With help from local officials behind the controls of giant excavators, developer Weston Urban broke ground Thursday for a soaring residential tower in the heart of the downtown business district.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff turned the ceremonial dirt to kick off a project the developer calls 300 Main, a 354-unit high-rise and six-level parking garage at North Main Avenue and East Travis Street.
Set to be completed in spring 2024, the tower will span 32 stories, taller than the neighboring 24-story Frost Tower, making it one of the tallest structures in downtown San Antonio.
Already, construction teams and heavy equipment are at work on the narrow 1-acre parcel of land formerly used as a parking lot.
Randy Smith, CEO and co-founder of Weston Urban said the event was a celebration of what is to come. “And that is that in two years’ time, a hot, soulless asphalt parking lot … will transform — by the work of a lot of great San Antonians— into 32 stories of beauty and progress and, really, homes,” he said.
In addition to housing, the tower will offer 6,275-square-feet of ground-floor retail space and a 25th-floor lounge with unobstructed views.
The Class AA apartments averaging 924 square feet will be leased at market rates.
The project was awarded $7.5 million in Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP) incentives to include a 15-year local tax rebate.
The terms of the incentives agreement call for the developer to contribute almost $2.2 million to the Affordable Housing Fund.
Nirenberg said the tower sends a “clear signal” that San Antonio is moving in the right direction.
“Investments we all know in downtown are a vote of confidence in our entire city and the growing demand for living space in the city’s core speaks volumes about the high quality of downtown living that we expect in our city,” he said. “It’s a type of asset that attracts employers and employees to the urban core and, most importantly, more living units help address the housing demand that extends across the entire city.”
The general contractor for 300 Main, designed by Austin-based architecture firm Page, is Rogers-O’Brien Construction. The estimated cost of construction is $107 million.
Smith said development projects like 300 Main are less common in downtown San Antonio than in the suburbs because of site constraints in the urban core and the archaeological work that is required in a city that’s over 300 years old.
“And, honestly, while the world is awash in capital, San Antonio is not,” he said. Such projects are not easy to finance at a time when there are many other cities further along in their development and more attractive to investors.
Also on Thursday, Weston Urban announced a new ground-floor food and beverage tenant will open in May in the Rand Building, 114 E. Houston St.
The restaurant, Double Standard, will feature American tavern fare and is the creation of the Empty Stomach Group which operates Barbaro, Little Death, Hot Joy and other San Antonio restaurants.
In early 2023, a Chick-fil-A restaurant with dine-in and a drive-through service also will open in the Rand, at 110 E. Houston St.
Weston Urban co-founder Graham Weston is a financial supporter of the San Antonio Report through his 80/20 Foundation. For a full list of business members and supporting foundations, click here.