A rendering proposed for an approved project on the property of 1226 South Presa Street.
A rendering proposed for an approved residential project at 1226 South Presa St. Credit: Courtesy / LPA Inc.

Designs for 15 townhomes and five single-family units in the Lavaca Historic District received final approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) on Wednesday.

The developments feature traditional gable roofs made of seam metal, painted wood porches, welded wire fencing, garages, and shared materiality with existing structures in the neighborhood. Located at 1226 S. Presa St., the project is part of the Center City Housing Incentive Policy, which delivers financial incentives for multi-family housing projects in the downtown area.

Each townhome unit will be three stories tall, with an attached garage that faces away from the surrounding streets. Some of the porches built into the structures will be screened.

But the approval came with some concern and questioning. San Antonio Conservation Society First Vice President Patti Zaiontz said her organization had reservations about such a dense development going into the Lavaca historic neighborhood.

“When the extra height is combined with the solid wall of the housing facing on to Presa and Florida [streets], it overwhelms the visual rhythm that characterizes the original housing stock on those streets,” Zaiontz said. “We are also concerned about the impact that placing 20 units with primary vehicular access at the corner of South Presa and Florida [streets] will have on that intersection.”

Mickey Conrad, principal at LPA Inc. and the HDRC applicant for the project, responded that he and the other developers involved had met with members of the Lavaca Neighborhood Association to address those and similar concerns.

“They are fully aware of the plan for the density and for the traffic, and we’ve received no opposition from them after having met with them several times,” Conrad said. “The units are designed to engage the street and blend in with the neighborhood, although the density is higher.”

Other questions and comments from the board concluded that months of planning and review had been put into the project, and that significant changes had been made to accommodate surrounding neighbors.

“We have actually been looking at this project for several months, and there’s been significant accommodations to its neighbors,” said Tim Cone, HDRC commissioner for District 1. Because the property was originally zoned commercial, “We felt … that the scale on this corner, a very important corner, is appropriate.”

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