San Antonio: Continental Hotel, Arana Building, and 15-Story Residence Design Team Arrive at HDRC

Feature illustration: Design of the historic Continental Hotel (three floors in the center on the right) and the 15-story residence tower and parking garage, as they would appear from Commerce Street and the Linear Park of San Pedro Creek. Image: BKV Group.

Posted: 20-7-2021

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County) – The design team Continental Hotel, Arana building and the new 15-story residential tower is submitted to the city’s design review board on Wednesday for approval of their redevelopment concept for the 300 block of West Commerce Street.

The matter appears on the agenda as a combined consent item, an indication that the History and Design Review Board is already planning to approve the Conceptual Site Plan; the HDRC Design Review Committee recently reviewed the project with the architects on July 13. Committee members agreed that the current design provided appropriate solutions with respect to existing historic resources and the objectives of the San Pedro Creek Linear Park, which adjoins the eastern portion of the property. border.

Conceptual site plan for the 15-story infill tower, Continental Hotel, and Arana building near San Pedro Creek.

The design team wants to take into account five major elements of the redevelopment of the block. Irby Hightower of Alamo Architects represents the developer, Weston Urban. Questions to consider include authorization to:

  • Carry out the rehabilitation works of the three-story Continental Hotel, including the restoration of the historic storefront system; install a new awning system to match the original; restore wooden windows; cleaning of the historic masonry facade; and delete an existing rear addition.
  • Execute the scope of the rehabilitation of the two-story Arana building, including the repair of the historic storefront system; replace non-original aluminum windows with new windows; clean masonry; restore the glass roof to the street; and delete an existing rear addition.
  • Carry out the scopes of rehabilitation work Garza House, including restoration of the height of the structure above ground level; restore walls, windows, doors, porch and roof. The Maison de la Garza will remain in its current location.
  • Construct a 15-story residential structure between the Continental Hotel and the Arana Building. The building will have approximately 255 residential units above a parking structure that can accommodate 342 vehicles.

Street level view of the rental office lobby at the corner of Laredo and Dolorosa streets, with the Arana building and residence tower in the background.

The tower will integrate both the Continental Hotel and the Arana building, two commercial structures built at the beginning of the 20th century, into its pedestrian circulation plan. Weston Urban placed the new construction to define active spaces, provide pedestrian connections between sites, liven up the street scene and define the edges of the street.

The curb for vehicle access to the residence tower will be on Laredo Street, which is the western limit of the block. A concept of projection of art panels has been proposed for a part of the garage which remains exposed on the side of the San Pedro stream.

The city is demanding that the project be integrated with the county-funded San Pedro Creek Improvements Project by installing a series of related and connected gardens, plazas and patios. The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) has been responsible for the design and redevelopment of the San Pedro Creek through the downtown area, and the development team is to coordinate with SARA on the landscape site plan, including maintenance limits and stormwater control measures, before applying for a certificate of suitability.

Among the many recommendations from city staff for conceptual plan approval are that parking lots should be fully screened wherever they are visible from the Stream Linear Park; and that the detailed architectural and lighting plans for the site be submitted for review upon return for final approval.

There are two teams of architects on this project. Alamo Architects is responsible for the rehabilitation of historic buildings – the Continental Hotel at 332 W. Commerce, the Arana Building at 601 Dolorosa and the Garza House – built around 1850 on the existing site. The historic O’Henry House on the corner of Laredo and Dolorosa will be moved offsite, and a 4,476 square foot lobby and rental office will take its place.

The Dallas office of BKV Group is responsible for the design of the new residence tower. In addition, Weston Urban has retained the services of Post-oak preservation solutions to discuss preservation planning and surveys of historic structures.

View of the Maison de la Garza around 1850, seen from Calle Laredo.

Summary of the BKV group project:

Level 6 includes a club room, a terrace with swimming pool and a fitness center.

“The site is to be developed into a mixed-use community that will provide a new residential building nestled within the existing fabric of two historic buildings. The new construction (258 residential units) will consist of a 10-story partially prefabricated low-gauge steel building resting on a five-storey cast-in-place concrete garage (351 parking spaces) that integrates seamlessly with the Continental Hotel buildings and Arana, which to be renovated into commercial, office and creative lofts.

“This development aims to help animate the redevelopment of San Pedro Creek, which borders on the east side of residential units bordering the parking lot structure and to integrate the Zona cultural district bounded on the other edges by complementary shapes and materials. “

VBX reported in this Article from June 16, 2021 Weston Urban secure funding for the project by entering into a memorandum of understanding with the Bexar County Commissioners Court for their public facilities company to take title to the land in a sale-leaseback agreement. While Weston Urban is responsible for securing the financing, the arrangement exempts property tax, allowing Weston Urban to keep approximately half of the residential units at below market rent rates.

VBX Project ID 2015-152D

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