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Old Posted Feb 3, 2007, 3:19 PM
SAguy SAguy is online now
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Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk to open soon

Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk to open soon

Melissa S. Monroe
Express -News Business Writer

In the 1920s, the Alamo National Building was a bustling 24-story bank that filled the San Antonio skyline.

Tellers behind brass-lined windows in the bank's lobby helped customers and people used walk-in phone booths carved into the walls.


Owner Rick Drury stands in front of the new Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk.


After a series of banks were housed in the historic building, Drury Hotels has turned the site that opened in 1929 into the Drury Plaza San Antonio Riverwalk — a modern 306-room hotel overlooking the River Walk. The hotel could open to guests as early as next week.

Visitors will still see and feel the nostalgia of the building in spite of the contemporary look. The check-in area still resembles teller windows and the phone booth doors now lead to meeting rooms.

Other oddities include a vault turned into an employee break room, with the gigantic safe still on the entrance to the room. In two rooms, spiral staircases that were used in the 1920s were taken from the basement and now lead guests up to another room.

"We've done everything we can to take the building back to its original state," said Drury Hotels Director Rick Drury. "We looked at old documents and talked to a lot of people about its history. Even the chandeliers are the original chandeliers."

This spring, the hotel company is planning to relight the weather spire on top of the building that used colors to let San Antonians know if the temperature was rising or falling.

For Drury Hotels, which has offices here and in St. Louis, this hotel is considered a flagship property. It will have the most rooms of any of its properties and the most meeting space at 12,000 square feet.

Another 60 to 65 rooms are being added in phase two of the project, which will be completed this year. The new hotel also boasts having the highest swimming pool in San Antonio — on the rooftop of the 24-story building.

Unlike most hotel projects that use outside contractors, the Drury has renovated the building mostly on its own. Its development company did much of the construction work, and Drury also took on extending 850 feet of the walkway near South St. Mary's Street that will connect the River Walk in one continuous loop. Also, most of the hotel's furniture is coming from its own plant in Missouri.

The hotel will lease spaces at the River Walk level to two restaurants that haven't been named yet. Rick Drury said he hopes the restaurants will open by year's end.

Greg Gallaspy, director of the Paseo del Rio Association, said the hotel company has gone "above and beyond" in building this hotel.

"There's not anyone who's taken a project like this and really refurbished it to this magnitude, which includes the River Walk," Gallaspy said. "They have realigned some of the old features, while presenting newer technology. It's a compliment to the Drury family."
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Anyone have any pix of the weather spire looked lit?
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 1:18 AM
sanantoniorocks21 sanantoniorocks21 is offline
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Wow, the weather spire thing sounds really cool. Kinda makes me think of something that would be in a comic book, or the old serials
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 1:54 AM
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^ I looked for a photo of it. I didn't find anything with Google. I thought I had seen one in a little booklet about the Tower of the Americas I have. It shows the building around in 1967 in a black & white photo, but it doesn't show it being lit.

I'm really glad to hear that they're doing a good job on restoring the Alamo National Building.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 1:58 AM
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The Palmolive Building in Chicago has a similar spire which used to be used as a weather spire. It stayed lit up until just a few years ago when residents of nearby towers complained about the light.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 6:10 PM
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The old John Hancock Tower in Boston's Back Bay has a weather spire. There's a little poem about it too to let people know what the colors mean...

Solid Blue,Beautiful Day is Due
Blinking Blue, Clouds in View

Blinking Red, Rain Ahead
Solid Red, Snow Instead!
(unless it's summer and then solid red means Red Sox game is cancelled)
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2007, 6:34 PM
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There's one here in portland that's pretty nice... but really simple.
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 2:48 AM
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Any pix or web link?
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  #8  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:01 AM
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Well its nice, that they turned the building into something useful, and connected the river. Now you can "Walk" all the way around it...
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 5:23 AM
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It's a nice old building. Glad to hear they're keeping the feel of it. The rooftop pool is a nice touch too.
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  #10  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2007, 6:33 AM
michobq michobq is offline
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Ta-Da!



I am assuming the weather spire is the thing sticking out of the top. Will be nice to see it lighted up and how it illuminates the current skyline lights.
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