San Antonio: VIA Metro Anticipates Issuance of Developer RFP in October for Scobey Complex
Feature Illustration (above): The Scobey Complex as it appears today in relation to VIA Metro’s Centro Plaza and the Grand. Courtesy: VIA Metro.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — VIA Metropolitan Transit is planning to release a Request for Proposals in October in hopes of attracting a qualified developer that can redevelopment the Scobey Storage Complex that occupies a city block west of downtown.
The VIA Board of Trustees received a status report on the project last month, during which staff said they hoped to enter into a definitive agreement with a developer by the Fall of 2021. However, the transit authority wants to have an interim agreement in place by the Spring of 2021.
The design process will commence after a developer is selected.
VIA Metro acquired the 2.62-acre site in 2017. The Scobey Complex includes six buildings and about 289,432 square feet. The property is adjacent to VIA Villa (Centro Plaza and the Grand) and it is a goal of VIA Metro to redevelop the complex into a transit-oriented community to support an increase in ridership as well as provide a new revenue stream.
VBX reported in May that VIA Metro had issued a Request for Information. The intent of the RFI was to accumulate advice from experienced developers about what could be done with the site.
“VIA received two responses to the RFI from local developers and heard from many other local developers that they were interested and following the project,” the staff report to the board stated. ”
Based on these responses, VIA Metro concluded there is market interest and potential projects range from residential with a focus on an affordable housing mix to a focus on a mixed-use district with housing, shops, cafes, and co-working spaces.
The pending RFP will be distributed to local and national developers.
In addition to this action, the board hired Douglas Architects to draft a Scobey Building Vision Plan. That report was released in April. That report took 18 months to produce and Douglas was part of a consultant team that included HDR, Presidian and Economic Planning Systems (EPS).
The report included a detailed structural assessment of current conditions and analysis of what would be needed to bring the existing buildings up to code, provided they are to be reused. The site is considered of historic significance and any scenario that involves demolition would have to go through extensive review by city agencies as well as public comment.
The redevelopment of the Scobey Complex is looked upon by other developers as a catalyst that could help other stakeholders bring new multifamily and retail development to the greater Cattleman’s Square neighborhood. These stakeholders include Weston Urban, David Adelman, Bexar County Appraisal District, Greg Schnurr, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Alamo Community Group.
Douglas and HDR presented numerous options that focused on redevelopment as an office park or as residential, with each option having a variety of levels of density. Some involved demolition of the southernmost and northernmost buildings (those is poorest condition and of lease historic significance). Most options involve the demolition of at least one building to allow for the construction of a parking garage.
VIA Metro is also conducting an online survey for community input and is asking that participants rank development goals and objectives. Results of the survey may be included in the RFP.
VIA is considering an agreement that could result in the sale or a long-term lease (75 to 99 years) of the property. If the focus of development is for office space, VIA may be a tenant in that space. Whether it is developed as office or residential or a mix, VIA expects the concept will prioritize public transit ridership.
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.