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Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:09 PM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 372
ok y'all, back on target! the 300 is a most-likely go and read about the "let's do it, let's rehab downtown." it's about time.

Commission OKs high-rise concept for Planet Hollywood site

Web Posted: 02/21/2007 11:36 PM CST

Scott Huddleston
The city's Historic and Design Review Commission gave conceptual approval to a 300-foot high-rise that could replace the downtown complex that once housed Planet Hollywood.
The four-story Rio Plaza, formerly called Presidio Plaza, functions well at the River Walk level as a dining and retail complex, and is a "handsome building," Andrés Andújar, architecture leader with 3D/I, told the commission on Wednesday.

But it's uninviting to visitors, with a parking lot facing Commerce Street, and isn't performing well at street level or above. Working with the owner, Rio Plaza LP, 3D/I has studied designs for a hotel-condo complex that would stand 165 feet, 200 feet or 300 feet high.

Because of the high cost of land in what Andújar called "the golden street" — an area along Crockett Street that fetches high prices downtown — the owner wants to focus on a height of 300 feet to give the building the density it needs to be cost-effective, he said.

"No matter what you do, this is going to be an expensive property," Andújar said.

On the Web
• Historic and Design Review Commission
• Nix Health Care System

Commission members raised concerns about aesthetics from street level, but gave their blessing to the concept.

"I'm supportive of the 300-foot project that I think really speaks to the future," said Xavier Gonzalez, commission chairman.

The building would be catty-corner from the Nix Hospital, which has 24 floors and is about 375 feet tall. It would be U-shaped on lower floors, which would have hotel, retail and meeting space, and an L-shape on upper floors used as condos.

It's been 11 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger and fellow shareholders Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and other celebrities converged on San Antonio to open their Planet Hollywood restaurant during a star-studded NBA All-Star weekend. Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Chuck Norris, Jimmy Smits, George Clooney and Luke Perry also were on hand.

But the flash wore off over time, and Planet Hollywood quietly closed in late 2001.

Andújar said he hopes to help revive the site with a design that complements the downtown skyline and the River Walk. Although underground parking could be used for condo residents, finding off-site parking for hotel guests will be a major issue, he said.

Commission members nonetheless were heartened.

"Let's go do it. Let's rehab downtown," member Mark Wohlfarth said.

The commission also gave final approval for demolition of the longstanding Los Apaches Café, which is next to the Spanish Governor's Palace, built in 1722, to allow for construction of Marti's, an arts, crafts and jewelry store similar to one in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

An early concern about the store was its two-story design, next to the Governor's Palace, a historic site that's open to the public. Members felt tall trees on the north side of the palace would screen the view of the store.

The store, however, must come up with a new exterior color scheme, since the city's historic preservation staff rejected a proposed shade of "antique rose." Members have said a faded shade of pink, green or sand color might be suitable next to the Governor's Palace, which is white.
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