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  #41  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:08 PM
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Commission OKs high-rise concept for Planet Hollywood site

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

Scott Huddleston
Express-News

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.


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.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
shuddleston@express-news.net
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  #42  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:09 PM
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After reading the article, i have good feelings about it. If they can design a nice concept this would really get things going, and i hope its the 300 ft one. Build it Up...
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  #43  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:09 PM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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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
Express-News
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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  #44  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:11 PM
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Thats to funny, i beat ya by a mintue. He he, kevin, you can delete my post, so there are not 2 of the same... Thanxs
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  #45  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:18 PM
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Anyone have a stop-watch? Now that approval has been publicly announced, we can see if work has begun in 365 days.

Seriously, I expect really good things from this building. I imagine that an architect has a frustrating/fascinating time trying to design a building that is regal enough to stand next to the Nix (and other historic structures) and modern enough to establish it's own identity and be relevant in the world of 2007.

Very excited.
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  #46  
Old Posted Feb 22, 2007, 3:23 PM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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complex, you are quite humble, but you're faster than me too... i am as slow as a turtle today. i'm gonna go take a nap, and hopefully by the time i wake up there will be a 50 floor tower being announced to build dt. thanks complex... matt williams
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  #47  
Old Posted Feb 23, 2007, 9:03 PM
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I saw this story on the Fox's News at Nine.....this seems to have come out of nowhere and already things are moving pretty quickly.
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  #48  
Old Posted May 20, 2007, 3:08 PM
AndresAndujar AndresAndujar is offline
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300 feet

Fun reading your commentaries about the 300 foot approval on Crocket Street, as well as other threads related to Downtown San Antonio.

Good question about when we will see a project go up at Rio Plaza (Presidio). First, the ownership must conclude legal activities. At that time, they might sell the project to a developer. Whoever controls the site eventually will have to push the 300 foot height to get their money back.

The concept does take the whole site and includes excavation, possibly four stories down, to provide parking. Clearly we have to keep the retail access at River Level, but the biggest challenge for this density is parking.

While we are recommending 0.5 cars per hotel room in the downtown area, parking drives many concerns, particularly if the project goes mixed use with condos. unfortunately in Texas, condos are dificult to sell if we don't provide, generally speaking, one car space per bedroom.

Anyway, since the Rio Plaza announcement, we are now working on several other downtown projects, including the one mentioned on Ninth Street, an aLoft on the 400 block of E Houston Street, an Element at Neisner, the 27 story W at Kress, and River North...

San Antonio is definitely going vertical, despite the complications of getting higher densities.
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  #49  
Old Posted May 20, 2007, 3:22 PM
AndresAndujar AndresAndujar is offline
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The Kress deal is still cooking and is slated for closing on June 1. If all goes well, the developer intends to do a W there. The condos are questionable at this time. Our market is unabalance when we consider cost of construction vs. market comparables... This location would require condo sales in the $400/SF range.
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  #50  
Old Posted May 20, 2007, 6:37 PM
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Angres, you kick major butt! I see you on the news always campagining for more density downtown, I love it! You are a jewel to our city. I can't believe you're actually posting here.
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  #51  
Old Posted May 20, 2007, 6:43 PM
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So a W and Element within a stones throw of each other on Houston St? Wow, tha's going to rock, Houston St is just blowing up, and now you have all this, the Vistana at the west end of Houston Street new clubs opening up (Metro opening between Suede and Zenbar), now the W and Element as well as Hotel Indigo.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 20, 2007, 9:19 PM
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Yes i agree. Keep pushing DownTown to go vertical. There is so much potential. I hope all goes well, keep them coming and welcome...


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  #53  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 4:24 AM
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Wow. A little star-struck here... Welcome to Andres.

Great news on all of the projects, too...
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  #54  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 2:18 PM
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A question to the mods, what happened to my thread on the 27-story W hotel?
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  #55  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 2:30 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Andres, so the Rio Plaza could actually be taller than 300 feet depending what the developers wants to do? 300 feet is just the "make your money back" point, so there could be a 350 foot or 600 foot tower? Also, if the W were to include residences in it, would the height increase or stay the same?
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  #56  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 2:46 PM
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Another question Andres, I am sorry, I'll stop soon. Is there a Four Seasons planned to the River North area or more specifically along the museum reach of the Riverwalk that is currently under construction. I've seen things that say there will be but I am not sure.
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  #57  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 3:11 PM
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Could someone please provide some harder evidence (news articles; press releases) that a Four Seasons and a W are being planned for DT SA? Or are these just rumors/wishful thinking at this point?

I've been trying to follow the growth of DT development projects in SA and have fallen a bit behind. Also, I could not find any indication of a W or Four Seasons proposal on their respective websites. Plus, my friend, who works for Starwood in SA, said she had not heard any internal rumblings of a proposed W at Kress, but she’d keep her ears and eyes open. In fact, she was the one who just over three years ago, told me about Starwood’s plan to put a W in DT Austin.

In any case, this is potentially exciting news. However, I won’t hold my breath until they are “officially announced” by the hotel chains. Developers have a tendency to get a little too excited about a “prospective” tenant. Sometimes, it’s simply mentioned to promote/drum-up interest in their development. But nothing is set-in-stone until there is a signed contract…
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  #58  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 5:26 PM
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The Fourseason was speculation on my part from a rendering I saw. However Four Seasons was discussed I believe as possibly being the tenant for the hotel planned for the RiverCenter Mall renovation, which begins soon. As for the W Hotel, all anyone here has to say is (and I am not trying to be rude) do you know who Andres Andujar is? He is the head of the San Antonio's 3D/I office as well as the leading force behind River North as well as making downtown denser and taller.

There is no harder evidence than Andres and it is an honer having him here posting. I hope he is able to post more often if his schedule allows.
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  #59  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 5:57 PM
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To add to what I said above, Andres said the closing of the W for the Kress parking lot site should be done by June 1st.
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  #60  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 5:59 PM
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^ Ya, having Andres Andujar say it pretty much is on the level as the having the mayor say it. If he says a contract is pending or expected in June or anything of that sort, it's very reliable. He is not a developer as much as an insider who happens to be a lover of DT SA and of urban density in general.
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