Want to see the future and current projects that are transforming San Antonio’s central city? Check out this amazing new website that was recently launched. This is a comprehensive list with lots of wonderful information and photos. Thank you for your tremendous effort, Todd Morey and Lorenzo Gomez. Urbantonio.
Here’s a report on a new apartment project being built on Broadway and E. Grayson across from the Pearl. Work is well under way at this point. Also cool that my friend, Patrick Shearer, had a quote in the article.
A new luxury development near the Pearl
By Valentino Lucio, San Antonio Express-News, Friday, December 2, 2011
A new development that offers luxury living is moving into an area along Broadway that has seen a boom in residential construction.
Work already has started on the 1800 Broadway, a multifamily project that will become part of the redevelopment and urbanization efforts along the northern stretch of the River Walk.
Situated at the corner of Broadway and East Grayson Street, the four-story complex, which boasts a modernized art deco design, will offer 230 luxury apartments, said W. Pretlow Riddick, principal and president of Criterion Development Partners, one of the firms developing the project.
This op-ed piece was recently posted in The New York Times. I see San Antonio moving in the direction he speaks of with our city, county, and VIA electing to move forward with their light rail plans and also with the continued work of the HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation as they finish their master plan that will lay out the future renewal of HemisFair.
The Death of the Fringe Suburb
By CHRISTOPHER B. LEINBERGER Published: November 25, 2011 in The New York Times
DRIVE through any number of outer-ring suburbs in America, and you’ll see boarded-up and vacant strip malls, surrounded by vast seas of empty parking spaces. These forlorn monuments to the real estate crash are not going to come back to life, even when the economy recovers. And that’s because the demand for the housing that once supported commercial activity in many exurbs isn’t coming back, either.
By now, nearly five years after the housing crash, most Americans understand that a mortgage meltdown was the catalyst for the Great Recession, facilitated by underregulation of finance and reckless risk-taking. Less understood is the divergence between center cities and inner-ring suburbs on one hand, and the suburban fringe on the other.
I drove down Broadway this morning after having my car washed at The Wash Tub and passed by the start of construction on The Mosaic on Broadway. The Express-News wrote about the project last week. Below is their article.
I’m excited to see even more residential construction along the Broadway corridor. This site is near The Pearl and Sam’s Burger Joint. If VIA moves forward with the Mayor’s suggestion there may soon be a light rail line running from The Pearl down to HemisFair Park. All good things for San Antonio’s growing center city.
More downtown residents expected with Mosaic project
Mixed-use Mosaic will add 120 residential units to growing tally.
By Valentino Lucio
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I’ve recently opened my own agency and today the new signs are out. Let me know your thoughts on the new (albeit temporary) design. I’m working with my Graphic Designer on a whole branding and design package. More to follow.
The vacant building at 1221 Broadway now has new life. The first residents began moving in on Friday. Welcome new neighbors!
New life for longtime eyesore
First residents are moving into a long-unfinished, mixed-use development on Broadway.
By Valentino Lucio – San Antonio Express-News Monday 8/1/11
After sitting vacant for half a decade, the 1221 Broadway now has signs of life as its first apartment residents began moving in on Friday.
On its opening day, 72 people had signed leases and only five units were left.
The mixed-use project, which has an industrial urban style, will be released in five phases, and the first four are expected to be on line by October, said David Adelman, a principal at Cross & Co., which controls a partnership that owns the property.
The last phase, which will be a commercial front along Broadway, is expected to be completed by February. Those spaces will house the leasing office and could possibly accommodate a restaurant, Adelman added.
If you’re new to my blog or haven’t really been following the recent media about downtown redevelopment this is the perfect article for you. In this week’s Current writer Michael Barajas has written a very strong article defining the key players, the issues, and the history of the push for increased downtown development and revitalization of HemisFair.
I highly recommend reading this very well written and researched article. Thanks for writing it, Michael.
Will efforts to revitalize the city core draw locals back or simply extend the Disneyfication of the River Walk?
By Michael Barajas
Published: July 20, 2011
Justin Arecchi remembers brainstorming with local developers and pioneers like Hap Veltman and downtown jazz staple Jim Cullum for hours at a stretch at the long-since shuttered Kangaroo Court restaurant and bar along the River Walk. A popular topic was how to make downtown world-class, a vibrant place for locals to live, work, and play. Even during those 1970s-era chats, Arecchi and the gang kept returning to one central issue, one that still swirls about today’s discussions as millions in taxpayer dollars pour into another round of planning to revive downtown. “We’d each get on top of our soapboxes to make our pitch,” Arecchi said. “And what was clear is that even back then, we all thought we just needed more people living downtown.”
