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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 2:54 PM
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Piazza San Lorenzo Closer to Construction in DT SA

Piazza San Lorenzo closer to construction

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business...t.24a0b95.html

A luxury condominium project slated for the River Walk is close to finalizing an $80 million loan to start construction.

RTK Development Group could begin construction on Piazza San Lorenzo this spring, once the company closes on the loan.

The eight-story riverside condo tower's 28 units will start at $635,000 for about 1,400 square feet. A three-story penthouse will cost more than $7 million.
About 20 percent of the units have been reserved, according to a release from John R. Kazanjian, managing director of RTK Resort Group.

The development, between Houston and Soledad streets downtown, is expected to include some 17,000 square feet of river-level retail shops and restaurants and about another 30,000 square feet of retail at the street level.

Piazza San Lorenzo plans also include about 47 separate luxury time-share condo units, which are expected to sell for about $140,000 for a two-bedroom, $195,000 for a three-bedroom and $280,000 for a four-bedroom. Buyers would get a one-tenth-share interest in the property and pay annual fees of $6,500, $7,500 or $9,000, depending on the unit.

Rachel Stone
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 3:41 PM
elmariachi elmariachi is offline
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It's about time. I've been looking forward to this project for a long time. I wonder if they have changed the design.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 4:06 PM
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I cannot wait to see the work begin on Soledad, in particular.

The Solo Serve building needs to go.

Also, with the work underway on the hotel site (18 stories, I think?) between the Holiday Inn and Drury Suites on St. Mary's, that stretch of the river (near Hotel Valencia @ Houston St.) is going to begin to wake up a little bit.

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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 8:58 PM
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I thought it was going to be taller at 10 or 12 stories???





p.s. Hi from Philly. I am on the 17th floor, and my view suxs. I am looking away from downtown...
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2007, 11:53 PM
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I believe there are three different towers with the tallest being 12 stories.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 12:15 AM
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Really? Three towers? Where did you hear about that? Is there an article on it? If so, then I need to add those other two buildings to Emporis.

$7 million for the penthouse.
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 12:28 AM
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This thing has been beatin around the bush forever now! When did they first announce it? The way things have been going i won't believe anything till i see foundation work.

Also off topic but speakin of that 18 story courtyard...When is that supposed to be completed? I've been waiting to see a crane go up there for a couple months now...I know the demo..was going on like 3 months ago...but i really dont drive through there much..
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  #8  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 12:37 AM
sarocks14 sarocks14 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 21bl0wed View Post
This thing has been beatin around the bush forever now! When did they first announce it? The way things have been going i won't believe anything till i see foundation work.

Also off topic but speakin of that 18 story courtyard...When is that supposed to be completed? I've been waiting to see a crane go up there for a couple months now...I know the demo..was going on like 3 months ago...but i really dont drive through there much..
I caught a glimpse of it as I drove by, looks like the demo is complete
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 1:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 21bl0wed View Post
This thing has been beatin around the bush forever now! When did they first announce it?
I believe it was first announced in 2005. I had the original start date for the building set to 2005 at Emporis. So it must have been around there. That's normal actually to have buildings go through a 2 year process of being announced, planned, approved and then built. Infact there's atleast one building in Austin that is finally under construction that has existed in one form or another since the late 80s and another one that was first announced in 2000 which still has yet to breakground. I've learned to be patient with projects and take what you get when you get them and hope for the rest.
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  #10  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2007, 6:18 PM
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it was actually first announced in 1999... because as sad as it sounds that is when i was in middle school and britney spears was in the papers at the same time.

it really has seemed like forever.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2007, 7:15 AM
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Developer keeps history at the forefront of River Walk condo project

Web Posted: 04/06/2007 12:57 AM CDT

Rachel Stone
Express-News Business Writer

Architect Larry Raba likes to keep an eye on the downtown property that he envisions as the jewel of his career.
His family-run companies leased offices on the seventh floor of an adjacent building so employees and clients could overlook the site of their main project — Piazza San Lorenzo.


Raba, who heads up Raba Design Group and RTK Development Inc., can talk all day about the mixed-use project, which involves restoring, renovating and demolishing old buildings to create luxury condos as well as shops, restaurants, offices and what the company describes as the "west entrance to the River Walk."

But before he gets down to sticks and bricks, the third-generation San Antonio native talks about the site's history.

It currently has five buildings: the Book Building, three Clegg Co. buildings and one Solo Serve Corp. building. Raba acquired them two years ago for $10 million.

The buildings are on the site that used to be the Veramendi Palace, which was home to Texas and Coahuila governor Juan Martín de Veramendi. It was here that Jim Bowie married a wealthy merchant's daughter in 1831 and where Texas revolutionary Ben Milam dropped dead from a sniper's bullet in 1835.


