From left: view of Frost Bank, Riverview Towers, and the Weston Centre from Main Plaza. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
The Riverview Towers adjacent to Main Plaza could be converted from offices to hotel rooms. Credit: Iris Dimmick / San Antonio Report

A North Carolina-based hotelier has preliminary plans to redevelop the 20-story Riverview Towers in downtown San Antonio.

The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) voted Wednesday to give conceptual approval to a proposal for new signage, exterior alterations, and construction of a rooftop bar area for the office building at 111 Soledad St.

The commission rubber-stamped the item as part of its consent agenda. Winston Hotels is currently in the process of acquiring the entire building from Primera Properties, said Mathew Jalazo, the hotelier’s executive vice president of development.

Winston Hotels specializes in hotel development, adaptive re-use, and acquisitions across the United States and Canada.

Talking with the Rivard Report following the HDRC meeting, Jalazo said he and his associates are still figuring out their full vision for the structure. The building lies within the Main/Military Plaza Historic District boundaries.

“We don’t know yet the entire plan, but the redevelopment of the building will have multiple uses,” Jalazo said. “We just don’t know exactly what those uses will be.”

According to the information and conceptual drawings that Winston Hotels sent to the City, preliminary plans call for a rooftop bar at the 14th and 15th levels including a new canopy and trellis structure.

An express elevator would be added to the rooftop bar, and two new guest room windows installed on each floor on the west side of the building.

The potential redevelopment of the Riverview Towers could also involve modifications of the building’s east and west and street-level façades.

Specifically, the street-level façades would be revamped to accommodate entrance canopies in addition to new and detailed pedestrian entrances for the hotel.

The proposal also calls for modifying the existing sidewalk to feature a vehicular access point for valet parking. There would be new exterior lighting and signage, too, according to plans.

City staff recommended approval for all proposed modifications, with added stipulations. One condition requires the hotelier to coordinate with the City on public accessibility while the street-level modifications are carried out.

Another stipulation requires the company to eliminate rooftop signage facing Main Plaza and incorporate signage into the building’s architecture. New signage, said City staff, should be indirectly illuminated and feature metal construction.

Jalazo said he could not currently share additional information, such as a timeline, about the proposed redevelopment of Riverview Towers. Riverview Towers in recent years has accommodated a few City department operations, including the Metropolitan Health District and Human Resources.

“We want to figure it out as soon as possible,” he added.

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.