This article was submitted to the Express-News by Tenna Florian, AIA, LEED AP, an architect with Lake/Flato Architects. She gives a great architectural history of the porch and also speaks to its cultural connection in historic neighborhoods. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
Building San Antonio: It’s time to enjoy your front porch, S.A.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
San Antonio’s historic neighborhoods are full of houses with great front porches. If you are lucky enough to live in one of these homes, now is the time of year to enjoy your porch. The mornings are relatively cool, the afternoons are breezy, and perhaps most importantly, the mosquitoes are not yet out in full force.
More than any other architectural element, the front porch is perceived as a uniquely American element; however, ‘American’ inherently means a product of the cultural melting pot that helped form the many architectural styles found in this country.
The early Colonial period of architecture was mostly devoid of porches, since the majority of the immigrants during this time hailed from Europe, where porches were not common. However, as colonialism in Africa, India, and the Caribbean brought more Europeans into contact with a variation of styles, the front porch became more prevalent.
Another strong influence in the evolution of the American porch was the ‘shotgun house’ (a small, one-room-wide home), built by African slaves in the South. The front porch found in these early homes may have been evidence of African architectural tradition, but easily could have been a response to climate, living conditions, and the desire to be connected to the outdoors and surrounding community.
Eventually, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the front porch came to represent cultural ideals of family, community, and nature. After dinner, families would retire to the front porch to cool off and socialize among themselves and with neighbors. An inherent sense of security was built in to this setting, as there were now more eyes on the street.
The sense of community that the porch represented declined in the mid-20th century, as more Americans owned their own automobiles and a more suburban way of living began to develop. As the prevalence of the air conditioned home increased, the need to either sit on the porch and cool off diminished. Entering the home through the front door became a rarity as the popularity of the attached garage, which served as a back door point of entry, increased. The garage replaced the porch as the primary architectural feature, in relation to the street, of the front of a home.
But the front porch is making a comeback. A great front porch is seen as an asset when buying a historic home. There are also several new developments with design standards that require a home to have a front porch.
Sadly, many times these porches are more symbolic than they are functional. In order to be functional as more than a front stoop, a front porch should be at least deep enough to hold a chair with passing room in front, and at least wide enough for a porch swing, so that a family can sit comfortably on the porch and commune with nature and neighbors.
Whether you live in a bungalow in Beacon Hill or Mahncke Park, a Victorian Stick Style house in King William (or Lavaca), or any number of historic homes in central San Antonio neighborhoods, now is the time to open up your house, let the breeze come through, and enjoy your front porch.
While you are out there, be sure to acknowledge your neighbors that are also out, enjoying the night air.
***This post was originally published in August 2010 and has become one of the most read posts of my blog. Due to its popularity I’ve moved it to the landing page on my site. Please click here for the list that I keep up-to-date as a lot more inventory has been developed over the past couple of years. Places to Rent in Downtown and Southtown ***
Four years ago I moved from the northern suburbs to Milmo Lofts off S. Flores and Durango. I found it very difficult to track down an apartment as there wasn’t a formal list of places or a website that had everything listed. Also at that time I was just getting my real estate license so I didn’t have access to the MLS or really even know any good downtown real estate experts.
Fast forward four year and A LOT has changed!!! I’m now a downtown real estate specialist, friends with all the other downtown agents, and the demand for downtown living as spawned several new downtown apartment complexes.
Jennifer Hiller at the Express-News wrote this great article.
A few years ago, people who wanted to rent an apartment downtown took whatever they could find because the options were so limited.
Now, however, there’s a bigger variety of housing downtown and renters are more likely to be able to choose between small studio spaces, rental homes or large lofts — without the expense and hassle of making a big down payment on a mortgage.
“You don’t have to buy downtown. You can rent,” said Lisa Schmidt, a downtown resident and real estate agent.
While San Antonio’s downtown still is in the early stages of residential demand compared to other major cities, living downtown is drawing in more and more people who are lured by what the lifestyle has to offer.
Many of the new downtown renters are military people who have been transferred to San Antonio as part of the growth at Fort Sam Houston under the Base Realignment and Closure process, said Debra Maltz, a broker and real estate agent with Centro Properties.
