A contract with Northwest Petroleum LP to construct and operate a gas station, convenience store and Burger King chain restaurant at the Airport Boulevard entrance to the San Antonio International Airport was approved by City Council on Thursday, but the final design of the structures will need final Council approval before the company can begin construction.
City Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) pulled the item off of the consent agenda on Thursday to highlight concerns he had about the design and the impact the project would have on the aesthetics of the airport’s entrance.
“I have no issue with the concept of this,” Treviño said, acknowledging the need for a gas station, “but I believe the Council has a right to understand the design of this … it should be done in a more thoughtful and purposeful manner.”
The airport is a key part of the visitor experience, he said, so it’s worth it to “take a deeper dive into this. … (the developer’s) concern is not our signage, the concern is their signage.”
He then proposed a motion, which passed, that requires the company to come back to City Council with renderings of the Phillips 66 gas station, Q Mart convenience store and connected Burger King fast-food restaurant that will be located off of northeast Interstate 410 Loop and Airport Boulevard.
Councilman Joe Krier (D9) thanked Treviño for his “eagle eye” on design and architecture matters that come before Council, admitting that he didn’t give the concept or design schematics a second thought until Treviño brought it to his attention. Treviño, by training, is a professional architect.
“What if we all wake up and go, ‘Gosh, that wasn’t so nice?’” Krier said. “I’d rather over-approve on the front end than try to undo on the backend.”
The structures will take up a portion of the existing surface lot, which will continue to serve as a paid parking lot and a free cell phone lot for people to coordinate pickups at the terminal will be added.
Councilman Mike Gallagher (D10) and Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras were concerned that because designs have to be approved through a lengthy process with the Federal Aviation Administration, further changes to the already-approved designs may delay project completion until during or after the NCAA Final Four games in San Antonio, which will bring thousands of sports fans through the airport in 2018.
“We’ve been working on this for almost three years now,” Contreras said. “There is a sense of urgency.”
Gallagher cast the single vote against requiring the company to submit final designs for review.
Treviño said he expects the delay would be minor and would not impact the City’s Final Four plans.
“We all have to feel good about this. This is our airport,” he said, adding that as he looked over the schematics as they exist today, “I don’t think anybody is going to like it.”
Top image: The gas station would be located just beyond (and to the left of) this main signage and entry point for the San Antonio International Airpot. Image via Google Maps.