Completing a major land deal that’s been in the works since last October, the San Antonio Independent School District voted Tuesday night to sell roughly five acres of district property just south of Hemisfair to the developer of the Pearl for $14.5 million.
Board documents identify Broadway SA Investors GP LLC as the best bid of five offers submitted. Broadway SA Investors is the real estate arm of Silver Ventures, which redeveloped the Pearl Brewery.
Silver Ventures Managing Director of Real Estate Bill Shown said he isn’t yet sure exactly how the land will be used, but that it was attractive because of the “great, historic buildings” on the property.
“We have no idea, and that is an honest answer,” he told the Rivard Report. “We just see it as a great gateway into Southtown and King William.”
The four tracts of land being sold are located at 620 Matagorda St., 211 Lavaca St., 215 Lavaca St., and 141 Lavaca St., and are grouped into two lots with two different zoning designations. One tract contains 0.79 acres and is zoned for residential-mixed use. The second contains 3.95 acres and is zoned for office use. Both tracts, across the street from Hemisfair’s Yanaguana Garden also have historic zoning requirements.
Other bids were submitted by Greystar Acquisitions for $14.1 million, York Acquisitions for $13 million, PPC Land Ventures for $9.1 million, and LG Acquisitions for $6.2 million.
Greystar is a real estate developer that has focused on multifamily developments in the past and York is a partner of Aspen Heights, which has primarily constructed student housing.
In its interview with SAISD, Broadway SA Investors said it expects to restore both historic buildings on the property to fit the neighborhood and whatever project is developed, according to district documents.
SAISD Trustee Steve Lecholop called Broadway SA Investors “a local company with a proven track record of thoughtfully and deliberately slowly developing historic properties in San Antonio’s urban core in a way that respects history and the surrounding neighborhood.”
“They know San Antonio and they are willing to work and actively engage the neighborhood,” he said.
A district presentation noted that the principal partner for Broadway SA Investors, Shown, lives two blocks away from the site and is aware of the need to work with the neighborhood. Shown is also on the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation board of directors and has experience in the area.
One lot being sold is zoned for residential use. Broadway SA Investors said it would either develop homes on this lot to fit the neighborhood or partner with or sell to a home developer to do the same.
On the other, larger lot zoned for office use, Broadway SA Investors said it expects to build a multipurpose development at the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Alamo Street and wants to create a special entrance to the Southtown neighborhood.
SAISD Board President Patti Radle said there were a number of reasons why Broadway SA Investors’ offer was the most attractive.
“It was financially, the most money, the largest bid, but also it is a group of people that have a good reputation for dealing with community and neighbors and restoring and maintaining historic structures,” she said.
The agreement that the trustees approved allows SAISD to continue using the properties for as long as 28 months from the closing date, with a annual rent payment of $100.
The money SAISD receives from the sale will go toward the construction of a consolidated central office facility.
Kamal ElHabr, SAISD’s associate superintendent of facilities planning and construction, said plans for a new facility are still under development, and there are several options for how the district may proceed.
Its new office space will be big enough to accommodate roughly 625 employees, ElHabr said. The money from the Lavaca sale along with money from the sale of previous properties at Alamo and Austin streets and a food service warehouse will fund the building of this new facility.
While not yet approved, the new facility will likely be placed on one of the Fox Tech High School athletic fields. ElHabr said the high school doesn’t currently use the adjacent baseball or football field.
The 28-month leasing period will allow the district time to construct this office.
District spokeswoman Leslie Price said the board will discuss future plans for a central office in four to six weeks.
Lecholop said the district’s staff operates in “old, closed school buildings” at different locations across the district. He said having one consolidated base for district employees would save SAISD roughly $2 million in operational costs per year.