“The BRAC folks have made a difference. A lot of them don’t want to buy because they know they’re here for a finite period,” Maltz said. “They’re used to living in other cities downtown. I think that’s had an effect on downtown. They like the whole concept of living in a closer-knit community, which downtown offers.”
Young singles long have been attracted to downtown rentals, but Maltz said that now empty nesters are selling larger homes and trying out urban living.
They’ll often rent for a year to decide if they like the lifestyle.
Some of the newest large rental properties include the Vistana, a 247-unit Art Deco-inspired apartment building that opened in 2009 on
North Santa Rosa and the 66-unit St. Benedict’s on South Alamo Street, a King William-area project originally planned as condos but converted to a successful rental development.
The San Antonio Housing Authority recently opened HemisView Village Apartments across from HemisFair Park.
Although a handful of the 245 units are set aside for public housing or those who qualify for affordable-housing tax credits, 184 units are being rented at market rate to the general public.
The project includes balconies, a pool, a parking garage, a fitness and amenity center, and many units with big storefront-style windows and views of the Tower of the Americas.
“We’re really proud of the look and the feel,” said Lourdes Castro Ramirez, president and CEO of SAHA.
Market-rate rent ranges from $741 for the smallest units to $1,314 for a three bedroom. And the public housing units are scattered throughout the two buildings, with the idea of creating a true mixed-income community. “It’s definitely the future of public housing,” Ramirez said. “From a financial perspective, it’s the only way you can make project work. From a social policy perspective, you have more role models and an environment where people can socialize across economic groups.”
Although it’s not in downtown proper, new rental units soon will be available at the Pearl Brewery’s new Culinary Institute of America building, just north of downtown off of Broadway. The 25,000-square-foot structure will house several restaurants and be neighbor to apartments, the Twig bookstore, a third location for Bike World and a 1,000-seat amphitheater.
But on the upper floors there are also eight apartment units, including two penthouses. Maltz said recently that five units were pre-leased. “There is a huge demand to live at the Pearl Brewery,” she said.
Architect Jim Poteet, a longtime resident of King William who is known for his modern renovations of historic properties, said that for a long time it seemed that home and condo owners were the only ones living downtown. “I think the rise of rental is the thing that’s now bringing people downtown to test the waters. As a format it can be apartments, lofts, faux lofts or condos,” Poteet said.
And more rentals make sense as part of larger economic trends, he said. “I think the economy has shown people that homeownership, that urge to buy a house or to have a house as the cornerstone of your financial portfolio, was overstated. It feeds into a rental trend,” Poteet said. “It’s all to the good for downtown. We need all kinds of housing. We need ownership. We need infill projects. We need rental.”
And if people want to rent a more traditional home, there’s the historic King William and Lavaca neighborhoods, which have some rental homes and smaller offerings, such as garage apartments. Maltz recently rented a new contemporary house that’s tucked into Lavaca.
“You see infill housing a lot in Houston and Dallas. I think it’s wonderful that we are starting to see it here,” Maltz said. “It’s so expressive and so urban.”
Some of the places where you can rent downtown:
12welve 2wenty1 Loft Apartments – 210.354.1212
235 E. Commerce Apartments
Majestic Towers/Brady Bldg Apartments, 222 E. Houston St. – 210.224.1144
Pearl Brewery, 306 E. Grayson St.
Vistana, 100 N. Santa Rosa Ave. – 210.226.5638
720-724 N. Saint Mary’s Apts.
Blue Star Residences and Lofts, 1410 S. Alamo St. – 210.225.6743
The Brackenridge at Midtown, – 210-822-2500 (Opening January 2014)
Cadillac Lofts, 317 Lexington Ave. – 210.223.5638
Calcasieu Building Apartments, 214 Broadway – 210.472.1262
Can Plant Residences at Pearl, 503 Ave. A
Casa Lavaca, 502 Eager St.
Cevallos Lofts – 866.295.0250
Dielmann Lofts, 710 S. Medina St. – 210.223.1178
Exchange Building, 152 E. Pecan St.
Granada Apartments, 301-11 S. St. Mary’s St. – 210.225.2645
HemisView Village, 401 Santos St. – 210.212.8808
Losoya Building, 221 Losoya
Marie C. McAguire Apartments, 211 N. Alamo St. – 210.477-6378
Maverick Apartments, 606 N. Presa St. – 210.886.9555
Metro House, 213 4th St. – 210.271.0051
Milmo Lofts, 319 S. Flores St. – 210.223.1178
Morris Apartments, 128 E. Main Plaza – 210.225.3188
Palacio del Sol, 400 N. Frio St – 210.224.0442
Refugio Place, 300 Labor St.
