Inside San Antonio's downtown bubble, where rents are on par with Austin's at $2 a square foot and beyond, the cost of living may seem justifiable. As more lofts and condos are built, it all seems normal. Studio apartments priced at $1,000 a month. Topo Chicos for $5. It's not anyone's fault. It's just market forces. It is what it is.

San Antonians who live in other parts of the city, however, are not exactly joining in on the development boom. And make no mistake, not since the years leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 have there been so many buildings going up in downtown San Antonio at the same time.

The Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), a Mayor Julián Castro-era mechanism from 2012, is the reason this market exists today. City incentives have yielded 6,238 completed or planned units, mostly in the downtown area.

In December, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced his intention to place a moratorium on CCHIP. Why? Because the policy has resulted in the construction of mostly luxury apartments — or market-rate — of late, Nirenberg said. His charge to city officials at the time: Revise CCHIP so that it assists in the creation of more affordable housing in the downtown area.

As a place for entertainment, family activities and recreation, downtown is becoming more accessible with events such as the summertime movies at Travis Park and Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden. To live downtown? If you're working class or poor, don't bother trying. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are infinitesimal.

So when Nirenberg benched CCHIP in December, it was the first time a public official so openly put the city-backed downtown growth into context with the economic segregation of the rest of the city.

"Those are case in points of a policy created with [the] great intention of revitalizing downtown, but that left out affordability so that only certain portions of our community can actually benefit from that revitalization," Nirenberg told me when I was reporting for nonprofit Folo Media. "That's not what we want. We want downtown to be a place for all San Antonians, especially, when its (growth is) coming with public dollars."

On Tuesday, city officials will unveil the new policy to the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.

Backstory: Before CCHIP, the city handed out incentives, but each deal was unique. City officials and the developer negotiated. Cash was sometimes included in the package. Then the agreement would go to the City Council for a vote. This took time and it raised ethical questions about city officials and developers negotiating behind closed doors.

In 2012, the city created CCHIP with the intent of aiding in getting as many people living downtown as possible while adding transparency and brevity to the incentives process. No longer, did the Council vote on each deal.

What went right: It worked. CCHIP has resulted in 6,238 housing units that have either been built or that are in the works. More and more developments are coming into the core. At the beginning of CCHIP, the development pattern took on the shape of a donut — affecting downtown's surrounding neighborhoods more than the actual center city.

make the point about increased tax revenue from

It had consequences.

What went wrong: Simply put, Mission Trails. Early on, the CCHIP boundaries extended into parts of the city clearly not the central business district. A kind of gerrymandering.

In late 2014 and early 2015, more than 100 mostly low-income households, living in the Mission Trails mobile home park along the San Antonio River on the South Side, were displaced by a luxury apartments that received a CCHIP package.

In June 2016, the City Council revised the program — scaling back its footprint and extending it until June 2018.

hays street bridge

What's to come: CCHIP works for all types of housing — from market-rate to workforce to affordable housing — but units the working class and poor can afford are rarely built in the downtown area. Last week, we reported that the Museum Reach Lofts, an almost completely affordable project by Alamo Community Group near the Pearl, is getting closer to securing all of its financing. (Ironically, the project is taking shape during the CCHIP hiatus, and therefore is not currently due to receive city incentives.)

Conversely, another project called The Durango, 421 S. Flores St., is due to receive a CCHIP package worth $3.3 million — including an estimated $2.4 million in city tax rebates over 15 years — while commanding rents at about $3 a square foot. To give you an idea, a studio apartment (typically 400 square feet; a room with a bathroom) would cost you $1,200 a month.

Construction costs, the cost of land, and other factors, drive up development costs and therefore rents. If you want to build affordable housing in the downtown area, you need help, such as low-income housing tax credits, city incentives.

Every multifamily project that receives an incentive will either include affordable housing or pay a kind of fee that will go into a fund that assists in the creation of affordable housing, says people who have seen the recommendations and, to a lesser degree, CCDO director John Jacks. What we'll be looking for, more importantly, is if the incentives policy will actually encourage developers to add affordable units themselves.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

The redevelopment of the long-vacant Friedrich Building complex on the East Side cleared another hurdle on Tuesday when it was awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Inner City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone coffer.

