Development Profile: Weston Urban's 32-story apartment tower awarded final piece of $7.5M San Antonio subsidy

by Heron StaffMarch 3, 2021
Rendering shows Weston Urban's proposed 32-story tower at 305 Soledad St. from the southwest corner looking north. Courtesy Weston Urban

Weston Urban expects to begin work on its $107 million, 32-story high-end apartment building in the middle of this year, and for it to be completed in two years, Mark Jensen and Reeves Craig, the developer’s vice presidents, told the Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) last Thursday.

All of the tower’s 351 apartments, ranging from 535-square-feet for an efficiency to beyond 2,000-square-feet for a penthouse, are expected to be priced at market-rate. The average unit size will be 925 square feet.

Jensen and Craig did not disclose rents, but said each unit would cost $362,963 to build, when factoring in the cost of construction along with related costs, such as the land purchase and financing.

Weston Urban has received $7.5 million in city incentives, including a 75% rebate on city property taxes over 15 years, worth an estimated $6.5 million, executed in December. The other 25% of taxes due over the same period, or $2.2 million, will feed the city's affordable housing fund.

Last week, the Houston Street TIRZ agreed to grant up to $1 million to cover the cost of SAWS impact fees.

In a TIRZ, the increment in tax revenue gained is collected and reinvested in the boundary.

The Bexar Appraisal District valued the property last year at $3.1 million.

During the meeting, Jensen and Craig revealed more details about one of the most anticipated residential projects in the downtown area ever.

The exterior will be made of dark and light masonry, as well as concrete and glass. Apartments will consume floors 7 through 32. An amenity deck and pool will occupy the seventh floor.

The 7,200-square-feet of retail space is intended to activate the corners of the building, especially on the northeast corner of North Main Avenue and East Travis Street, kitty corner to the park Weston Urban just built. Jensen told board members there would be a natural pedestrian connection between a large-scale restaurant facing Travis and and Pinkerton’s Barbecue, which opened recently at the park.

The spaces facing Soledad Street and North Main Avenue he described as more "service-oriented."

Weston Urban is planning for the building’s main entrance and lobby to face Main Avenue, and to place vehicular traffic access on Soledad, across from the Weston Centre, where there’s already a garage opening there.

"From a residential standpoint, we’re very excited to bring something to the city that sits in between the river and the creek," Jensen said of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek. "The ability to pop out and go for a run along either of those greenways should be a very special experience."

Jensen said Weston Urban currently has about 20,000 square feet of retail space it’s currently trying to lease, which includes in the Frost Tower, which opened almost two years ago, as well as in the neighboring Rand and Savoy buildings on East Houston Street.

During the meeting Jensen identified roughly $1.7 million worth of public upgrades, such as work that needs to be done to the streets, electrical and gas work, and telecommunications connections—the types of work TIRZ’s were created for—but Thursday’s vote only covered SAWS impact fees, city officials said.

It’s unclear whether Weston Urban will return to the city for a subsidy to fund the gap.

Jensen said Weston Urban will look to build mixed-income housing in future projects, where the average apartment size would be in the 700-square-foot range.

"This one particularly is targeting the higher end of the market," he said.

Ben Olivo, Heron editor

Houston Street TIRZ board consists of District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, board chair; Assistant City Manager Lori Houston; Deputy Chief Financial Officer Troy Elliott; John Jacks, director of the Center City Development and Operations Department; County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez; County Commissioner Tommy Calvert; and Manuel Leal.

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GOOGLE | HERON

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Previously published

» Analysis: Weston Urban's high-rise tower 'blazes the trail' for downtown growth
» Weston Urban plans 32-story apartment tower in downtown tech district

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Weston Urban residential tower

» Address: 305 Soledad St.
» Developer: Weston Urban
» Property owner: Weston Urban
» Rent or Buy: Rent
» Height: 32 stories, approx. 400 feet
» Land size: .87 acres
» Total units: 351
     » Market rate: 351
     » 80% AMI: None
     » 70% AMI: None
     » 60% AMI: None
     » 50% AMI: None
     » 40% AMI: None
     » 30% AMI: None
     » Student Units: None
» Section 8: Unknown
» Retail: 7,200 square feet
» Parking: Garage, 456 spaces
» Construction start date: Mid-2021
» End date: Mid-2023
» Architect: Unknown
» Cost: $107 million
» Investors: Unknown
» Financing: Unknown
» San Antonio Incentives: $7.5 million
     » SAWS Fee Waivers: $1 million (Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone)
     » City Fee Waivers: Unknown
     » City Loans: Unknown
     » Est. City Property Tax Rebate: $6.5 million, estimated 75% rebate on city property taxes over 15 years ($2.2 million [or 25% of rebate] will feed city's affordable housing fund)
     » Tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ): See "SAWS fee waiver"
» Bexar County Incentives: Unknown
» Texas incentives: Unknown
» Federal incentives: Unknown
» Cashflow: Unknown

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Timeline

Dec. 16, 2020

Weston Urban’s plan to build downtown’s tallest residential building, a 32-story apartment tower in west downtown, took a step forward when the city’s Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) gave a thumbs-up to its design.

The commission made no comment as it granted conceptual approval for the design of the roughly 400-foot-tall tower, 305 Soledad St., which would single-handedly create a market for high-rise urban living in San Antonio.

Renderings and floor plans for the $107 million project show that it will have three separate retail spaces on the ground floor and a landscaped area with outdoor tables. Several stories up, the renderings show what appears to be an outdoor pool, and a skydeck close to the top of the building.

Most of the tower’s exterior will consist of grey brick and exposed concrete, but the lower levels will have an exterior of earth-colored brick, the renderings show. — Richard Webner, Heron contributor

[ Read more about the HDRC's decision. ]

Nov. 18, 2020

Word of Weston Urban's plan to build a 32-story apartment tower, the first of its kind in San Antonio, surfaces after the plan hits the city's Planning Commission agenda. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the plans without discussion.

October 2020

Members of the HDRC’s Design Review Committee complimented Weston Urban on the "beautiful" design, according to a report from the meeting. The meeting was not open to the public. One member expressed concern that the grey brick exterior is out of character for San Antonio, but others said they did not share that concern.

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Weston Urban properties

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