The palace was demolished in 1910.

The doors of the palace are on display at the Alamo. But on Soledad, "there are no physical remnants," Raba said.

So Piazza San Lorenzo will include Veramendi Court, with artwork to commemorate the Veramendi family and the Texas Revolution.

Raba and his staff drew from designer Robert H. H. Hugman's original plans for the River Walk. Hugman had envisioned a street-level retail complex centering on a maze of tranquil courtyards.

His original plans were never put in place, and flooding issues prevented development of the river level on that portion of the River Walk — near Mexican Manhattan restaurant — until a flood-control tunnel was built about 10 years ago.

Now Raba would like to create Hugman's complex idea on the river.

"We're basically doing the same thing, but at river level," Raba said. "The concept goes back to 1929."

A wall made in the 1950s from stone rubble collected from buildings demolished on the site will be re-used as sections of the project's façade.

"We're not going to clean them. We want to preserve all that patina," Raba said. "We want it to look like it's been there for 100 years."

The company is negotiating with banks now for constructions loans and expects to close on one soon. If construction starts in August as planned, the project will be completed in the fall of 2009.

The plan calls for demolishing the old Solo Serve building and most of the Clegg buildings — two of the Clegg's Soledad-facing facades will be restored. The Book Building at 140 E. Houston will get an exterior restoration and interior renovation — it will become a street-level restaurant space with offices above.

In all, the complex will include three restaurants, 28 for-sale condos and 41 upscale timeshare units, which the company calls a private residence club.

All that will center on the 16,000-square-foot courtyard — the Piazza San Lorenzo — with steps leading to the River Walk. The courtyard, with its illuminated obelisk of Mexican onyx, will stay open to the public until 11 p.m., and it will be available two days a month for public events such as charity fundraisers.

The development's buildings will range from two stories to 11 stories.

Prices for the full-ownership condos start at $630,000 for a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom unit comprising 1,375 square feet with a 287-square-foot terrace. The high end starts at more than $2 million for three bedrooms and three and a half baths. And at $7.1 million, the three-story penthouse could be one of the city's most expensive residences ever, with 6,700 square feet of living space and a 1,400-square-foot terrace.

Raba expects the project to cost $80 million to build, though, which means that even with such hefty price tags for the condos, the funding still would fall short.

So Raba came up with the idea of selling 10 percent shares to 41 "residence club" condos, or timeshares.

The residence club units start at $152,500 for two bedrooms and top out at $294,000 for a four-bedroom. Buyers also pay annual assessments of $6,500, $7,500 and $9,000, depending on the unit, which pay for property taxes, insurance, maintenance, housekeeping and other services.

All together, the company could sell 410 shares.

Buyers of the timeshares could use the property every day of the year, subject to availability. But they can book up to two weeks solid every six months.

Raba expects that at least 40 percent of the residence club buyers will come from Mexico, but they've had calls from Sacramento to Singapore.

They're wealthy buyers who want a vacation home but don't want the hassle of caring for it, Raba said.

Perks included in the timeshare fees — and available a la carte for full-time residents — run the gamut from valet parking, an onsite gym, and even the use of a personal chef for dinner parties and call-ahead refrigerator stocking.

The staff even will put out personal belongings, including family photos, before owners arrive.

"We've got our hearts and souls in it," Raba said.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by matttwentyeight View Post
it was actually first announced in 1999... because as sad as it sounds that is when i was in middle school and britney spears was in the papers at the same time.

it really has seemed like forever.
LOL... back when Britney was known for...gasp... her music. Now she's just famous for being famous. Britney chops off her hair... oops, she did it again.

Anyway, good to hear bout this project... better late than never.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2007, 5:21 AM
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Originally Posted by matttwentyeight View Post
it was actually first announced in 1999... because as sad as it sounds that is when i was in middle school and britney spears was in the papers at the same time.
I don't think it existed as Piazza San Lorenzo that far back. They may have announced some plans for the site (related to the Houston Street redevelopment), but I recall the announcement coming after the Valencia Hotel first opened in 2003. That would put it around 2003 to 2004.

We stayed at the Valencia in March 2003 to see the NCAA regionals when Texas won. The UConn basketaball team also stayed at the Valencia. It was after that when I remember talking to a friend about how the hotel and Houston St. had brought life to that end of the river and we talked about this project (as just proposed).
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2007, 5:32 AM
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Like Kornbread said, it couldn't have been that far back as Raba hadn't even had ownership of the Book Building until 2004/2005. He also hadn't bought another piece of the property until 2005.

Also, the domain name piazzasanlorenzo.com was created in 2003. So like Korn said, 2003 was probably the earlist he project was announced.
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