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San Antonio: Southstar Communities Acquires a Third of 1,800-Acres Surrounding A&M University Campus

Feature Photo (above): Looking north from Verano Parkway, a view of the undeveloped lands alongside University Way. SouthStar Communities plans to bring mixed-use development to the 600 acres between the campus and Loop 410. Image: Google Streets.

Posted: 11-11-2019

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County)SouthStar Communities announced Friday the launch of VIDA, a master planned community intended to complement the Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus.

The formal announcement came after a Nov. 7 vote by City Council to reassign the development agreement with Verano Land Group LP to SouthStar at Verano LLC, a subsidiary of New Braunfels-based SouthStar Communities.

Verano Land Group has had the agreement in place since 2007 but was never able to deliver a promised mixed-use development of housing, retail and other infrastructure and commerce expected by the city and the Texas A&M University System.

Along with the reassignment of the agreement, SouthStar acquires the most lucrative 600 acres of about 1,800 owned by Verano Land Group. It is up to SouthStar now to development the lands to either side of University Way, which is the long boulevard and main entrance to the campus.

The new assignment states, “Verano Land Group, LP will sell approximately 600 acres and assign the Development Agreement to Southstar at Verano, LLC. Verano Land Group, LP/VTLM TEXAS, LP shall retain approximately 1,200 industrial acres.

“The development will include a total of 5,711 residential units: 2,500 multi-family units, 2,461 single-family homes, and 750 condos/townhomes. The development will also contain 925,000 square feet (SF) of office space, 665 SF of retail space, 1,225,000 SF of industrial space, and 200,000 SF of institutional structures such as restaurants, a day care, assisted living centers, various sports facilities, trails, and parks.”

Source: City of San Antonio public records.

The South Side development, located off of 410 and South Zarzamora Street,  will have a shared vision and connectivity with the 10-year-old college campus.

City Council’s reassignment of the tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) assures the developer reimbursement of funding it puts into public infrastructure for its projects.

“VIDA will be built for San Antonio’s growing community,” said Thad Rutherford, SouthStar Communities President. “Our close proximity to the university presents a unique and exciting opportunity. It’s a win-win as we look toward the future to build a master-planned community for the South Side, Texas A&M University-San Antonio students, faculty and staff and the city.

“We see VIDA as an economic driver for the region, and a community where individuals can live, work and play.”

Rutherford said preliminary plans for VIDA include breaking ground in Spring 2020. Move-in ready homes are anticipated to be completed by early 2021.

Apart from housing, VIDA is planned to include an expansive trail system that interconnects the full community to the Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus, shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and healthcare services.

“VIDA is a stellar example of leveraging the excellence of A&M-San Antonio and SouthStar Communities to drive economic development. This collaboration will elevate the region with mixed–use services such as housing options, SMART technologies – creating a university village community and a gateway to campus programs and culture,” said Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

“We are looking forward to VIDA’s contributions to the ‘live-work-play-learn’ vision for our community.”

VIDA will be the second active community by SouthStar Communities in San Antonio, and the sixth active development in Texas. Mission del Lago, also owned and operated by SouthStar Communities, operates as a mixed-use housing community on the city’s South Side.

Verano Land Group may continue to develop the lands it still holds with the benefit of the tax increment reinvestment zone grants, but they must now rely upon SouthStar’s cooperation, since SouthStar will control the board of directors.

SouthStar Communities recently celebrated their 20th anniversary as a nationally recognized master planned community developer. The company has invested in and developed six active communities in Texas from Dallas to College Station and New Braunfels.

Groundbreaking festivities for VIDA are tentatively scheduled for April 2020. For more information on VIDA, visit livevida.com

SouthStar Communities is a nationally-recognized master planned community developer that invests, develops properties, provides services including acquisition, entitlements, planning and development, project management, design oversight, marketing, branding strategy and asset management.

SouthStar recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and currently has six active communities in Texas from Dallas to College Station, New Braunfels, San Antonio and several more across the country.


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Construction Preview
By |2019-11-11T16:42:00-06:00November 11th, 2019|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

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.

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