The Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) unanimously approved plans Wednesday afternoon for several additions and modifications to the historic Grant and Kress buildings in downtown San Antonio. Local property owner and developer GrayStreet Partners will join the two buildings to create mixed-use office and retail space.

According to the application submitted to the HDRC, GrayStreet will add rooftop terraces, landscaping, and floor-to-ceiling windows on several walls of both buildings. Top-floor spaces currently used to house mechanical equipment will be converted into penthouse offices for lease.

Many of the more significant changes, such as the fenestrations, would not be immediately visible to pedestrians and were deemed acceptable by the City staff’s report.

The five-story, 43,592 sq. ft. Grant Building, which includes a basement and mezzanine, was constructed in 1935. It has been vacant since the Children’s Museum, now known as The DoSeum, closed in March 2015 and moved to its new location on Broadway Street.

New tenants are expected to include a tech company, a law firm, and a cybersecurity firm. The street-level retail would likely come in the form of a food hall, said GrayStreet Managing Partner Kevin Covey.

“(Tenants) have not been secured, not yet. Hopefully they will be soon, but I won’t announce until they have signed on the dotted line,” Covey said in a phone interview after the meeting on Wednesday.

Covey said that he does not yet have an established timeline for the renovations which will likely take more than a year.

With the purchase of the two buildings, which was made public June 23, GrayStreet now owns the entire north side of the 300 block of East Houston Street.

Grant & Kress Buildings. Rendering by Clayton&Little Architects courtesy of Gray St Partners.
The Grant & Kress buildings will undergo renovations to add rooftop terraces and windows. Rendering by Clayton & Little Architects courtesy of GrayStreet Partners.
The proposed facades of 'Mercado Via,' currently the Grant & Kress buildings on East Houston Street. Rendering by Clayton & Little Architects courtesy of GrayStreet Partners.
The proposed facades of ‘Mercado Via,’ currently the Grant & Kress buildings on East Houston Street. Rendering by Clayton & Little Architects courtesy of GrayStreet Partners.

The two buildings will add 100,000 sq. ft. of prime office and retail space to a street that has seen intense efforts by GrayStreet Partners, Weston Urban, and AREA Real Estate to renovate long-vacant buildings and build density downtown.

The area on and around East Houston Street is being branded as the Tech District due to the presence of tech companies such as Geekdom, Open Cloud Academy, and CodeUp. CAST Tech, a magnet school, is slated to open somewhere in the area in 2017.

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Top image: Renovations planned for the Grant & Kress buildings on East Houston Street were approved by the HDRC Wednesday. Rendering by Clayton & Little Architects courtesy of GrayStreet Partners. 

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Sarah Talaat

Sarah Talaat

Former Rivard Report intern Sarah Talaat graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2016. You can find her in Beijing, China where she is pursuing a business journalism master's at Tsinghua...