Less than four months after a major mixed-use development planned for the Pearl area hit a roadblock when the owner and developer put the property on the market, one buyer gave a preview of its proposed $100 million project for the area. 

James Griffin, an attorney representing Plano-based developer Encore Enterprises, told board members of the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) on Tuesday that its proposed multifamily project on a parcel of Broadway East will “kickstart” the entire area. But the developer wants funding from the City – in the form of TIRZ reimbursements – to make it happen. 

Encore purchased the 4 acres for the development last year from GrayStreet Partners, which had assembled a total of about 23 contiguous acres along Broadway Street between Grayson and Newell streets and announced plans for an expansive master-planned development including residential, office, and high-end retail spaces. The purchase price was undisclosed.

In January, GrayStreet broke the news that it would put almost 15 acres of the land up for sale, enlisting commercial real estate firm JLL to market the desirable property. Since then, GrayStreet has turned its attention to its three-phase development plan for the former Lone Star Brewery site on the South Side, where it’s partnering with Houston-based developer Midway. 

Encore is planning a five-story apartment building with 386 units and other residential amenities similar to its development in Southtown, Encore SoFlo at 326 S. Flores St. The proposed building would be located one block off Broadway Street at North Alamo, Grayson, Austin, and Carson streets. 

Griffin said that before construction can start, the developer will need to make major infrastructure changes, and those will come at a cost. 

Encore plans to upgrade utility systems and improve sidewalks, “not just bringing up the infrastructure so more development can follow but showing that it can be done and adding people to the fold here [and] really spurring development in this immediate area,” he said. 

Griffin said the public infrastructure costs will total $10.5 million. He did not disclose the amount Encore would request through TIRZ funding, but said that estimate could go up.

“This project is shovel-ready – we are almost through [permitting],” he said. “It is ready to go but can’t proceed until there’s some certainty on some assistance because [costs are] going up and up by the day. [It’s] very, very expensive, very tough to get anything going.”

Encore plans to invest $90 million in the development that it estimates will be valued at $100 million when completed. Construction is expected to start June 1, contingent upon assistance being provided through the TIRZ and the City of San Antonio. 

A proposed agreement detailing Encore’s request for TIRZ funding will be presented to the TIRZ board in a future meeting, said a City staffer. 

In 2019, the Midtown TIRZ signed an agreement with Embrey Partners to reimburse it for $4 million in eligible infrastructure costs for The Creamery, a 338-unit multifamily development under construction at 815 E. Ashby Place, where the former Borden plant operated in Tobin Hill. The funding was to be used for improvements to the San Antonio River frontage, bridge and park upgrades, removal of billboards, and beautification. 

GrayStreet’s development director, Peter French, said his firm remains invested and involved in Broadway East, a project it first presented to the TIRZ in September as a development that would extend Pearl Parkway east. 

Since then, “the world has changed a little bit, including the timing for us and the balance and the project,” he said. “We all wish for so many reasons that the last year hadn’t transpired the way that it had … but we’re doing our best to get the balance of the Broadway East project back on track and moving forward again.”

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.