NRP Group is developing Rio Lofts, a mixed-income apartment complex in the Lone Star Brewery neighborhood. Credit: Courtesy / Muñoz and Company

The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission gave its final approval Wednesday of plans for mixed-income apartment complex in the Lone Star neighborhood. The new 81-unit, $16 million Rio Lofts at 319 W. Mitchell St. would be developed by the NRP Group. 

Apartment units will range in size from 650 to 1,050 sq. ft. Fourteen of the units would be sold at market rate while the rest would be rent-controlled.

Rio Lofts will be right across Mitchell Street from Confluence Park, an environmental and educational greenspace under construction along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, slated for grand opening Jan. 17, 2018.

Confluence Park is under construction.
Confluence Park is under construction on the Mission Reach. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report
Confluence Park is slated to open to the public on Jan. 17, 2017.
Confluence Park is slated to open to the public on Jan. 17, 2018. Credit: Courtesy / Lake/Flato Architects and the San Antonio River Foundation

The San Antonio River Foundation has led the transformation of a former industrial equipment yard into a three-acre, $13 million park. The interactive recreational space will accommodate the San Antonio River Authority’s educational outreach program.

Approval was given with some stipulations, including that the developer modify the proposed roof form to a flat or contemporary style. NRP Group has also been asked to introduce more facade variation, separation of wall planes, deeper balconies, and recessed fenestrations.

The complex will replace a funeral home site and be surrounded by homes and some industrial properties in the area.

“This is a very challenging site,” Commission Chairman Michael Guarino said.

Commissioner Azza Kamal said the apartment complex would be a welcome addition to the Southside, and that it would help people seeking affordable multi-family residential options in the community.

“This is good to add to the city, and it’s much needed,” she added. Kamal agreed with City staff’s stipulation to increase facade variation around the building.

“There should be harmony and dialogue to demonstrate that this doesn’t look [the same as other] buildings,” Kamal added.

Geoffrey Edwards, principal and CCO of Muñoz & Company, the local architecture firm designing the Rio Lofts, said he thought much of the design already complied with commissioners’ stipulations, but that he looked forward to a final round of guidance from HDRC’s architecture subcommittee.

“Rio Lofts will have one-, two- and three-bedroom units with rents as low as $300 up to $950,” NRP Group developer Jay Johnson said later.

“Most of the units will target individuals and families at 50% and 60% of area median income, but the community will also include a limited amount of deeper targeting units at 30% of area median income, as well as unrestricted market rate units. The development will be a true mixed income community only minutes away from Southtown.”

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.