Reuter Building, 217-219 Alamo Plaza
Robert E. Lee Apartments, 111 W. Travis St. – 210.354.1611 email: robert_e_lee_apts AT prm DOTCOM
Soap Works Apartments, 500 N. Santa Rosa Ave. – 210.223.9500
The Madison, Madison at Beauregard streets – 210.544.5416
Tobin Lofts, N. Main at San Antonio College Campus – 888-696-3145 (You must be a student of any higher education institution in the US.)
Toltec Apartments, 131 Taylor St.
Town Center Apartments, 601 N. Santa Rosa Ave.
Villa Hermosa, 327 N. Flores St. – 210.477.6611
Whitherspoon Building, 601 N. Alamo St.
Source: Downtown Alliance
Informative article from Associated Press writer Hope Yen. I’m really liking the term “bright flight” as the counter movement to “white flight.”
White flight? In a reversal, America’s suburbs are now more likely to be home to minorities, the poor and a rapidly growing older population as many younger, educated whites move to cities for jobs and shorter commutes.
An analysis of 2000-2008 census data by the Brookings Institution highlights the demographic “tipping points” seen in the past decade and the looming problems in the 100 largest metropolitan areas, which represent two-thirds of the U.S. population.
The findings could offer an important road map as political parties, including the tea party movement, seek to win support in suburban battlegrounds in the fall elections and beyond. In 2008, Barack Obama carried a substantial share of the suburbs, partly with the help of minorities and immigrants.
The analysis being released Sunday provides the freshest detail on the nation’s growing race and age divide, which is now feeding tensions in Arizona over its new immigration law.
Ten states, led by Arizona, surpass the nation in a “cultural generation gap” in which the senior populations are disproportionately white and children are mostly minority.
This gap is pronounced in suburbs of fast-growing areas in the Southwest, including those in Florida, California, Nevada, and Texas.
“A new metro map is emerging in the U.S. that challenges conventional thinking about where we live and work,” said Alan Berube, research director with the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, a nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington. “The old concepts of suburbia, Sun Belt and Rust Belt are outdated and at odds with effective governance.”
Suburbs still tilt white. But, for the first time, a majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metro areas live outside the city. Suburban Asians and Hispanics already had topped 50 percent in 2000, and blacks joined them by 2008, rising from 43 percent in those eight years.
The suburbs now have the largest poor population in the country. They are home to the vast majority of baby boomers age 55 to 64, a fast-growing group that will strain social services after the first wave of boomers turns 65 next year.
Analysts attribute the racial shift to suburbs in many cases to substantial shares of minorities leaving cities, such as blacks from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Whites, too, are driving the trend by returning or staying put in larger cities.
Washington, D.C., and Atlanta posted the largest increases in white share since 2000, each up 5 percentage points to 44 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Other white gains were seen in New York, San Francisco, Boston and cities in another seven of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.
“A new image of urban America is in the making,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings who co-wrote the report. “What used to be white flight to the suburbs is turning into ‘bright flight’ to cities that have become magnets for aspiring young adults who see access to knowledge-based jobs, public transportation and a new city ambiance as an attraction.”
“This will not be the future for all cities, but this pattern in front runners like Atlanta, Portland, Ore., Raleigh, N.C., and Austin, Texas, shows that the old urban stereotypes no longer apply,” he said.
The findings are part of Brookings’ broad demographic portrait of America since 2000, when the country experienced the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a historic boom in housing prices and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Calling 2010 the “decade of reckoning,” the report urges policymakers to shed outdated notions of America’s cities and suburbs and work quickly to address the coming problems caused by the dramatic shifts in population.
Among its recommendations: affordable housing and social services for older people in the suburbs; better transit systems to link cities and suburbs; and a new federal Office of New Americans to serve the education and citizenship needs of the rapidly growing immigrant community.
–About 83 percent of the U.S. population growth since 2000 was minority, part of a trend that will see minorities become the majority by midcentury. Across all large metro areas, the majority of the child population is now nonwhite.
–The suburban poor grew by 25 percent between 1999 and 2008 — five times the growth rate of the poor in cities. City residents are more likely to live in “deep” poverty, while a higher share of suburban residents have incomes just below the poverty line.
–For the first time in several decades, the population is growing at a faster rate than households, due to delays in marriage, divorce and births as well as longer life spans. People living alone and nonmarried couple families are among the fastest-growing in suburbs.