The 23-story Frost Bank Tower project has officially joined the hotbed of construction activity in downtown.

Construction crews began securing the project perimeter, an entire city block, Sunday night with steel, chain-link fences and large yellow barriers along the sidewalks, preparing for the two-year construction process of the glass-faced, 400,000 sq. ft. structure. World-renowned architecture company Pelli Clarke Pelli (PCP) aims to bring San Antonio’s skyline into the 21st century with its design.

The project is slated for completion by late 2018 or early 2019.

For now, a few piles of rubble dot the site, which was the Frost Bank motor bank and parking lot. A few construction workers in bright vests and hard hats work to weld large steel gates together to mark the entrances to the future construction zone while a dozen or so others are erect tall fences around it to keep out overnight intruders and pedestrians. The entire site is expected to be secured by Tuesday night, one construction worker told the Rivard Report Monday morning.

PCP has been working with Weston Urban, the project’s developer and investor, and local architectural consultant Alamo Architects on the high-profile tower project that is part of a multi-million-dollar real estate deal with the City of San Antonio. The City will take over the former Frost tower Houston Street once current tenants move out and the building is renovated.

The overall design received preliminary approval from the Historic Design and Review Commission (HDRC) last summer, though commissioners suggested several minor design changes that would enhance the pedestrian experience near the structure. The design team will soon return to HDRC for final approval.

The new, proposed Frost Tower at night. Rendering by Pelli Clarke Pelli courtesy of Weston Urban.
The proposed Frost Bank tower at night. Credit: Rendering by Pelli Clarke Pelli / Courtesy of Weston Urban

The new tower will sit on the downtown block bordered by West Travis Street to the north, North Flores to the east, West Houston to the south, and Camaron to the west. It abuts the $175 million San Pedro Creek Improvements Project, where construction has already begun to transform the concrete ditch into a linear park. A number of other residential and mixed-use projects are being developed in the urban core.

Downtown pedestrians near the Frost Bank site today have likely noticed the fencing along the North Flores sidewalk, with more to come along West Houston and Camaron, eventually closing off each of those sidewalks. Large, yellow barriers with fencing on top were placed along West Travis Street.

The portion of West Houston Street between North Flores and Camaron is closed to vehicular traffic, and soon the northern sidewalk on West Houston and those along Camaron and North Flores nearest the construction site also will be closed to pedestrians, one construction worker said Monday.

When completed, the Frost Bank Tower will feature 250,000 sq. ft. of office space for Frost Bank employees and another 150,000 sq. ft. for other tenants, activating an otherwise quiet stretch of downtown. The ground floor of the building will serve as a “glassy pavilion in the park,” PCP Principal Bill Butler told the Rivard Report in July 2016, and will have space for restaurants, cafés, or retail stores.

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia

Camille, a San Antonio native, formerly worked at the Rivard Report as assistant editor and reporter. She is a freelance writer based in Austin, where she is getting her master's in Latin American Studies...