As a result, Dallas developer Provident Realty Advisors hopes to break ground on the 374-unit Friedrich Lofts project in February or March. The $65 million project is expected to take 22 months to complete, Provident Vice President David Holland said after the Inner City TIRZ meeting.

Specifically, the Friedrich Lofts, 1617 E. Commerce St., will comprise 173 market-rate units, 160 units rented to households making 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), and 14 units for people making 60 percent AMI. In San Antonio, the AMI for a family of four is $63,500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In order to build the lofts, most of the 14 structures on the Friedrich site will have to be demolished. The complex is a cluster of derelict structures built between 1923 and 1956 and is currently owned by a group headed by John Miller of Dallas. In recent years, Miller was successful in getting the historic label removed for most of the buildings so that Miller could then market them to potential developers, such as Provident, as a potential development site.

He was successful. Provident is now in position to build on four acres on the six-acre site.

Miller's group owns the portion of the complex where the "Friedrich Refrigerators" sign sits. James McKnight, an attorney for the group, told the Heron that Miller could development remaining portion, which retained its historic label, or could sell to a potential developer.

The project by Provident includes a 725-space parking garage and resident amenities such as a 6,000-square-foot club house and residents lounge, a gym, computer lounge, pool and patio, and outdoor courtyard.

The development will not include any retail space.

The average unit size will be 885 square feet. Affordable units will average $1,050 per month, and market-rate units at $1,334 per month.

Provident has partnered with the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation, a nonprofit created by the city of San Antonio, which has partnered with developers on projects that result in workforce or affordable housing units,

For this project, Provident also received an incentives package composed of $500,000 in SAWS fee waivers and $97,670 in city fee waivers.

Renderings courtesy Provident Realty Advisors

Photo by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

All options are on the table regarding two spaces available for lease at Hemisfair. But the park prefers something sweet in one space and something sweaty in the other.

Last week, Hemisfair released a requests for information on the two spaces.

The most prominent of the spaces is the one-story Pereida House (above), which faces South Alamo Street on the front end, and Yanaguana Garden on the back. Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar envisions a dessert-type business inside the 660-square-foot space and 275-square-foot porch. It also shares 350 square feet of indoor space and a 100-square-foot patio with Paletería San Antonio, also housed inside Pereida.

"We are just open to see what comes our way, what ideas are proposed, and then we'll pick the best," Andujar said.

The 800-square-foot second floor of the Schultze House (below), next to the gazebo on Nueva Street, is also available. A retail-type tenant would be challenge there, Andujar said, so they're looking for a "destination tenant," something health related, like a yoga studio, for example.

The future tenants would join Dough Pizzeria, Con Safos Cocina y Cantina, CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery and the paletería at Hemisfair.

Overall, the park has 10 more historic homes in need of rehabilitation. The park hoped to receive funds from the 2017-2022 bond program, but didn't get them. The Hemisfair Conservancy, a 501c3 nonprofit separate from the park, continues to raise funds for home rehab and other segments of the park.

Responses for the two available spaces are due Sept. 24. Leases could potentially begin Oct. 9.

To view the RFI, visit hemisfair.org/RFI.

Previously published
Hemisfair's grand park construction begins this summer

Photos by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

Since May, people have been settling into The Baldwin — a mixed-income apartment building at St. Paul Square. It's hard to miss if you're driving up and down U.S. 281. The 271-unit, four-story building neighbors the condo mid-rise Vidorra, and there's a huge sign that sits atop the facade, facing the highway.

It's the first major for-rent project in east downtown, where apartment developers are chomping at the bit to build, and where some who live in nearby neighborhoods are seeing home values skyrocket.

So far, at The Baldwin, 239 Center St., more than half of the units are complete, developer NPR Group said through a spokesperson. NRP Group is a national developer with a strong presence in San Antonio. On The Baldwin, the company teamed up with the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corp., (PFC) a nonprofit formed by the city of San Antonio, which helps finance projects that offer units priced below market rate.

At The Baldwin, half of the rents are considered workforce — rented to households making 80 percent of the area median income (AMI). Rents start at $1,045 square feet for studios, $1,080 square feet for one-bedrooms and $1,935 for two-bedrooms.

