The Rose Ln Lofts transformation Credit: Morgan Brooks Photography

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Sometimes secrets are maybe a little too well kept. That’s definitely what I thought the first time I drove down Rose Lane, a quiet cross street that runs into North St. Mary’s Street, right next to Demo Greek Food. The rundown house I pulled up next to seemed almost totally forgotten. It had missed its last 20 coats of paint, the porch had long fallen off the front, and trash and old tires littered the large yard.

I work in real estate and have renovated dozens of old homes, but this… this was bad. There’s a phrase often used in the industry, “highest and best use,” which basically means matching a piece of property with the perfect spot of enjoyment and contribution in the current market conditions.

This practically abandoned home was definitely not it. Perhaps it was time for something totally new to grace this parcel on Rose Lane. After a few months of work, the property was purchased, the land cleaned up, and I could actually walk the lot without fear of stepping on broken glass or old nails.

I wanted this project on Rose Lane to have a few things:

  1. High-quality design with custom finishes (no builder grade Home Depot stuff here).
  2. Multiple price points so people with different income levels could call this project home.
  3. Large outdoor living spaces.
  4. Flexible interior spaces to accommodate buyers at different stages of life (from single, to friend with roommates, to family with kids).
  5. Finally, there had to be unique architecture that would bring something fun and different to the area.

A bit of a tall order, but nobody gets into urban real estate because they like “simple” or “predictable.” After a few more months of work and planning, we began excavation in preparation for pouring the foundations of our structures. We had settled on plans that had two unit sizes – larger, almost 2,000 square-foot units and smaller 1,400 square-foot units. Each had large open living areas with a unique “waterfall” countertop/table design on the islands. A half bathroom for guests was just off the living area, and we created multiple outdoor spaces, office nooks for working at home, a media/game room/lounge for the master, and of course, a rooftop deck with a sweeping view of St. Mary’s and The Pearl.

Each unit was also designed to have a small yard. We wanted to create the “lock and leave” urban lifestyle, but you still need a place to let out your little furry friends! Gradually, the Rose Ln Lofts started to take shape.

When a home is being built there are always a few super exciting moments in the construction process – when the foundation is poured, when framing is complete, when the drywall is hung, when the kitchen cabinets go in, and, of course, the moment the lights come on, the construction crews leave, and you’re left with a new space ready to be filled with memories.

At each step of the way Rose Lane didn’t disappoint, and now that the project is complete all the work over the last year was totally worth it. I snuck up to the rooftop deck the other evening. At 30 feet in the air, you pretty much always have a cool breeze (really helpful during Texas summers!). I leaned against the railing and looked out over this area that I love working in and calling home.

While building and remodeling homes is always an adventure and finding deals is exciting, I try to always take a few minutes to remember what happens when I exit the scene. That’s when the play really gets started for a new family in a new home. The summation of these homes and these families is what people react to when they talk about loving San Antonio.

Sure the Alamo is great, and the River Walk is fun, but you’ll spend a lot more time on your porch, or in your kitchen, just living life and working on building your future and legacy. Sorry, Rose Lane, you won’t be quite as sleepy anymore, but you’ll have four new residents that are excited about their new urban lives and getting to walk to their favorite neighborhood restaurant or bar. Perhaps a proposal will happen on the rooftop, a new exciting business venture will be plotted, or someone will just get to enjoy their little slice of downtown.

I love the small role I get to play in creating spaces that people love coming home to and waking up in, welcome San Antonio to your newest urban community – the Rose Ln Lofts!

Interested in seeing the rooftop in person? Come by on Monday, Sept. 7, from 2-6 p.m. More details, pictures, and videos can be found here.

Christopher Gill

Christopher Gill

Christopher is the co-founder of Center City and a proud San Antonio native! A longtime Southtown resident, his company develops custom & spec urban projects all over downtown. Learn more at: www.centercitysa.com