Austin real estate firm purchases historic office building on downtown River Walk

by Richard WebnerNovember 23, 2020
This three-story office building on the River Walk sits at 454 Soledad St.
This three-story office building on Soledad Street is owned by an Austin firm. Photo by Ben Olivo | Heron BEN OLIVO | HERON

An Austin real estate firm has purchased a three-story historic office building on the River Walk in a fast-growing part of west downtown.

The firm, Real International, bought the building at 454 Soledad St. from former Mayor Henry Cisneros on Oct. 14, county deed records show. Its founder, Lynn Yuan, sees a lot of potential in downtown, particularly in that area, she said in an email.

She pointed out that the building is in between the famous “horseshoe” section of the River Walk and the Pearl, and that it is in a federal Opportunity Zone, which makes developers eligible for breaks on capital gains taxes. The 32-story apartment tower that Weston Urban plans to build is only a short walk away, she said.

“We plan to hold onto it and also make improvements,” she said.

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She declined to say how much the property sold for. The Bexar Appraisal District assessed it at $3.7 million this year.

The office building has 21,920 square feet and was built in 1926, according to the appraisal district.

Cisneros has worked from the building since he bought it in 2016. Several businesses linked with him are located there, including Mission DG, Cisneros and Victoria Miramontes' development firm that has partnered with the San Antonio Housing Authority to build the Tampico Apartments on the West Side. It's also home to the San Antonio offices of American Triple-I Partners, an infrastructure fund manager of which Cisneros is chairman.

Cisneros and Miramontes are moving their offices to a building the former mayor is rehabilitating on the West Side, 2201 Buena Vista Street, he said.

"It came time to reorganize my own financial situation and also to commit to a property on the West Side," he said.

Most of Real International’s investors are Asian or Asian-American, Yuan said, with about 20% coming from other countries. The firm has been investing in the San Antonio market for about two years—its website lists several single-family and multifamily properties outside the urban core—and it plans to do so more in the future, she said.

[ View more downtown transactions. ]

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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