The property doesn't have to pay city property taxes because it's owned by the PFC. It did receive an incentives package worth $626,202 — a combination of SAWS and city fee waivers — under the city's Center City Housing Incentives Policy.

They're expected to be completed in 2018.

For more info on how the PFC teams up with developers to build these types of projects, read this article by Express-News real estate reporter Richard Webner from earlier this year.

Photos by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of stories examining proposed revisions to the Center City Housing Incentives Policy, which are intended to aid affordable housing efforts in San Antonio. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the changes Sept. 20.

In the downtown area, apartment building seems to be sprouting up steroidically — wooden lattices growing four or five stories tall on empty lots.

The one consistent driver in all of these developments has been the Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), the Mayor Julián Castro-era mechanism from 2012 that made it easier for developers to build apartments and condos.

The idea back then was simple: Build places for people to live. ETC ETC ETC

But those places, it turns out, are expensive given the high demand for downtown living.

They're described as market-rate apartments, but that's just another name for luxury. Take, for example, 120 Ninth Street, the latest apartments nearly complete along the Museum Reach, where market-rate rents range from $1,300 to $5,000. sq feet

The policy's critics have zeroed in on the fact that the main driver of these incentives is tax rebates over 10 or 15 year periods that often amount to millions of dollars the developer doesn't have to pay in city property taxes. This in light of the fact that XX percent of the total X,XXX units either built or in the planning stages are market-rate, which, in the booming downtown area, is another word for luxury.

Market forces

have caused the . . .

City officials said last week that the

You know this. If you've looked for a place to live downtown, you know this.

The downtown area is in the midst of a development boom. Not since the years leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 have there been so many buildings going up in downtown at the same time.

Have you been

Last week, city officials released details on a new version of the Center City Housing Incentives Policy, one that — at the behest of Mayor Ron Nirenberg — is intended to aid affordable housing efforts in San Antonio.

If downtown seems like it's changing fast, it's because it is.

The housing incentives policy that has dramatically changed downtown, called the Center City Housing Incentives Policy, is due for a dramatic change of its own.

I've requested pro formas

what Gene Dawson said.

use the market demand for market-rate housing in
to generate revenue for affordable housing

Twenty five percent of city property tax rebates that downtown developers receive would aid affordable housing in San Antonio, according to a revised housing incentives policy the City Council is scheduled to consider on Sept. 20.

preserving neighborhoods

leverage public land

actual transparency, online database

no hotel components are eligible

new housing goal of 10,000
extend to 2020, and then reassess from there

mention
— rents charged for AH must not exceed 30 percent of household's gross monthly income
— at least 10 percent of total units 60 percent AMI, 10 percent at 80 percent AMI

The Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), which expired in late June as city officials were revising it, has yielded 6,238 housing units, either completed or in the works, mostly in the downtown area. Under it, developers who build downtown housing received rebates on 100 percent of their city property taxes for either 10- or 15-year periods. The program offers other incentives, but the tax rebates are by far the most lucrative. The largest, an estimated $9.5 million over 15 years, went to the Arts Residences and Thompson San Antonio, a $116 million, condo-hotel development behind the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. But the most of the rebates that surpass $1 million fall in the $2-4 million range.

Under the revised CCHIP, 25 percent, or WHAT, would feed an affordable housing fund managed by the Housing and Neighborhood Services department. The revision would apply to projects that receive CCHIP packages after the Council approves it — so the 25 percent allotment would not apply to the Arts Residences and others projects that have received incentives package.

ESTIMATE

DOESN'T KNOW HOW EXACTLY THE FUND WILL BE USED

In December, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced his intention to place a moratorium on CCHIP. The policy had resulted in the construction of mostly luxury apartments — or market-rate — of late, Nirenberg said. His charge to city officials at the time: Revise CCHIP so that it assists in the creation of more affordable housing in the downtown area.

PROS

— it was not originally designed as an incentive tool for affordable housing
Veronica Gonzalez
interim administrator at the Center City Development and Operations department

— successes

— taxes yielded
$34 million in non-city taxes, $21 million of which goes to SAISD
although, to figure out how exactly those funds are spent, there are literally only a handful of people in the state who can tell you that, because of Texas labyrinthine school finance system.

