Weston Urban plans 32-story apartment tower in downtown tech district

by Richard WebnerNovember 15, 2020
This property bound by North Main, Soledad, West Pecan and East Travis streets is slated to become a 32-story apartment tower by Weston Urban.
This property bound by North Main, Soledad, West Pecan and East Travis streets is slated to become a 32-story apartment tower by Weston Urban. Photo by Ben Olivo | Heron

Weston Urban has submitted plans to the city to build a 32-story apartment tower with ground-floor retail a block from Geekdom and the Frost Tower.

The $107 million tower, 305 Soledad St., would include 351 apartment units, 7,250 square feet of retail space and a six-level parking garage with 456 spaces, according to the Planning Commission agenda for Wednesday's meeting.

"We absolutely have exciting plans on Soledad, but all still extremely premature to comment on,” Weston Urban president Randy Smith said in a text message last week, before the agenda was posted.

He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

CITY OF SAN ANTONIO

The commission will vote on whether to adjust the property line on Soledad Street and abandon the city’s right-of-way on aerial space above North Main Avenue so that Weston Urban can build a cantilevered parking garage, which is a “necessary component” of the development.

CITY OF SAN ANTONIO

Construction is expected to begin in mid-2021 and last for two years, the agenda says. The 0.87-acre building site is currently a parking lot.

It’s unclear how tall the tower will be, but at 32 stories, it would likely rise higher than the 24- story Frost Tower that Weston Urban completed last year. The only downtown buildings with more than 32 stories are Convention Center hotels: the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, with 38, and the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, with 34.

Weston Urban’s Weston Centre office building, a block east of the proposed tower, also has 32 stories.

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The company’s executives have long said they wanted to build housing in west downtown, where they have worked closely with the city to create a busy urban district with a tech flavor centered around their Geekdom co-working space in the Rand building.

The proposed tower would be across the street from the 21-story historic Milam Building, which the company owns and intends to renovate.

In 2015, Weston Urban reached a deal with the city that gave rise to the new Frost Tower and made the company owner of several properties in the area, ranging from the stately Municipal Plaza Building where City Council meets to several run-down parking lots. The agreement required the company to build at least 265 housing units.

Since then, the company has frequently bought up property in west downtown, where the construction of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park and the University of Texas at San Antonio's (UTSA) plans to expand its downtown campus are expected to draw in even more businesses and residents. Last year, for example it bought two low-rise office buildings at 601 and 800 Dolorosa, occupying a total of 2.7 acres, deed records show.

Another notable development the planned restoration of the Continental Hotel on West Commerce Street into house meant to complement UTSA's expansion.

The 305 Soledad property was not among the properties Weston Urban acquired through its deal with the city. Entities linked to Graham Weston have owned it since 1997, according to deed records from the Bexar County Clerk.

Randy Smith, Weston Urban’s president, told the Heron last year that the company planned to far exceed the 265 units it promised to the city.

“We will build multifamily down here until the market tells us to stop,” he said. “We have the land. We have the development pipeline.”

The company plans to build a mix of housing types at different rent levels, Smith said at the time. It will seek partners and incentives for some of its projects, he said.

“We are going to deliver across product points and price points, because we can’t deliver 500 of one type of thing and expect that to be a success,” Smith said. “Capital is going to find the most efficient return—to us, as part of our mission, we just will not waiver off that, that we know we have to deliver across product types and price points."

Related
» UTSA downtown expansion expected to begin in December
» A glimpse at west downtown in 10 years
» West Commerce likely to become San Antonio’s next nightlife destination
» Continental Hotel sold to Weston Urban for mixed-use project
» Weston Urban purchases iconic Toudouze building, eyes synergy with UTSA expansion

Richard Webner is a freelance journalist covering Austin and San Antonio, and a former San Antonio Express-News business reporter. Follow him at @RWebner on Twitter

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