A tower crane rose high above the site for the new 23-story Frost Bank Tower on Saturday, signaling an onward and upward move as the project heads toward its anticipated completion in early 2019.

Clark Construction Group, a building and civil construction firm based out of Bethesda, Md., was selected by project manager Weston Urban and its Dallas partner KDC to complete the project, along with the leading architectural group Pelli Clarke Pelli and local firm Alamo Architects.

The project at 110 W. Houston St. broke ground in March, and Clark Construction Project Executive John Warren predicts that some of the offices will be finished by December of 2018.

The new Frost Bank tower will be the first office tower added to the downtown skyline since the Weston Centre was constructed in 1989. The project is part of a multi-million real estate deal with the City of San Antonio. The City will take over the old Frost Tower once bank employees have relocated to their new offices.

Once completed in 2019, the 460,000 sq. ft. office tower will be the new Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. headquarters, featuring 430,000 sq. ft. of office space, 20,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail, 10,000 sq. ft. for other tenants, and a 400,000 sq. ft. wraparound parking facility at the base.

“The tower crane goes up at the beginning where we’re about to begin our vertical construction,” Warren told the Rivard Report at his office at the nearby Rand building Monday. “That tower crane will serve all of the tower construction until we top out basically a year from now.”

Development began with the demolition of the mobile banking center that previously stood on the lot. Construction workers then removed seven feet of expansive soil, filled it with good fill, laid out the foundation, and began implementing piers into the ground as deep as 140 feet.

“We have the piers in, the foundations are in, [and we’re] finalizing our grade beams right now,” Warren said. “After the Fourth of July holiday, so next Monday, we’ll have another concrete company come in and they’ll start the slab on grade. Once the slab goes in, you’ll start to see the columns go in.”

Diagonal, almost leaning columns, will eventually begin to give the unique structure its shape. The building plan, however, is designed so that a full skeleton won’t be seen until the structure is essentially completed.

This rendering shows a street level perspective of the Frost Bank Tower. Credit: Rendering by Pelli Clarke Pelli / Courtesy Weston Urban

“Once we’re about halfway up, you’ll start to see the curtain wall,” Warren said. “All the glass starts to go up.”

The idea is for the structure to ignite the surrounding area with pedestrian activity and commerce, bolster the burgeoning tech scene, and connect seamlessly to San Pedro Creek, which is currently under construction and will feature several public art components.

Warren said he is grateful for the support that the project has received in San Antonio.

“In a town like this it’s nice to be a special project like this,” Warren said. “If we were in Austin we’d just be one of many towers.”

Jeffrey Sullivan is a Rivard Report reporter. He graduated from Trinity University with a degree in Political Science.