Samuels Glass Co. is located at 221 Newell Ave.
Samuels Glass Co. is located at 221 Newell Ave. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The City’s Zoning Commission cleared the way this week for Pearl developer Silver Ventures to turn parcels of land where the old Fox Motel and a former glass manufacturing plant once operated into high-density commercial and residential developments.

The nearly eight acres have been rezoned to become an “infill development zone” and allow greater flexibility in developing commercial ventures, multi-family housing, hotels, and even allows for brewery operations near the Museum Reach stretch of the River Walk.

City staff recommended approval of the zoning change and the zoning commission approved the request Tuesday. It will go before City Council for final approval Oct. 4.

Construction is already under way on an apartment building just south of the Pearl along Newell Avenue. Last fall, Bill Shown, managing director of real estate for Silver Ventures, told the Rivard Report that development of Brewery South would bring a 223-unit apartment complex to that area, and “the best bat watching in the city.”

But his team was still considering final uses for the Samuels Glass Co. plant purchased in 2015, and the nearby vacant lots to the west. “We are just starting to dream. We had a great visioning session a month ago, and some really cool ideas came out … ,” Shown said. “The one thing that is intriguing is that it looks like we will reuse the Samuels building rather than remove it, because it really has some great potential.”

Because the property also lies within the River Improvement Overlay (RIO-2), any demolition or new construction would require approval from the Office of Historic Preservation and Historic and Design Review Commission.

This map shows the location of the zoning case notification plan.
This map shows the location of the zoning case notification plan. Credit: Courtesy / City of San Antonio

“One thing is for sure, as a group, we are not conventional thinkers, so whatever comes out of this, it will probably be very interesting and very unconventional,” Shown said.

On Wednesday, he said in an email that they are “still in early predevelopment planning (and dreaming) phases and there’s nothing concrete to report yet.”

Both the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Water System have provided millions of dollars in incentives, grants, and fee waivers, for residential development at the Pearl, which began drawing greater development to the area in recent years. Silver Ventures also partnered with the City on a drainage project along the Broadway corridor.

In May, the City’s Board of Adjustment gave developer GrayStreet Partners the go-ahead to build a 20-story mixed-use tower near the Pearl at Broadway Street and Newell.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.