A Wimberley-based firm wants to build a 12-story luxury apartment tower on what is now a surface parking lot on the edge of Southtown, according to Tim Proctor, manager of Laney Development.

The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission will consider the proposed 75-unit tower, which would include two townhomes and three live-work spaces, at its meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The lot is located at 421 S. Presa St. one block west of Hemisfair’s Yanaguana Garden and its eventual office and housing projects, across South St. Mary’s Street from the 349-unit Agave Apartments, one block east of the River Walk, and in walking distance to the King William Historic District and H-E-B’s South Flores Market.

“The traffic patterns are beautiful here,” Proctor told the Rivard Report, noting the walkability and bike infrastructure of nearby neighborhoods.

What will set the Durango Apartments apart from other housing projects, he said, is higher quality construction, less density, and a more “residential feel.”

Vincent Michael, executive director of the San Antonio Conservation Society, agreed that the project seemed “more high quality in terms of [construction] and design.”

Compared to other projects he has seen go before HDRC, Michael said, this building seems to have been designed with more attention to how it interacts with the pedestrian environment.

This rendering of the Durango Apartments illustrates the ground floor retail and green, living walls proposed by the developers for 421 S. Presa St.
This rendering of the Durango Apartments proposed for 421 S. Presa St. illustrates the ground floor retail and green, living walls proposed by the developers. Credit: Courtesy / Laney Development

The developers plan to add more shade to the busy intersection of East César E. Chávez Boulevard and South St. Mary’s Street, Proctor said. “It’s a very hot intersection, temperature-wise” and they plan on installing green, living walls facing the busy streets.

The Conservation Society’s office is located across that intersection from the property. It has a keen interest in not only this property, but “we have a general care for the city,” Michael said, adding that projects like this add to the economic viability of the surrounding businesses – at La Villita, in Southtown, and in Hemisfair.

The lowest rent will be about $1,400 and the highest $5,000, which Proctor said works out to just less than $3 per square foot on average, one of the highest price points in San Antonio. Amenities include a parking garage on the second and third floors, a dog run, a green roof, and large terraces. The garage entrance will be off of South Presa Street.

The surface parking lot at 421 S. Presa St.
The surface parking lot at 421 S. Presa St. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The ground floor schematics include 1,461 square feet for retail space such as a coffee and/or sandwich shop, Proctor said. “I’m going around to some of the local coffee shops trying to figure out who could fit there.”

Members of the King William Association met with Durango Apartment developers Monday night. Though the association has no authority over the proceedings, its architectural advisory committee voiced support for the conceptual plans.

“It was done in a sensitive way,” said Chris Price, the association’s president. “I think the other thing that appealed to the committee was the fact that it was mixed-use. It wasn’t just strictly an apartment complex, but included some live-work space and some commercial space.”

As for tenants, Proctor said, he expects retirees to be interested in the apartments, along with professionals who work downtown. For someone looking to downsize from a large home in King William, he added, these apartments might be a viable option. Unit sizes vary from 537 square feet to 2,102 square feet.

The 12th floor will have a green roof that covers about half of the surface area. This and other green infrastructure and low-impact development features like the green ground-floor walls earned the project a $100,000 grant from the San Antonio River Authority, Proctor said.

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. Contact her at iris@sareport.org