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Old Posted Oct 25, 2007, 9:58 PM
SAguy SAguy is offline
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Nostalgic purchase- Aurora Apartments

Nostalgic purchase

Web Posted: 10/24/2007 07:57 PM CDT

Creighton A. Welch
Express-News Business Writer

Mitch Meyer may be just what the Aurora Apartments needs.
After years of neglect and out-of-town ownership, the San Antonio developer has purchased the historic 105-room apartment complex at Cypress and Howard streets.

"I really feel lucky to have gotten this building," Meyer said. "I've just admired it forever."

Completed in 1930, the Aurora used to be San Antonio's premier hotel, where guests enjoyed rooftop views and gothic architecture. That aura eventually faded, which led to the hotel's demise.

It's now an affordable housing unit through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where it serves a purpose, but not the purpose it was built to have.

Eventually, Meyer sees the Tobin Hill, Pearl Brewery and River North neighborhoods all becoming one large urban area, with his Aurora a key part of that small community created by people who want to live in an urban environment and not miles away from town.

An interior in the Aurora Apartments, which still has its orginal plaster and floors.

"People are getting tired of living in their cars," Meyer said.

Meyer purchased the building from California-based Churchill Family Trust in late September.

The trust bought the apartments less than two years ago. Before the California business, a Dallas partnership had owned the Aurora since 1982. In 1982, there was a $2.7 million renovation, but little work has been done since.

Meyer is principal at Loopy Ltd., which owns six office and parking properties on adjacent blocks to the Aurora, according to county records.

Meyer grew up in San Antonio and has developed projects such as the La Cascada condominiums and Hippo's Grocery and Deli.


His local ties seem to give him more drive to revive the Aurora.


"The building is underutilized," Meyer said. "This has a lot of potential."

Meyer hopes to unlock that potential — literally.

An area that used to be a restaurant currently hides behind locked doors.

A 1937 menu found in a scrapbook offers sirloin steak ($1), spring chicken (75 cents), boiled ox tongue (60 cents) and peaches in cream (25 cents).

Meyer has dreams of reviving the restaurant.


The 10th floor could offer a panoramic view of the city. But it's also behind locked doors and is covered with air-conditioning units.

A large hall for elegant parties or dining has old books and bingo boards scattered throughout it.

The apartment complex hasn't been renovated in 25 years, and its colored tile floors yearn to be polished and danced on like at the elegant parties of decades ago. It has wooden phone booths, a carved fireplace and a panoramic rooftop view.

Even without any renovations, it still turns heads.

"There's a wow factor as it is," Meyer said. "People have always been mystified by it."


He said he doesn't know exactly what renovations will take place, but insists that they will give the Aurora the beauty it deserves. Meyer said he will focus on a lot of the little things, such as new elevators, light fixtures and the intricate tile floors.

Despite the underused features, Meyer said there still is a waiting list for rooms. Meyer doesn't know whether the apartments still will be part of HUD.

"It will definitely be residential of some sort," Meyer said, perhaps half hotel and half apartments.

That's what the Aurora was when it first opened, with hotel rooms that rented for $3 to $4 a night, and apartments that came in suites with one to five bedrooms.

Meyer thinks the biggest challenge for his project will be getting approval for the updates.

"I'm sure because it's historic, remodeling will be tough," he said.
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This area is town is going to look really nice. With the repavement of N. Main, new sidewalks being added to Dewey St./N.Main. And streetscape-Palm trees were planted last week. With addition to Luther's restaruant being renovated. Also, San Antonio College recenlty purchase Park One.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 2:04 AM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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i read that earlier today, and i have always thought that if that building were to being renovated into lux apts or somehow brought into the limelight, then that area around SAC and the heat/the saint/silver dollar and so forth would be like a midtown houston or westend dallas sort of area...

it's great to hear he not only has plans for this building but he owns a bunch of the property around it!

