San Antonio City Council was busy this past week, kicking off February by approving two separate yet major initiatives meant to help revitalize the urban core. The council voted Feb. 2 to approve a public/private partnership pact between Zachry Hospitality and Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC). On a 5-acre tract at Hemisfair, the partnership will work toward implementing 1 million square feet of mixed-use development, including apartments, retail and restaurants, office space, parking space, and a 200-room hotel. Zachry would work with the NRP Group to develop 385 multi-family units, 10 percent of which would be made up of workforce housing.
The partnership is eying 50,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet of street-level retail space, and up to 110,000 square feet of Class-A office space. Plans call for an urban market full of locally owned/operated artisan spaces. There also would be an 800-space parking garage, with 600 of those spaces open to public use, a vital need in downtown. The boutique hotel will feature amenities, such as a restaurant, bar, spa, pool and gym. Development will occur on designated parcels separate from dedicated parkland and green space; the parcels are being only leased to private developers. No developer at Hemisfair will get taxpayer dollars for the hotel, including any money from the city’s planned $850 million bond issue, which voters will consider May 6.
Backers of the Hemisfair redevelopment plan, including Mayor Ivy Taylor and several council members, have said the partnership will help transform Hemisfair into a large urban park offering a variety of amenities to all San Antonians, as well as to visitors. Advocates also have said the housing part of the private/public partnership will help to meet the rising demand for residential space in and around downtown.
“We embrace the opportunity to join HPARC and the city in delivering this transformative development aimed at celebrating the authentic ‘heart’ of San Antonio – a true revival of San Antonio’s urban core,” said David Zachry, CEO of Zachry Corp., in a press release. Zachry’s proposal was recommended through a public selection process that began in March 2015 led by the city and HPARC. Of 11 proposals submitted in response to the request for qualifications, the city and HPARC narrowed the list to two finalist firms, which were placed before an independent, third-party blue ribbon review panel. The panel unanimously recommended Zachry.