— ROI

— this kind of assistance is still needed

CONS

During a presentation to the Economic & Workforce Development Council on Tuesday, city officials laid out a whole array of CCHIP revisions besides the affordable housing fund.
Really encourage developers to think big with their projects

tier 1
tier 2
breakdown

ICRIP

protecting neighborhoods
new boundaries
new fee waivers

preserving neighborhoods

leverage public land

actual transparency, online database

no hotel components are eligible

Courage pushback

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

Inside San Antonio's downtown bubble, where rents are on par with Austin's at $2 a square foot and beyond, the cost of living may seem justifiable. As more lofts and condos are built, it all seems normal. Studio apartments priced at $1,000 a month. Topo Chicos for $5. It's not anyone's fault. It's just market forces. It is what it is.

San Antonians who live in other parts of the city, however, are not exactly joining in on the development boom. And make no mistake, not since the years leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 have there been so many buildings going up in downtown San Antonio at the same time.

The Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), a Mayor Julián Castro-era mechanism from 2012, is the reason this market exists today. City incentives have yielded 6,238 completed or planned units, mostly in the downtown area.

In December, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced his intention to place a moratorium on CCHIP. Why? Because the policy has resulted in the construction of mostly luxury apartments — or market-rate — of late, Nirenberg said. His charge to city officials at the time: Revise CCHIP so that it assists in the creation of more affordable housing in the downtown area.

As a place for entertainment, family activities and recreation, downtown is becoming more accessible with events such as the summertime movies at Travis Park and Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden. To live downtown? If you're working class or poor, don't bother trying. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are infinitesimal.

So when Nirenberg benched CCHIP in December, it was the first time a public official so openly put the city-backed downtown growth into context with the economic segregation of the rest of the city.

"Those are case in points of a policy created with [the] great intention of revitalizing downtown, but that left out affordability so that only certain portions of our community can actually benefit from that revitalization," Nirenberg told me when I was reporting for nonprofit Folo Media. "That's not what we want. We want downtown to be a place for all San Antonians, especially, when its (growth is) coming with public dollars."

On Tuesday, city officials will unveil the new policy to the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.

Backstory: Before CCHIP, the city handed out incentives, but each deal was unique. City officials and the developer negotiated. Cash was sometimes included in the package. Then the agreement would go to the City Council for a vote. This took time and it raised ethical questions about city officials and developers negotiating behind closed doors.

In 2012, the city created CCHIP with the intent of aiding in getting as many people living downtown as possible while adding transparency and brevity to the incentives process. No longer, did the Council vote on each deal.

What went right: It worked. CCHIP has resulted in 6,238 housing units that have either been built or that are in the works. More and more developments are coming into the core. At the beginning of CCHIP, the development pattern took on the shape of a donut — affecting downtown's surrounding neighborhoods more than the actual center city.

make the point about increased tax revenue from

It had consequences.

What went wrong: Simply put, Mission Trails. Early on, the CCHIP boundaries extended into parts of the city clearly not the central business district. A kind of gerrymandering.

In late 2014 and early 2015, more than 100 mostly low-income households, living in the Mission Trails mobile home park along the San Antonio River on the South Side, were displaced by a luxury apartments that received a CCHIP package.

In June 2016, the City Council revised the program — scaling back its footprint and extending it until June 2018.

hays street bridge

What's to come: CCHIP works for all types of housing — from market-rate to workforce to affordable housing — but units the working class and poor can afford are rarely built in the downtown area. Last week, we reported that the Museum Reach Lofts, an almost completely affordable project by Alamo Community Group near the Pearl, is getting closer to securing all of its financing. (Ironically, the project is taking shape during the CCHIP hiatus, and therefore is not currently due to receive city incentives.)

Conversely, another project called The Durango, 421 S. Flores St., is due to receive a CCHIP package worth $3.3 million — including an estimated $2.4 million in city tax rebates over 15 years — while commanding rents at about $3 a square foot. To give you an idea, a studio apartment (typically 400 square feet; a room with a bathroom) would cost you $1,200 a month.

