San Antonio’s historic City Hall building renovations are nearing the homestretch, but not without delays

Construction was a bumpy road with a host of historical issues

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio city staff and the city council are expected to move into a renovated historic City Hall building by December 2020.

Assistant City Manager Rod Sanchez says there have been a few delays along the way, but growing pains are expected when you deal with bringing an 1800s-era building to 2020 standards.

“That building has a great rich history, but it really hasn’t been touched for almost 90 years. The building itself is about a hundred thirty years old,” Sanchez said.

Renovations by Guido Brothers Construction Company started back in the summer of 2018 and were initially expected to take around 18 months from start to finish.

The city council approved a budget of $38 million for the project. Included in the project’s expenses were electrical, plumbing, mechanical and adding a wheelchair ramp to the entrance of the building.

More than two years later, the project is not complete and security upgrades raised the cost considerably.

“We’re going to spend another $950,000 in upgrading the security to the building to make it safe for everybody,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the most significant construction delays stemmed from the historic site itself. Because the building site is in a historic area, crews had to pause construction after hitting rocks or other debris so that an archeologist could examine the item and ensure it was not an important piece of history.

The windows of the building and plaster on some of the walls will remain untouched inside. However, Sanchez said that there is going to be a modern feel to the inside of the building.

“There’s gonna be a grand staircase from the second floor going way to the fourth floor,” Sanchez said. “So I think those are going to be some ‘wow’ factors for people when they walk into the building.”

Once complete, the mayoral, city manager, city clerk and city attorney offices will be on the second floor. The third and fourth floors will be occupied by the city council and staff members. Additionally, the basement will have conference rooms; the first floor will house security, media rooms and public meeting rooms.

Read the City Hall and Frost Tower Renovations timeline in full below:

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.