San Antonio: Renovation of Downtown Leeds Building Given Approval by HDRC
Feature Illustration: Evening view of the Leeds Building after restoration. Source: Creo Architects.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — A local architect was granted a Certificate of Appropriateness on plans to renovate the Leeds Building, located in the west end of downtown.
The COA, approved June 16, governs the exterior modifications and rehabilitation of a two-story commercial building at 345 W. Commerce Street. The project is across the street from the historic Continental Hotel building, which will soon undergo a major renovation as part of a 12-story apartment tower.
These two projects are part of several real estate development ventures that will benefit from the reconstruction and conversion of the former San Pedro Creek concrete ditch into a scenic linear park.
Before/After comparison of the Leeds Building.
Creo Architects applied for the COA on behalf of the developer, Cory Stehr of 345 Commerce Investors LLC. The Leeds Building was constructed in 1915 and has an area of 10,500 square feet. The renovation is estimated to have a cost of $500,000.
The scope of work over which the HDRC had jurisdiction includes rehabilitation of the historic structure’s façade, including masonry cleaning and repairs, the removal of non-original tile and stucco, wood window restorations, and the re-opening of previously concealed windows.
Other changes to the exterior include:
Installation of a new street level canopy.
Installation of a new aluminum storefront system to replace the existing, non-original storefront system.
Installation of new street level transom windows above the proposed canopy.
Replacement of the existing gutters and downspouts.
Installation of three new window openings on the west elevation.
The aluminum storefront system will feature a bi-fold operable system and an entrance on Laredo Street. This re-introduces an entrance on Laredo that was an original component of the building.
The existing transom window openings have been obscured by a non-original street canopy. The original transom windows were removed, and their original openings modified. City staff suggested that the new aluminum transom windows be of dark colored frames.
Plans for the interior remodel are to create two retail tenant spaces on the ground floor. The second story will be office space, with 15 partitioned offices, a kitchen/breakroom, a mechanical room and restrooms. There is no elevator and access will be via staircases at the rear and front-east sections of the building.
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.