Rendering of the four-unit building. Courtesy image.

The Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) approved the next step for the construction of 14 townhouses in two structures on Cedar Street in the King William Historic District.

HDRC has approved the design and site plan by Alamo Architects, and details pertaining to project’s aesthetic – paint color, fencing materials, and landscaping – will soon be up for review. Depending on how smoothly the rest of the process goes, construction could begin as early as the end of this year.

“We’ve been at this for a year now,” said developer Stephen Yndo of Yndo Commercial Real Estate Company “We started out as a 19-unit project and now we’re down to 14 units, and we’re still at it.”

Yndo said the project consists of many moving parts; a vacant children’s shelter facility, a one-story historic home, and a parking lot are all in play. The project includes demolition of the former San Antonio Children’s Shelter at 139 Cedar St. in order to build a ten-unit townhouse, constructing a four-unit townhouse on the nearby parking lot, and selling an historical home at as a single-family residence.

Yndo will also move a historical home from one block west on Cedar Street, currently behind Bonham Elementary, on to the larger plot.

Site plan rendering. Courtesy Image.
Site plan rendering. Courtesy Image.

The San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) purchased the home with plans to demolish it for an extended playground at the elementary school, only to be notified by the HDRC that its historic status precludes demolition. It does not, however, prevent relocation.

Yndo, SAISD, and community members agreed that if the historical home was moved to the tract of land adjacent to the current San Antonio Children’s Shelter – and future townhouse complex – the project could go forward.

“It saves the home, which everyone is the neighborhood has been concerned about, and it gets it off of the Bonham Elementary property so that they can have a legitimate playground,” Yndo said, a win-win-win.

Yndo said the new units will appeal to older residents who don’t want to manage the upkeep that comes with ownership of a historic home, and younger residents who don’t have the time or patience to tend to a historic home.

“It meets a demand,” he said.

Rendering of the 10-unit building. Courtesy image.
Rendering of the 10-unit building. Courtesy image.

Yndo said he is “completely opposed to” tearing down historic structures.

“Having lived in King William since the mid-’80s I haven’t seen anything, no matter how bad, that can’t be restored and brought back by somebody at some price,” he said.

Although some people think King William might be flooded with these types of apartment-style projects, Yndo said that is not the case.

“The reality is there are very few opportunities like this within King William,” he said. “It’s kind of a one shot deal.”

Rendering of the four-unit building. Courtesy image.
Rendering of the four-unit building. Courtesy image.

This has not been an easy project. Alamo Architects and Yndo’s real estate company have been fine-tuning the project as they gathered feedback and addressed concerns of various organizations and community members. Not all the neighbors welcomed the project.

The King William Neighborhood Association, however, wrote a letter to the HDRC in favor of the project in June.

Yndo said this is the third or fourth HDRC meeting he has attended for the development process.

*Featured/top image: Rendering of the four-unit building. Courtesy image. 

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Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....