Frost Tower, downtown San Antonio’s ‘crown jewel,’ is up for sale

The high-rise’s developer is expected to soon begin construction of another landmark project.

Frost Tower in downtown San Antonio. (Google Maps)

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

The largest office tower completed in downtown San Antonio after more than 30 years is on the market.

Newmark Group Inc. quietly listed Frost Tower, the 24-story headquarters of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., for sale Nov. 5 without a list price.

Local firm Weston Urban and Dallas-based KDC co-developed the landmark building. Construction wrapped up in 2019.

Weston Urban is gearing up to build its next massive downtown project, a 32-story luxury apartment high-rise at 305 Soledad St. The San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission granted final approval to the project in December, a key step in obtaining a building permit.

The nearly 3-acre property at 111 W. Houston St. holds an assessed value of $99.5 million, according to the Bexar County Appraisal District. A limited partnership tied to Weston Urban is listed as the current owner.

Frost Tower’s 457,404 square feet of office and retail space is 80% leased, according to Newmark. The 19th through 21st floors of the tower are partially leased, with 54,500 square feet of space available, the listing shows. Amenities include a fitness center and a tenant lounge.

Current tenants include:

  • Frost Bank, 278,222 square feet
  • Norton Rose Fulbright, 38,841 square feet
  • Ernst & Young, 14,606 square feet
  • Insight Global, 10,517 square feet
  • Bitdefender, 9,360 square feet

CBRE Group Inc.’s Christi Griggs and Brandon Logan currently oversee leasing in the building.

Bill Day, senior vice president of corporate communications at Frost Bank, said a deal would not change its commitment to downtown. The bank’s 18-year lease does not expire until June 2039. Frost Bank has about 600 employees in the building.

“It’s not going to affect us or our lease at all,” Day said. He declined to comment further on Weston Urban, as the bank financed construction for the project, making their landlord a customer — and Frost does not comment on specific customers.

Frost Bank will generate $297 million of cash flow through its lease, according to Newmark. The bank invested $27 million to build out its lobby space, offices, cafeteria and kitchen.

Weston Urban CEO Randy Smith did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication. Chase Tagen, director of Texas and Central U.S. Capital Markets for Newmark, declined to comment.

New Haven, Connecticut-based architect Pelli Clark Pelli designed the building. Bethesda, Maryland-based Clark Construction was the general contractor.

As San Antonio continues to see job growth and the the region keeps drawing in new residents, investors are coming back into the local market. Those factors, considered along with the downtown location and long-term tenants, signal that a buyer for the soaring tower could emerge sooner than later.

Local office market activity is nearing 2019 levels, with $588 million in investment last year, up from $401 million in 2020 but still down from $746 million in 2019, according to Real Capital Analytics data provided by Transwestern.

Click here to read the full story and see more photos in the San Antonio Business Journal.

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