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Big Tex to bring more apartments to Southtown

336-unit complex to open spring 2016

With golden shovels, developers and community leaders broke ground Friday morning on Big Tex, a development that will bring modern urban apartments and retail space along riverfront property south of downtown.

The developers behind the $50 million project are Lifshutz Cos. and NRP Group.

The plan is to turn the site of the former Big Tex Grain Company into an eclectic community that features 336 studio apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

"When I came down the South Side, I said, 'Why aren't there modern, cool apartments here?'" said Dan Markson, senior vice president of development for NRP Group.

The development will be located within the Blue Star Arts Complex at 354 Blue Star and will be situated as the gateway to the Mission Reach section of the San Antonio River.

"The suburbs are great for a lot of people if you want certain things and amenities, and you don't mind driving," said Markson. "But we have enough river here to run a marathon on."

Markson described the community as rustic, outdoorsy and artsy. Along with bringing in modern buildings, the four old grain silos on site will remain and be refurbished into a focal point of the development.

The project has had its share of challenges, including financing and an EPA cleanup of asbestos-tainted soil left from a former vermiculite processor that once used the location.

The EPA has given the all-clear for development.

The city is giving $5 million in tax incentives for the project to help grow and revitalize the area.

Nearby on Probandt Street, Newell Recycling has a new owner, Commercial Metals Co., based in Irving.

District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said she hoped the city could work with the new ownership to maximize the potential of the area.

"We know that having a recycling facility in the middle of what we know could be a thriving urban area is not the best use of that land," she said.

As for the Big Tex project, completion is expected by spring 2016.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.

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