Deansteel Manufacturing at 931 South Flores.
Deansteel Manufacturing at 931 South Flores. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The owners of Deansteel at 931 S. Flores St. have withdrawn their rezoning request with the intent to regroup with business partners and neighbors about plans to redevelop the industrial site for apartments.

Local attorney Patrick Christensen, who represents John H. Dean Family Partners, did not share details with the Rivard Report on Monday about those discussions, but he confirmed his client withdrew the request.

“Yes, the case has been pulled from consideration,” he said. “The plan is to revise the site plan/project and submit a new application in a year or so.”

When asked about whether neighborhood opposition to the project was still too much to overcome, Christensen replied: “We just want to come back with a new plan.”

The City’s Zoning Commission voted 7-4 in April to deny a zoning change at the 7.5-acre property, which had been eyed for a multi-story, possible 975-unit apartment complex.

The proposal came under fire from the King William Association and dozens of neighboring residents who expressed fear about density, building heights, and parking issues. Other residents said the project, as presented, did not fit into the Lone Star Community Plan.

The City Council was expected to consider the rezoning request on Aug. 16, but the property owners asked to continue the case, hoping a bit more discussion with worried neighbors would yield a plan amenable to everyone.

A preliminary site plan by Alamo Architects revealed at the April Zoning Commission meeting, showed numerous multi-story structures as part of the redevelopment, but the height of those structures had not been finalized.

City staff recommended approval of the original rezoning request earlier this year. The City back then mailed notices to 54  owners of property close to 931 South Flores. Fifty-four property owners responded by opposing the request; only three property owners approved of it.

Before the April Zoning Commission meeting, the neighbors asked the property owners to downsize the apartment concept to 40-45 units per acre.

Representatives from the Camp Street Residences Condominium Association, Judson Candy Factory Lofts, and the Rangel family all have tried working with Dean’s group to reach a compromise plan.

Neighbors said they understood the Deansteel property would eventually be redeveloped, but they wanted a project that fit into the Lone Star Community Plan and complemented the surrounding corridor, a key link from the central business district and Southtown.

Susie Patterson, a Camp Street resident of 12 years, said the last version of the proposed project was too dense for the immediate area.

“We hope a developer will come back and work with us to develop a creative plan that doesn’t radically change our neighborhood, the way it looks or feels,” added Patterson.

Patterson agreed with neighbors that the Lone Star neighborhood plan should not be sacrificed in order to advance significant redevelopment.

“That was the feeling we had with the Deansteel plan,” she explained. “We felt all this planning and effort happened with the City — where was that going?”

Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said he tried getting all sides of the rezoning issue on the same page.

“But compromise couldn’t be reached,” Treviño said. “We’ll see what transpires in a year.”

Treviño said more and more neighborhood groups in the City’s urban core, especially those in District 1, want the City to ensure their formal community plans are incorporated as San Antonio implements its SA Tomorrow plan.

Treviño said any new development should include input and ideas from the neighborhood where developers seek to set up shop.

“It’s always critical to think of that perspective,” he added. “We really want to find a solution (project) that works, but the heart of that needs to be the neighborhood plan.”

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