek to the west. The fifth and largest building forms a quadrangle and wraps around a courtyard with a pool deck. There is a small park to the northeast where Peden and Marty meet.
NRP Group is proposing access to the apartment community via new curb cuts at Peden on the northeast and a main entrance on Cevallos.
While NRP Group is known for developing affordable housing to low income families, the company also does market rate housing. This project will be a mix. Alastair Jenkin, a company vice president for development, told the commission that this is a “PFC project,” meaning it will receive financing through a public facility corporation to ensure about half of the units will be rented at 80 percent or less of the area median family income.
The main concern of the commissioners was whether there was adequate parking. Jenkin said the 516 spaces provided would be sufficient for the future tenants, and also takes into account any guests that would be on site at any given time.
The San Antonio River Authority is in the process of redeveloping San Pedro Creek through the downtown area.
The section of the creek reaching to Cevallos Street will be the last to be upgraded. It will be dredged to run deeper and wider and will be heavily landscaped with native plants to reintroduce wildlife. Once completed, it will be a high quality green space of the kind that has attracted high-end residential development up and down the Museum Reach and Mission Reach sections of the San Antonio River.
Office Tower on Broadway
Project site for office building by Stream Realty. Courtesy: City of San Antonio public records.
In other Tuesday business, the commission was asked to change zoning on a 1.48-acre tract of vacant land in the 2100 block of Broadway to allow a high-rise office with a bar/tavern. The location boundaries include North Alamo Street to the east, Alling Street to the south, and Appler Street to the north.
Alamo Colleges District is currently constructing and new administrative headquarters and campus immediately east of Alamo from the proposed office building.
The applicant is Stream Realty Acquisition LLC, a division of Stream Realty Partners, which is a national real estate development and property management company.
Conceptual rendering by Overland Partners of the office tower being planned by Stream Realty. Courtesy of Stream.
The city Development Services office recommended denial, but with an alternate recommendation. Stream Realty has sought a building height limit increase of up to 180 feet, and staff recommends keeping the current height limit of 90 feet.
The Design Review Committee of the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) was consulted on the project on June 20 and suggested they might be agreeable to the height increase. Commissioner comments were that RIO2 (zoning with the taller height limit) “makes sense … due to Broadway corridor, however, it would creat a RIO2 island in RIO1. Not necessarily opposed to a RIO2 island.”
While the Office of Historic Preservation which works closely with HDRC was not in favor of the additional height, staff did leave room in its recommendation for compromise:
“(Stream) should explore an overall height that aligns more closely with the established height regulation of 90 feet for this property consistent with the neighborhood goals for the district. The applicant may also request approval for a specific design that exceeds the established height regulation, and the HDRC may provide a positive recommendation to the Board of Adjustment for consideration of a variance from the height limitations.”
James Griffin, the Brown & Ortiz attorney representing Stream, told the commission that his client had decided to drop its request for RIO2 and would follow staff recommendation to seek the additional height through a variance.
Preliminary site plan for a hotel by developer Mike Patel. Courtesy: City of San Antonio public records.
Mike Patel, a Dallas-based hotel developer, is interested in a 2.46-acre tract of land owned by the City of San Antonio that is at the corner of the NW Loop 410 frontage and Peace Pipe Drive, which is across the expressway from Ingram Park Mall. It’s already zoned commercial, but Patel asks for a Special Use authorization to go taller than 35 feet.
A preliminary site plan shows a single 14,000-square-foot structure centered on the lot, with surface parking proposed on all four sides. A six-foot privacy wall would be constructed along the east property boundary where the lot meets a single family housing neighborhood.
Vickrey & Associates Inc. prepared the site plan. The plan proposes 96 parking spaces and has a landscape (open space) to impervious cover ratio of 41,208 SF to 66,342 SF, respectively.
A spokesman for Vickrey said the building will be four stories and have 100 guestrooms, and all rooms will be accessed from an interior corridor. He said the building was configured perpendicular to the neighborhood to ensure guests in the upper level rooms would not be able to see into nearby yards and homes.
The property has a steep grade and rises 14 feet from the frontage road to where it reaches the residential lots. The project site will be excavated and leveled to bring it to a gradation more in line with the frontage road.
Condo Towers in Tobin Hill
Concept site plan for condo towers project in Tobin Hill. Courtesy: City of San Antonio public records.
Limitless Creations requested and obtained an increase in housing density from Residential Mixed to MF-65 for a .59-acre site, and is proposing to construct 30 units. The preliminary site plan for Legacy Lofts suggests there will be five structures, with each being seven stories. An existing one-story commercial building will be incorporated into the project and several single family homes will be removed.
The project includes enough surface parking for 35 vehicles, a pool and an open green space.
The Development Services staff recommendation is to deny the higher density, and offers an alternative that would limit density to 25 condo units.
There is also an issue with the demolition application. The Office of Historic Preservation has a case pending:
“An application for demolition at 1817 N St Mary’s was submitted to the Office of Historic Preservation. The neighborhood responded to this request by submitting a Request for Review of Historic Significance, requesting that the Historic & Design Review Commission review the designation eligibility of the structures on this lot. The Historic & Design Review Commission is scheduled to hear a review of Historic Significance of this property. OHP staff recommends approval of a Finding of Historic Significance and that the HDRC recommend designation of the property.”
Robert Melvin, chief executive officer at Limitless, faces a legal hurdle. According to a San Antonio Express-News report, two sons of the woman who owned the property claim it was sold to Melvin fraudulently because their brother orchestrated the transaction without his mother’s permission. The family dispute was taken to court, potentially putting a cloud over Melvin’s development rights.
However, Melvin told the Express-News he isn’t concerned with the lawsuit and hopes to start construction in September.
Melvin has done a multifamily residential project near the Pearl district before. In early 2017, he broke ground on a unique project at 1103 E. Elmira called Park Avenue at the Pearl that converted steel shipping containers into three-bedroom apartments.
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.