The Historic Design and Review Commission (HDRC) approved on Wednesday plans to turn a former CPS Energy office and garage near La Villita into Class A office space with a restaurant on the River Walk.
The 10-story office building and adjacent garage at 146 Navarro St., according to documents submitted by the architecture firm Gensler, offers over 100,000 sq. ft. of office space for lease and more than 600 parking spaces in the garage.
The commission granted conceptual approval for the project with a requirement the owner present to HDRC its final landscaping and signage plans.
CPS Energy announced in February it had sold the combined building and garage for $22.3 million to Los Angeles-based BH Properties. Last year, CPS moved from the office building it had occupied since 1968, and its main office at 145 Navarro, relocating to its newly refurbished headquarters in the former AT&T buildings on McCullough Avenue.
The new owner plans to expand amenities in the building, “creating an active and engaging destination” on the River Walk, according to the applicant. The ground-level plaza will be enhanced with new plants and paving plus a new food and beverage venue with patio dining facing the river.
Screening material will be added to the facade of the garage structure along with new plantings on the upper floor terraces. The exterior brick will remain in place.
Gensler, with architects MP Studio, describes the project as a repositioning — designing new uses into an old building, which according to the global firm Interior Architects maximizes the budget, requires less time than a ground-up development, and can be done in phases.
The BH Properties website states that the commercial real estate investment firm owns, operates, and repositions “value-add” real estate across the country, mostly in the South and Southwest.