i was at the heat the other night and i saw that one main and evergreen they actually have put up palm trees to line the street... it's a great start in refreshing the landscape and the area!
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 3:33 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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That sounds great. This is one of the city's most beautiful structures I think. Great location, right across the street from a park. I would just wish more things would come to the location. I rode my bike over there from the convention center a couple of years ago just to see that building. The area was sort of quiet, but man, I can imagine there would be very nice views of downtown. Just from the ground I could tell the view was nice. And yeah, good to hear he owns the land around it. There's several empty full blocks around there.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 3:50 AM
ScizzoTX ScizzoTX is offline
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Does anyone have a picture of this building? I kind of know the area, but I dont remember what structure this is.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 4:01 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
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Here are some from Emporis. The broad side of the building faces Crocket Park to the east. Downtown is to the south (left) side of the building in those photos.
http://www.emporis.com/en/il/pc/?id=227824&aid=8
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 4:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ScizzoTX View Post
Does anyone have a picture of this building? I kind of know the area, but I dont remember what structure this is.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 6:58 AM
ScizzoTX ScizzoTX is offline
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Thanks for the pics, guys... I always thought that building was part of SAC.

I agree with Kevin - this area of SA has tons of potential. In fact, the enitre area on the near north side all the way to Trinity University and Hildebrand Ave has tons of potential. There are so many beatiful old homes here that are just waiting to be renovated. The enitre neighborhood reminds me alot of the King William area before its reemergence. There are a couple of great dive taco shops in the area that serve some of the best (and greasiest) Mexican food in SA. In fact, the orginial Taco Cabana is nearby.

Once the River North and Pearl Brewery districts start catching on I think alot of people will give this neighborhood the attention it deserves. The area will have so much to offer with Brackenridge Park and the newly expanded riverwalk just to the East... Now if we could only convice the folks out in Stone Oak to forego their 5000 sq/ft KB Home style houses and get excited about living in the city.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 7:14 AM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Originally Posted by ScizzoTX View Post
Thanks for the pics, guys... I always thought that building was part of SAC.

I agree with Kevin - this area of SA has tons of potential. In fact, the enitre area on the near north side all the way to Trinity University and Hildebrand Ave has tons of potential. There are so many beatiful old homes here that are just waiting to be renovated. The enitre neighborhood reminds me alot of the King William area before its reemergence. There are a couple of great dive taco shops in the area that serve some of the best (and greasiest) Mexican food in SA. In fact, the orginial Taco Cabana is nearby.

Once the River North and Pearl Brewery districts start catching on I think alot of people will give this neighborhood the attention it deserves. The area will have so much to offer with Brackenridge Park and the newly expanded riverwalk just to the East... Now if we could only convice the folks out in Stone Oak to forego their 5000 sq/ft KB Home style houses and get excited about living in the city.
That area you mention Scizzo (near north side to Trinity) is already on its way. You have Monte Vista which speaks for itself but you also have the Tobin Hill and Beacon Hill areas also undergoing renovations of the historic homes as well as development of somewhere in the range of 30-40 town homes under construction at this moment, between the two districts.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 7:23 AM
ScizzoTX ScizzoTX is offline
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Good to hear! It's been a while since I've spent alot of time in SA. I'll have to ride a bike around the neighborhood and check it out when I'm in town for Christmas.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 7:26 AM
ScizzoTX ScizzoTX is offline
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Also, where are the Tobin Hill and Beacon Hill neighborhoods?
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2007, 9:37 PM
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matttwentyeight-then that area around SAC and the heat/the saint/silver dollar and so forth would be like a midtown houston or westend dallas sort of area...
San Antonio Gay District is really taking shape. The area will look more like Cedar Spring/Oaklawn in Dallas. And from my understanding, San Antonio College will likely knock down Park One building and start fresh.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2007, 12:14 AM
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Which building is Park One?
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2007, 1:55 AM
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Which building is Park One?

The one next to Luthers across the street from Pegasus.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2007, 2:22 AM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Is this it?



If so, do you know what is planned to replace it?
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2007, 5:46 AM
matttwentyeight matttwentyeight is offline
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San Antonio Gay District is really taking shape. The area will look more like Cedar Spring/Oaklawn in Dallas. And from my understanding, San Antonio College will likely knock down Park One building and start fresh.
yeah, i think cedar springs/oaklawn is a perfect example of what we might expect to come... i know that peter and randy from the heat have a lot of things planned for their space after sac is finished using their parking lots for student parking...
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
sirkingwilliam- Is this it?
Yeah, that's the building.

Quote:
matttwentyeight- i know that peter and randy from the heat have a lot of things planned for their space after sac is finished using their parking lots for student parking...
Hey matttwentyeight, do you know who much of Luther's parking lot is being used by SAC?
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