Construction costs, the cost of land, and other factors, drive up development costs and therefore rents. If you want to build affordable housing in the downtown area, you need help, such as low-income housing tax credits, city incentives.

Every multifamily project that receives an incentive will either include affordable housing or pay a kind of fee that will go into a fund that assists in the creation of affordable housing, says people who have seen the recommendations and, to a lesser degree, CCDO director John Jacks. What we'll be looking for, more importantly, is if the incentives policy will actually encourage developers to add affordable units themselves.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

when are the first CCHIP meetings??

Plans for the expansion of the Alameda Theater building, which will house Texas Public Radio offices and event space, go to the Historic and Design Review Commission for first review on Wednesday.

Outside, the project would create a kind of secondary facade that connects to San Pedro Creek. On the other side of the creek, a small outdoor amphitheater would face the side of the building where movies would be shown. Another marquee, advertising this building as the headquarters for Texas Public Radio, would face visitors approaching from the south on the creek.

The plans also add a third and fourth level to the theater's south-facing rear that was added to the theater in 2012, bringing to total space from 16,850 to 47,000 square feet.

A digital news ticker would crawl around the south and east sides of the building.

Inside, the plans include a black box theater that would serve as the "living room for discussions, topics, and dialogue central to Texas and the local community," according to the project's description.

The complex, 318 W. Houston St., is being renovated by a variety of public and private sources, including Bexar County ($9 million), the city of San Antonio ($9 million; Houston Street Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone), Texas Public Radio ($5 million) and the Alameda Theater Conservancy, Texas Public Radio wrote last year. An additional $3.9 million could come from federal and state historic tax credits, according to city documents.

The Alameda Theater, which opened in 1949 and closed in the late 1980s, is envisioned as a multimedia performing arts and film center with a focus on telling the Latino story. Its projected re-opening is Jan. 1, 2020.


Facing north from San Pedro Creek


Facing south from Houston Street


West elevation


East elevation

Renderings courtesy Historic and Design Review Commission/Overland Partners

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

Inside San Antonio's downtown bubble, where rents are on par with Austin's at $2 a square foot and beyond, the cost of living may seem justifiable. As more lofts and condos are built, it all seems normal. Studio apartments priced at $1,000 a month. Topo Chicos for $5. It's not anyone's fault. It's just market forces. It is what it is.

San Antonians who live in other parts of the city, however, are not exactly joining in on the development boom. And make no mistake, not since the years leading up to the stock market crash of 1929 have there been so many buildings going up in downtown San Antonio at the same time.

The Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), a Mayor Julián Castro-era mechanism from 2012, is the reason this market exists today. City incentives have yielded 6,238 completed or planned units, mostly in the downtown area.

In December, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced his intention to place a moratorium on CCHIP. Why? Because the policy has resulted in the construction of mostly luxury apartments — or market-rate — of late, Nirenberg said. His charge to city officials at the time: Revise CCHIP so that it assists in the creation of more affordable housing in the downtown area.

As a place for entertainment, family activities and recreation, downtown is becoming more accessible with events such as the summertime movies at Travis Park and Hemisfair's Yanaguana Garden. To live downtown? If you're working class or poor, don't bother trying. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are infinitesimal.

So when Nirenberg benched CCHIP in December, it was the first time a public official so openly put the city-backed downtown growth into context with the economic segregation of the rest of the city.

"Those are case in points of a policy created with [the] great intention of revitalizing downtown, but that left out affordability so that only certain portions of our community can actually benefit from that revitalization," Nirenberg told me when I was reporting for nonprofit Folo Media. "That's not what we want. We want downtown to be a place for all San Antonians, especially, when its (growth is) coming with public dollars."

On Tuesday, city officials will unveil the new policy to the Economic and Workforce Development Committee.

Backstory: Before CCHIP, the city handed out incentives, but each deal was unique. City officials and the developer negotiated. Cash was sometimes included in the package. Then the agreement would go to the City Council for a vote. This took time and it raised ethical questions about city officials and developers negotiating behind closed doors.

