SA approves major Hemisfair project amendment with Zachry, greenlighting hotel and residential units

Updated agreement includes 200-room boutique hotel, parking, residential units

Zachry's initial plan for Hemisfair included a new hotel and office tower. (Courtesy of Zachry Hospitality via San Antonio Business Journal)

The San Antonio City Council approved a contract amendment with Zachry Hospitality on a major project at Hemsfair, greenlighting the process for a hotel and more residential units at the former World’s Fair site.

During a meeting on Thursday morning, council members unanimously authorized city staff to update the agreement between the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation and Zachry Hospitality — meaning the vision of a mixed-use development at Hemisfair is different than what was originally approved five years ago.

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The new agreement outlines the process for a 200-room boutique hotel, 65,000-square-feet of restaurant and retail space, and 525 residential units. Of those residential units, 87 will be for workforce housing as outlined in Hemisfair’s Mixed-Income Residential Housing Policy.

According to a news release, the updated agreement also includes:

- Public parking without city funding.

- Ground lease payments that contribute toward Hemisfair’s long-term financial sustainability.

- Living wages for hotel employees.

Construction is expected to begin in March of next year and finish by spring 2025, according to the release.

“Our original agreement with Zachry Hospitality was to create a world-class, mixed-use development that would benefit Hemisfair and all who visit for decades to come, and this update allows us to execute that vision in a post-pandemic reality,” Andres Andujar, CEO of Hemisfair, said in the release. “With this amendment, we’re delivering amenities that serve our park visitors, contribute to San Antonio’s economic recovery and help secure the Hemisfair District’s financial sustainability. We’re grateful to the City and our development partners for working diligently with us to produce an amendment that will serve San Antonio for generations to come.”

The updated agreement also allows the funneling of $340 million in private investment into Hemisfair and downtown.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg called it, “an important step forward, bringing one of the most critical pieces of real estate in San Antonio back to life in a way that befits the vision we had at the beginning.”

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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