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HDRC Approves Residential Infill Project

The San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission recently approved a multi-building residential project in the Lavaca Historic District, part of Southtown. The project would involve two two-story, single-family residential structures and two two-story garage buildings on a single lot in the 400 block of Labor Street, which will be subdivided later. Lofts would be built atop the garages; the lofts would link to the residential structures via sky bridges.

However, city staff recommended not approving the project, saying its overall height and scale would not comply with historic district guidelines and that it was incompatible with the surrounding neighborhood. The main residential structures would measure 2,500 and 2,100 square feet while the garage accessories would measure 520 and 1,120 square feet. Some of the commission members did express concerns along those lines about the project proposed by developer Carlton Brown. Alamo Architects is the firm responsible for the design.

Commission members, staff and some neighbors are worried the contemporary elements of the proposed design also do not conform with the surrounding neighborhood, much of which dates back decades. The project team did meet with a subcommittee of the HRDC earlier this spring, regarding concerns about height and massing, and attempted a few modifications to the overall concept. However, city staff said the modifications were not enough to convince them the project was meeting guidelines.

Some commissioners said the project was too different from its surroundings. Another commissioner, Michael Connor, said the project was very close to newer multi-story apartment and senior housing complexes and that it would be on one end of the historic district. Connor also argued the Brown project could fit in its location. He added that the proactive neighborhood association opted not to oppose the plan.

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