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Further downtown redevelopment in the works

Developers urged to look at 7 acres between Dolorosa, Nueva

SAN ANTONIO – Developers are being urged by the city of San Antonio to submit requests for interest regarding seven acres between Dolorosa and Nueva streets, owned by the city and Bexar County, in the heart of downtown.

John Jacks, interim director of the Center City Development and Operations Department, said the requests received by May 24 will be reviewed, and those that are selected will be asked to submit proposals in June. He said City Council and Bexar County Commissioners Court then will vote in the fall.

Jacks said the submissions “could be in partnership with the city or outright purchase.”

He said the preference would be mixed-use development including restaurants, retail and housing.

Jacks said the city owns a parking lot at 506 Dolorosa, the former site of a city annex building, as well as a smaller parking lot at 702 West Dolorosa.

He said the city also owns the longtime site of the Metropolitan Health District, the former Continental Hotel building in the late 1800s.

Jacks said Bexar County owns the land where GEO now operates a federal correctional facility that will be vacated next year.

At the center of the planned redesign and restoration is San Pedro Creek, currently mistaken by many as a concrete drainage canal.

Whatever projects are proposed, Jacks said, “We’re asking for a project that compliments the creek, connects to the creek.”

Since Bexar County is central to funding the restoration of San Pedro Creek, Commissioner Paul Elizondo said, “I encourage companies to help us reimagine our urban center with a forward-looking eye that also helps us preserve the character of our history.”

An overall priority is more downtown housing.

Jacks said SA Vision 2020 projects 10,000 units in the downtown area.

“We’re about 68 percent of the way there, so we’re getting close,” Jacks said.

He said the Metro Health location may be a prime location for affordable housing for downtown dwellers since it’s too narrow for commercial development.

Dr. Vincent Nathan, Metro Health interim director, said its offices this summer will be temporarily relocating to the Riverview Towers in the 100 block of Soledad, joining other city departments.

He said the move will be welcomed.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding in that the staff can now be relaxed because this building is kind of confining,” Nathan said.

Jacks said eventually more city offices will be moving into the Frost Bank Tower, after the financial institution moves into its new building not yet under construction.