This story has been updated.

The last time nearby residents heard about plans for the 2017 bond-funded North St. Mary’s Street police substation, they learned that the project had been slimmed down, and construction would be complete by June 2023.

On Monday evening, neighbors learned from city officials that construction now won’t begin until January, with a completion date scheduled for early 2024.

The $18 million substation is one of 11 projects from the 2017-2022 bond package that remains incomplete. City officials said that while each project faced its own challenges, rising land acquisition costs, inflation, material shortages and slow design approvals have been the culprits.

Some of the remaining projects are slated to receive additional funding from the 2022-2027 bond, said Razi Hosseini, director and city engineer for the City of San Antonio Public Works Department.

“As you know, inflation is affecting all of our lives, but we usually have an alternative if the project comes over budget,” Hosseini said. “We cut some of those additive alternatives back to ensure it doesn’t affect our project schedule and be prepared for possible over-cost.”

Of 180 projects funded by the 2017 bond, 113 have been completed, and about 56 are under construction, Hosseini said, while the remaining 11 are in the design process.

The substation project was originally going to include headquarters for the San Antonio Park Police. But even after looking at 20 potential parcels, city officials couldn’t find one large enough for both within its budget. The search delayed the project, and the $4.8 million park police headquarters was moved to Hemisfair. That project is still in the design phase.

The substation, like other bond also had a long design approval process, said Paul Berry, spokesman for the Public Works Department.

The two-story, 24,000-square-foot substation will have parking for more than 110 vehicles, an outdoor courtyard and a mechanical equipment yard. Some parts of the property will be open to the public, including a lawn with terraced seating, cut stone benches and a VIA bus stop. The building also will include a community room.

Not all delays can be blamed on pandemic-era shortages or rising costs.

In the case of the Brackenridge Park bond project, public outcry over a plan to remove more than 100 heritage trees delayed construction. After a series of contentious public meetings, officials redesigned the project. It will also get money from the 2022 bond, Hosseini said.

The city’s public-private partnership approach to public infrastructure can also slow things down, Hosseini said. Projects must be coordinated with private design and construction firms, while the City Council still has the final say over all designs.

Approvals for several projects took longer than expected, Berry said.

“We take the designs over to each city council office, show them, they have questions, they provide input,” he said. “It’s not just something where we turn it in and they say ‘approved.’ It’s a long process.”

Inflation has become a looming concern and could become more so as 2022 bond projects work their way through the process.

Five percent inflation over five years is built into current project cost estimates, Hosseini said — but inflation is now over 8%. That means having to go back and value engineer projects so that they remain within budget.

“Budgets don’t change,” he said. “Budget is budget.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when construction on the SAPD substation was originally slated to begin.

Raquel Torres is the San Antonio Report's breaking news reporter. A 2020 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, her work has been recognized by the Texas Managing Editors. She previously worked...