New designs revealed for controversial apartment complex near Hays Street Bridge

Community members had major concerns about first design, so changes were made

SAN ANTONIO – It was a tough crowd for a developer pitching a new design for a controversial apartment complex.

The complex would be built next to the historic Hays Street Bridge on the east side. 

After the original plans were revealed, many community members were critical, so the developer has made some changes. 

If it were up to some community members, the complex would never be built.

RELATED: Four-story apartment complex plans near Hays Street Bridge put on hold

"I offhand don't think it should be there," said Kate Hansen, one of many concerned citizens who don't even live on the east side. 

"A $300,000 property that was donated to the city of San Antonio has now been sold for a purpose for which it was not intended," said Nettie Hinton, a member of the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group.


Many people believe the complex will ruin preservation of the historical bridge area.

The property owner's attorney, Ken Brown, said they don't see it that way.

RELATED: Some worried proposed multistory apartments, restaurant will obstruct view of Hays Street Bridge

"It's private property and we've owned it. It's zoned appropriately for this use and so the only rules and regulations we're bound by at this point is the design regulations," Brown said.

Still, Brown said, they're taking neighbors' concerns seriously.

Many community members voiced serious concerns about the first plan. The main one was that the building would block the view of the bridge.


"I don't know how a structure like that can accommodate that," said east side resident and Hays Street Bridge advocate Brian Gordon.

The new design, created by a new architect, adds one floor, making it five stories high, but it moves that height away from the bridge.

"A lower height closer to the bridge and stairs stepping back," Brown said. 

People also wanted activity along the streets. 

"As opposed to a parking garage, so we have redesigned it so there's office space," Brown said. 


Another issue concerned the space between the complex and the bridge, which originally was going to be a restaurant.

"There's a worry that, as long as it's owned by somebody, there could be the potential for somebody to develop in that space. All of that is threatened when it's privately owned," Gordon said.

In the new plan, the restaurant is built into the complex, and the space is a public park.

Hinton has another concern about the building, which has nothing to do with the design. She said the building will be too expensive for the majority of east side residents and does not represent their side of town.

"Very few people will benefit from it and it’s wrong," she said. 

The Historic Design and Review Commission originally rejected the plan for the complex plan partly because of community concerns. The developer has now re-submitted the new design presented Monday night.

A date has not been set for the next hearing, but Brown hopes it will be within the month. He said the HDRC plans to set up a separate meeting just for this vote, since it is such a hot button topic. 

About the Author: