With many months of underground work completed, a residential tower is about to go vertical in downtown San Antonio.

Crews began this month pouring the vertical piers for The Floodgate, a 16-story octagonal building at 143 E. Commerce St. along the San Antonio River Walk.

Situated between the recently restored Witte Building and the historic Esquire Tavern, The Floodgate is the latest new development in what is fast becoming a dining and lodging destination near Main Plaza. Also on the same block is the newly constructed Canopy by Hilton, which is booking its first guest stays starting April 20. 

“The entire block is brand new,” said developer Keller Henderson.

The Floodgate site was once occupied by several single-story buildings housing restaurants, a jewelry store, a check-cashing business, and a deli, Henderson said. About a year ago, the non-historic buildings were demolished, and an effort to stabilize the neighboring structures began. 

The work to install piers deep into the bedrock for The Floodgate took nine months. 

“We’ve done all of our underground structural stuff and so now we’re actually finally building the building,” Henderson said. “The project is now above ground.”

When completed in March 2022, the river level of the tower will provide 5,000 square feet of restaurant space with exterior terraces overlooking the River Walk. A historic flood wall, temporarily removed during construction, will be replaced. “The architects [Austin-based Rhode Partners] have done a fabulous job incorporating that into the contemporary nature of the building,” Henderson said. 

The entrance to the apartment tower, a restaurant, and stairs to the River Walk will be located on street level, and the two stories above will house an automated parking system with 56 spaces for residents’ vehicles.

The street-level entrance to the Floodgate on Commerce Street. Credit: Courtesy / Rhode Partners Architects

“That’s a pretty neat, unusual aspect that has turned out to be very economical for us space-wise and super-efficient for our guests,” Henderson said. It will be the only such automated parking system in the state, he added. 

Above the parking will be an “amenity level,” featuring a lounge, billiards area, fitness center, an outdoor pool and kitchen, and private dining room. 

The 63 luxury apartments, all one- and two-bedroom units with 18 different floor plans, feature floor-to-ceiling glass with views of downtown. 

“There are these octagonal tiers that shift as they go up the building and so that gives us an opportunity to reorient the apartments and the living rooms to focus on the view that that tier offers at that location,” Henderson said. “It’s going to be nothing like San Antonio has ever seen.”

The Floodgate will be marketed to empty-nesters and corporate transplants who enjoy urban living, he said, and pre-leasing will start in a few months. The apartments will rent at market rates, but actual rates have not been determined yet, he said.

Henderson sees The Floodgate’s location and its close proximity to restaurants, new parks, and other parts of downtown as the building’s chief selling points. “It’s going to be just a sensational place to live,” he said.

For the $43 million project, the City granted the developer $3.9 million in incentives through the Center City Housing Incentive Policy, which included an estimated $3.1 million in city property tax rebates, $300,000 in San Antonio Water System fee waivers, $111,288 in city fee waivers, a forgivable development loan of $125,000, and a $375,000 mixed-use loan.

The developer is also renovating a four-story structure at 200 Main Plaza, a century-old former police headquarters building across from the Bexar County Courthouse, which will be leased for riverfront office space. 

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...