Two small, 1940s era warehouses on the corner of South Alamo and South Flores streets will soon be transformed into “creative” office space and a restaurant/bar, but there won’t be any music on the patio.
City Council unanimously approved a rezoning request on Thursday that will allow local developer David Adelman of AREA Real Estate to move forward with partial demolition and renovation of the structures at 1302 S. Flores St. and 1811 S. Alamo St., respectively.
“It’ll be a version of what we did with the warehouse that Rosella and Overland Partners are in now,” Adelman said in a phone interview. There will be room for at least two or three office tenants – possibly more depending on the size – and “ideally we’d have a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop. We’re still seeking tenants.”
Council’s approval of this project, however, came with an amendment that prohibits the use of any outdoor amplified sound.
Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) added the amendment after several people that live near the buildings, which are just two blocks west of the official boundary of the King William Historic District, voiced concerns about the potential noise that a restaurant or bar would bring.
“We’re not asking to deny a bar or restaurant, only to restrict outdoor noise,” said King William Association Executive Director Cherise Bell.
Some neighbors were also concerned about what future owners would be able to do with the new commercial zoning in place.
“We’re excited to see these industrial buildings developed, but C2 (zoning designation) outstrips what’s needed to accomplish their (the developer’s) objective,” said Walter Wilson, who lives less than 100 feet from the development. He suggested that the C1 designation, which is used for less intense commercial use, would be more appropriate and act as a better buffer between the neighborhood and commercial uses across Flores and Alamo streets.
“We just want to avoid having to call the police. We are excited about the change, however, it should be done with respect to (the residents),” said Sergio Vides who lives on Sweet Street with his wife Naema Vides. By restricting outdoor speakers entirely, he said, the neighbors won’t have to make sure they’re turned off at 10 p.m. to comply with the residential noise ordinance.
The City of San Antonio’s Cliff Morton Development and Business Services building is directly across South Flores Street and a Salvation Army thrift store is across South Alamo. Several offices, apartments, and condos are emerging and established on what some call the “SoFlo” (South Flores) corridor that connects the Southtown Arts District to the city’s downtown and deeper Southside. It’s a neighborhood transitioning from industrial to mixed-use residential and commercial.
Adelman’s new project is a block away from Union Pacific train tracks, which brings plenty of noise on its own, and South Alamo and Flores streets are main thoroughfares for traffic including big trucks. He doesn’t think the noise, amplified on a patio, would have been an issue.
“South Alamo and Flores are major urban streets,” Adelman said. “It’s not like the residents there are signed up for a quiet neighborhood.”
At any rate, permitting is now underway for the work ahead.
“Now that we have our zoning we can hopefully find multiple tenants that will like the building,” he said. “We’ve had some tire-kickers … people don’t usually get serious about it until you do the renovation.”
Adelman purchased the building on 1811 S. Alamo St. about eight months ago from vending machine supplier H.A. Franz and Company, which was operating out of the building right up until the sale. He bought the adjacent vacant building on South Flores Street, which is on the verge of collapse, soon after.
“It’s pretty much unsalvageable,” Adelman said. “I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen over.”
The plan is to keep the facade of the building to provide a kind of buffer for the 30-space surface parking lot. Because the building is not technically inside the King William Historic District, the Historic and Design Review Commission does not have to approve the partial demolition or design.
A petition to add several blocks to the district, including this one, is circulating throughout the neighborhood.
Top image: A rendering of the new office and and retail space at 1811 S. Alamo St. Image courtesy of AREA Real Estate.