In 2012, the city created CCHIP with the intent of aiding in getting as many people living downtown as possible while adding transparency and brevity to the incentives process. No longer, did the Council vote on each deal.

What went right: It worked. CCHIP has resulted in 6,238 housing units that have either been built or that are in the works. More and more developments are coming into the core. At the beginning of CCHIP, the development pattern took on the shape of a donut — affecting downtown's surrounding neighborhoods more than the actual center city.

make the point about increased tax revenue from

It had consequences.

What went wrong: Simply put, Mission Trails. Early on, the CCHIP boundaries extended into parts of the city clearly not the central business district. A kind of gerrymandering.

In late 2014 and early 2015, more than 100 mostly low-income households, living in the Mission Trails mobile home park along the San Antonio River on the South Side, were displaced by a luxury apartments that received a CCHIP package.

In June 2016, the City Council revised the program — scaling back its footprint and extending it until June 2018.

hays street bridge

What's to come: CCHIP works for all types of housing — from market-rate to workforce to affordable housing — but units the working class and poor can afford are rarely built in the downtown area. Last week, we reported that the Museum Reach Lofts, an almost completely affordable project by Alamo Community Group near the Pearl, is getting closer to securing all of its financing. (Ironically, the project is taking shape during the CCHIP hiatus, and therefore is not currently due to receive city incentives.)

Conversely, another project called The Durango, 421 S. Flores St., is due to receive a CCHIP package worth $3.3 million — including an estimated $2.4 million in city tax rebates over 15 years — while commanding rents at about $3 a square foot. To give you an idea, a studio apartment (typically 400 square feet; a room with a bathroom) would cost you $1,200 a month.

Construction costs, the cost of land, and other factors, drive up development costs and therefore rents. If you want to build affordable housing in the downtown area, you need help, such as low-income housing tax credits, city incentives.

Every multifamily project that receives an incentive will either include affordable housing or pay a kind of fee that will go into a fund that assists in the creation of affordable housing, says people who have seen the recommendations and, to a lesser degree, CCDO director John Jacks. What we'll be looking for, more importantly, is if the incentives policy will actually encourage developers to add affordable units themselves.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

The Durango Apartments, a 13-story luxury tower planned for the northeast corner of South St. Mary's Street and César E. Chávez Boulevard, is due to receive a 10-year, 40-percent tax abatement worth $349,475 from Bexar County.

The award will go to Wimberley developer Tim Proctor and his company Laney Development Group, which is building the 70-unit project at 421 S. Presa St. Last month, Proctor told the Heron he expects construction to begin this year, and to take two years to complete.

Because the project rests inside the Hemisfair Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), under state law, the City Council and TIRZ board must vote to enable Bexar County to offer the incentive. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the county incentive on Thursday.

The project's estimated cost is $30 million, and includes 1,461 square feet of retail and a three-story parking garage.

In addition to the county tax break, the project is also due to receive Center City Housing Incentives Policy incentives worth $3.3 million, about $2.4 million of which are city tax rebates over 15 years.

Proctor said rents were to be determined. But in media reports in December and February, in which Proctor was interviewed, rents were said to be roughly $3 a square foot. Such a price point would put the Durango Apartments close to — if not at the top — of a list of most expensive apartments in San Antonio.

The property is currently a vacant downtown lot positioned across Chávez Boulevard from Southtown and a block away from Hemisfair.

A couple of discrepancies to point out:

» The agenda item for the City Council meeting on Thursday calls the Durango Apartments an 11-story project. But when the Historic and Design Review Commission approved the project last month, the project was described as an 13-story building.

» According to an analysis of the CCHIP incentives policy, provided to the Heron by the city's Center City Development and Operations department, Laney Development Group received the incentives package on Dec. 12, the day before Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced his intentions to place a moratorium on CCHIP. The agenda item for Thursday's Council meeting says the CCHIP agreement was executed on Sept. 23, 2015.

Laney Development Group did not return interview requests for this report.

Previously published
13-story Presa Street tower gets final approval

Renderings courtesy Historic and Design Review Commission/Laney Development Group. Photos by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

If you needed another reminder that "market rate" is another term for "luxury" in the downtown, take a jaunt to the Museum Reach and look at what has gone up next to the VFW Post 76 at Ninth Street and the San Antonio River.

