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Downtown Dazzle: San Antonio’s Skyline To Get A New High Rise

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Graham Weston talks about the plan to build a new skyscraper downtown with members of City Council

A skyscraper has not been built in San Antonio since the 1980s. But the skyline is going to get a facelift with the addition of a new office tower. On Monday, the city, Frost, and Weston Urban announced further details on how the public-private partnership would look and shape the future of the city center.

The new deal was first announced last June with few details, but the plans are now public. The idea came from Weston Urban founder Graham Weston who said this was the birth of a new central business district for downtown.“Over the last decade, the downtowns have been given a new direction by the demand of young people to live downtown, demand from empty nesters to live downtown.”

The deal will swap several city buildings, including the Municipal Plaza Building where the City Council meets, next to San Fernando Cathedral, in exchange for the existing Frost Bank Tower on Houston St.  

City Manager Sheryl Scully says Weston Urban will build 265 new apartments.“We’ll retain ownership of the council chambers, housing units will be installed and [there will be] development on top of the council chambers, and then, 200 new housing units in the core of the city.”

The city is also giving up the San Fernando Gym on West Travis and a nearby parking lot. The new office tower will be constructed on Frost’s motor bank at the corner of Flores and Houston streets. The 400,000 square foot building will be the corporate headquarters of Frost Bank; half of that space will be leased to other companies.

Frost CEO Dick Evans said construction could begin in about a year, with completion in less than four years. “[Next is] choosing the architect, and the plans, and all of that, so we’re about three, three and a half years away. But we’re started. This is a great step.”

The city predicts the building exchanges will save about $3.5 million per year in current leases. The city will hold a public hearing on May 28 and the full City Council will vote on the agreement on June 4. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules