San Antonio: Developers Break Ground on Vicinia Mixed-Use, Master-Planned Neighborhood
Featured Illustration (above): The town square will be a major feature in the mixed-use, master-planned community Vicinia. Pre-development work has begun on the transit-oriented neighborhood in far West San Antonio. Image: Depiction LLC
By Edmond Ortiz
San Antonio (Bexar County)–A 97-acre tract on the far West Side is being eyed for development as Vicinia, a master-planned, mixed-use community with housing for all incomes and ages, retail, office, mass transit stops and civic spaces, including a town square.
A group of local developers led by real estate broker Ed Cross is overseeing the new infill development at Potranco Road and West Military Drive, the site of the former Persyn family farm. The group, PMI 2016, recently launched site preparation, developing roads and setting up utilities.
Latin for “neighborhood,” Vicinia is envisioned as a pedestrian-friendly community and one of the first local versions of new urbanism, where the design focuses on smaller, walkable blocks and narrower streets, wide, shaded sidewalks, housing and shopping in close proximity, and accessible public spaces.
Vicinia will be a walkable neighborhood blending a mix of housing options with ground-floor retail and dining spaces and small office buildings. Depiction LLC
Vicinia will also be the first project to utilize San Antonio’s Transit Oriented Development (“TOD”) zoning code that encourages density near transit facilities.
Additionally, Vicinia will have the first modern town square built outside Loop 410.
The community will sit east of Texas Highway 151 and Westover Hills, a hot spot of residential and commercial development.
In a press release, Cross said innovative development techniques are needed to address the 1 million people expected to move to the San Antonio area by 2040.
“For San Antonio to meet the needs of one million additional residents within 20 years, we need to take steps now to address and hopefully pre-empt challenges that will arise with increased roadway congestion and housing supply,” said Cross, CEO of San Antonio Commercial Advisors.
“New urbanism design models address these challenges, providing walkable, mixed use environments that minimize dependency on cars, thereby improving life quality and supplying people with more time and a healthier communal life.”
Vicinia will be built in phases over several years, and will involve residences such as town homes, condos, and mixed-use buildings many with ground floor retail spaces.
This May 2019 photo shows the former Persyn farm, where pre-development work has started on the Vicinia neighborhood. Image: Google Streets
According to the news release, the built-up environment will maximize land use by including a plan for population density.
The town square will feature prominently in the master plan and will accommodate public events, recreational space, food trucks, and a future farmer’s market.
The town square will be located next to a new transit center. Fifty-nine of the 97 acres were purchased from VIA Metropolitan Transit.
An extension of West Military Drive, funded by the city’s 2017 bond, will connect with Ingram Road and will serve as the main corridor for the new neighborhood. PMI is putting $3 million toward completing the road extension.
The project was designed in a charette process led by Steve Oubre of Louisiana-based Architects Southwest. All projects will adhere to guiding design principles.
“Vicinia is a significant example of what SA Tomorrow can look like,” District 6 City Councilwoman Melissa Havrda said in the release, referring to the city’s comprehensive plan.
“Cities are often designed around people’s main modes of transportation. Vicinia is providing a real alternative to typical suburban development models, helping to encourage walking and incorporate more diverse means of transportation into the design phase so that citizens can utilize healthier and more enjoyable ways to get where they need to go.”
A conceptual of the mixed-use, master-planned Vicinia development. Image: Depiction LLC
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.