This is 120 Ninth Street, a 220-unit apartment building by Indianapolis-based SC Bodner Company. Rents start at $1,300 for a 561-square-foot one-bedroom, and go up to $5,000 for a 1,200-square-foot penthouse.

The Pearl area's average rent for Class A apartments is $2.33 a square foot, by far the most expensive for luxury apartments in San Antonio, according to a second quarter report by Austin Investor Interests, which studies the San Antonio market.

Overall, downtown's average apartment rent is $1.70 a square foot, the highest in the city, according to the report.

On Thursday, the City Council will vote on a Bexar County 10-year, 40-percent tax abatement worth an estimated $471,400. State law requires the council, as well as the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board, approve county tax abatements for projects in the zone.

Though, the $39.6 million project is not receiving Midtown TIRZ funds, it is receiving a $3.9 million city of San Antonio downtown housing incentives package, an estimated $3.1 million of which is 100 percent city property tax rebates over 15 years.

120 Ninth Street adds another multifamily building to the Museum Reach, joining recently-opened Jones & Rio across the river.

SC Bodner executives did not return an interview request. The website says the apartments are opening this fall.

Photos by Ben Olivo | San Antonio Heron

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

A University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus with more buildings, taller buildings, all clustered together. Not just on the main square-shaped campus that's flanked by I-35/I-10 and South Frio Street, Buena Vista Street and César E. Chávez Boulevard, but on the Cattleman's Square lot to the north and the College of Architecture property to the west.

Or, a UTSA downtown campus that's spread out — one whose buildings line Frio Street. Or perhaps they are interspersed with the buildings on the other side of the highway, in the downtown core, and connect with the emerging tech corridor on Houston Street.

These are two visions for UTSA's downtown campus that President Taylor Eighmy shared on Wednesday with members of Centro San Antonio, the nonprofit whose mission is to promote and improve the center city.

For now, these are ideas, part of an ongoing master planning process that will be completed around July next year. The process, which the university undergoes every five years, includes the main campus, downtown campus and Park West Athletics Complex, but not the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC).

In the fall, the university will request funding from the state, but Eighmy did not provide any more details.

"We are working on plans for support," said Eighmy, who has been president for nearly a year. "Once they are formally finalized in September, they will be shared more broadly."

In the fall, UTSA, which is seeking to become a national research university designated by the state, also will issue a request for proposals for the Cattleman's Square property.

In the next couple of weeks, UTSA will announce a philanthropic gift in support of a new school, an Urban Education Institute, Eighmy said. The school is envisaged as partnering with K-12 schools and community organizations, while also housing a high school that would operate as a kind of living laboratory slash campus.

"We're going to be thinking about creating or moving colleges downtown," Eighmy said after the presentation.

Other potential schools include:

» National Security Collaboration Center, specializing in developing the cybersecurity workforce, while supporting major companies and federal agencies in San Antonio.

» School of Data Science, serving as the foundation for the cybersecurity programs.

» Urban Science Institute, which would tackle San Antonio's growth challenges, such as gentrification or transportation, and drive public policy.

» School of Entrepreneurship & Technovation, which would translate UTSA's research into economic development.

The 10 year vision shows more than 15,000 students in a downtown campus and the construction of more buildings for student learning and living. Currently, 4,000 students take at least one class at the downtown campus. The gestating plan also suggests the downtown campus partners with corporations and serve as a catalyst for the near West Side growth.

Eighmy did not offer a cost for all of the development, but said there are many ways to fund such growth.

"Enrollment growth is one way to pay for development of colleges and academic programs," he said. Federal dollars for research projects, philanthropic donors, capital projects built through the UT system and state funding, and public-private partnerships are all funding options, he said.

As for the ITC, Eighmy said, "We don't know what that's going to look like. It's a completely separate process."

The university will take the next six months to bring in museum consultants which will advise UTSA on what to do with the 14-acre property.

"We need to think very carefully on how we best optimize the intent of that institute, and the impact that it has," he said. "I really want to bring it back to: How do we tie it into our academic enterprise."

Renderings courtesy UTSA

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

Top linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram