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Then & Now: 11 construction projects that reshaped downtown San Antonio in 2019

SAN ANTONIO – With cranes, roadblocks and scaffolding seemingly along every downtown-area corner, locals had a front row seat to all the major projects of 2019.

Some were completed this year, while others are making headway for a striking makeover of the building or lot it replaced.

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Here are 11 major projects that transformed an intersection or defunct area this year, as well as photos of how the area looked before construction compared to now.

Frost Tower

The site of Frost Tower in April 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of Frost Tower in April 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The newest — and perhaps the most noticeable — addition to downtown’s skyline was completed in the spring.

The octagonal building with a crown, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and constructed by Clark Construction, spans 460,000 square feet of retail and office space.

At 24 stories tall, the building was constructed with high-efficiency light fixtures, water-efficient landscaping and recycled materials, according to Clark Construction.

“Each floor’s unique footprint generates a twisting geometric structure, giving the building a distinct aesthetic,” Clark Construction wrote.

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It will hold Frost employees, as well as offices, stores and restaurants, according to thefrosttower.com.

“The goal is to revitalize this area of downtown, get more energy to the west side of downtown,” Chad Jackson, vice president of design and construction for KDC Real Estate, previously told KSAT.

It is located at 111 W. Houston St. along the San Pedro Creek. Constructed lasted 26 months.

The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio Hotel

The site of The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio Hotel in March 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio Hotel in March 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

Construction on the 20-story condominium and hotel building progressed throughout 2019.

The hotel will consist of 162 guest rooms and the residential portion will include 58 “luxury” condominiums, according to developer DC Partners.

Located at the intersection of Lexington Avenue and North St. Mary’s Street, it will feature a fitness center, spa, pool deck, restaurant, sky bar and ballroom, among other amenities, for residents and hotel guests.

It is currently under construction and expected to open in the spring. According to its website, 80% of residential units have been sold.

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Five penthouses will feature soaring 12-foot ceilings and large terraces.

The building in total spans 337,000 square feet.

CPS Energy headquarters

The site of the CPS Energy headquarters in January 2017 versus December 2019.
The site of the CPS Energy headquarters in January 2017 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The energy company’s glossy new headquarters along Museum Reach is expected to open its doors to employees in the fall of 2020.

The process of renovating the buildings formerly belonging to AT&T and Valero Energy Corp. costs $210 million.

The two office towers, at 11 and 14 stories tall, were re-skinned, according to Sundt, and a connector building is located in the middle. A parking garage for more than 1,200 vehicles is also under construction.

CPS Energy trustees approved the headquarters in 2016 because their existing campuses reached full capacity.

“The property selected meets the growing business needs and objectives of the nation’s largest municipally owned utility," CPS Energy wrote in its announcement of the approval.

The building will total to 433,421 square feet. It is located at the intersection of Brooklyn Avenue and Avenue B.

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Southline Residences

The site of Southline Residences in December 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of Southline Residences in December 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The Pearl-area apartment complex welcomed new residents starting in November.

Amenities include a pool with cabanas and private access to the Museum Reach. Southline Residences sits along the southern edge of the Pearl complex, just steps from the F.I.S.H. art display under Interstate 35.

Located at 226 Newell Ave., the apartment complex offers 1-2 bedroom units starting at $1,495, according to apartments.com.

Soto Building

The site of the Soto Building in April 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of the Soto Building in April 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The six-story, mixed-use building is the first mass timber office building in Texas.

Construction is ongoing at the building, which will anchor the Cavender Neighborhood, at the intersection of Broadway and 8th streets.

At the site of the former Cavender Cadillac, Cavender Neighborhood will include restaurants, offices and retail and entertainment spaces, according to BOKAPowell, the architect of record.

The Soto Building itself will have 12-foot tall ceilings, an open courtyard and a two-story porch that overlooks Broadway, according to design architect Lake Flato.

Timber columns, beams and ceilings are used in the construction of the building, making the structure carbon negative.

It is expected to open in the spring.

Soto is Spanish for “grove of trees” or “small forest."

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Alamo Colleges headquarters

The site of the Alamo Colleges headquarters in March 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of the Alamo Colleges headquarters in March 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The 159,217-square-foot, three-story headquarters opened during the summer for employees of the community college district.

It is located at the former site of Playland Park off of Broadway Street and sits on 12.5 acres, according to the district.

Administration, human resources, financial aid, IT and other support staff are now in a central location.

A 300-seat meeting room, amphitheater and rock garden are located on the property.

Credit Human on Broadway

The site of the Credit Human headquarters on Broadway Street in May 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of the Credit Human headquarters on Broadway Street in May 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The new 12-story headquarters for Credit Human is hailed as “a groundbreaking project."

Set to open in 2020, it will offer 200,000 square feet of space for Credit Human employees and for storefronts on the street level. It is located at the intersection of Broadway Street and Pearl Parkway.

Approximately 500 employees will move into the space, according to 1703broadway.com, a website that tracks the project’s progress.

Credit Human and development partner Silver Ventures planned its construction to make the building as sustainable as possible.

It will contain geothermal wells to help cool and heat the building, high efficiency photovoltaic solar panels, energy-efficient fixtures and other sustainable practices.

Rainwater and HVAC condensate will be captured for non-potable uses.

“The design will relate to the Pearl aesthetic and be reminiscent of the turn-of-the-century architecture at Ft. Sam Houston, incorporating local materials such as limestone, buff brick and tile," the website states.

For more details about the building’s sustainable design and construction, visit 1703broadway.com.

The ’68 Apartments at Hemisfair

The site of The ’68 Apartments at Hemisfair in September 2014 versus December 2019.
The site of The ’68 Apartments at Hemisfair in September 2014 versus December 2019.

The apartment complex at the heart of Hemisfair was completed this summer and is now accepting residents.

Units range from studio to two bedrooms, and from 465 square feet to 1,638 square feet, according to its website.

The entrance of the complex opens to Yanaguana Gardens. The mural on the building was painted by artist Ruben Sanchez of Spain.

The Light Building

The site of The Light Building in January 2017 versus December 2019.
The site of The Light Building in January 2017 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

The iconic San Antonio Light building was acquired by GrayStreet in 2016 for a massive renovation.

Offices will fill the renovated space, with Ford, Powell, and Carson architects as an anchor tenant.

The building’s historic facade will remain, but new glass panels and a “glass cube” connecting the Light and its print building will be placed, according to downtownsanantonio.org.

Construction is ongoing at the site at the intersection of Broadway Street and McCollough Avenue.

Both the Light and its print building were sold by the Hearst Corporation. The publication closed in 1993.

Canopy by Hilton Hotel

The site of Canopy by Hilton Hotel in May 2011 versus December 2019.
The site of Canopy by Hilton Hotel in May 2011 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

Situated right next to the Esquire Tavern, the hotel will stand 21 stories tall and extend above the historic bar.

The construction value of the 195-room hotel is more than $43 million, according to construction company Sundt.

“The design of the boutique-style hotel is both a nod to the city’s past and a glimpse at its future,” Sundt writes.

A restaurant and bar with an outdoor terrace overlooking the River Walk are among its features.

It is situated at the corner of St. Mary’s and Commerce streets. It is expected to open in 2020.

The Flats at River North

The site of The Flats at River North in December 2016 versus December 2019.
The site of The Flats at River North in December 2016 versus December 2019. (KSAT)

Construction on the residential building is fully underway.

Its website states the complex is expected to open in the winter of 2020, but details of the units themselves have yet to be released.

The complex is located at 1011 Broadway St.


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