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Old Posted Oct 12, 2007, 2:11 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is online now
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SA: 16-Story Embassy Suite Houston Street Update

I believe many locals have known about this for a little while, now there is an update on the Embassy Suites on Houston Street.


http://sanantonio.bizjournals.com/sa...15/story7.html

Nearly a year and a half after the city's Historic Design & Review Commission gave developers of a planned downtown high-rise hotel conceptual approval, the proposed site remains a parking lot.

City officials say the project may have recently cleared an important hurdle -- a land swap that allows the city to provide increased public access to the River Walk from the site. However, principal developer Jack Guenther will say little about the status of the planned hotel.

The proposed hotel site is a parcel of real estate bordered by Houston Street to the south and Travis Street to the north. To the east is the San Antonio River and to the west is Soledad Street.

Preliminary plans, according to information obtained from the city's Historic Preservation office, show a hotel that would rise approximately 16 stories high and fly the Embassy Suites flag.


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On the subject of Houston Street, there is a website with many details on H-Street.

www.hstreetsa.com

Very cool, very informative.
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2007, 2:48 PM
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I hope they give it a nice design. SA could use one after the great wall of Hyatt.
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Old Posted Oct 12, 2007, 3:18 PM
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How many stories is that AT&T building next door? I was hoping for something taller in that area, but oh well. Better than nothing.
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Old Posted Oct 12, 2007, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
JACKinNYC- I hope they give it a nice design. SA could use one after the great wall of Hyatt.
From- San Antonio Business Journal

McGlone adds, "They (developers) came in with a cookie-cutter design and worked to create something more. The (current) design is good for the river."

McGlone does say this is an important project and an important piece of downtown real estate.

"It would enliven the streetscape," she says. "We are anxious for this to get built."
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Two more hotels in the works-

San Antonio Business Journal


Naik's group has already acquired the Neisner Building at 409 E. Houston St. Alamo City Hotels plans to redevelop the 64,000-square-foot structure into a TownePlace Suites hotel, a Marriott brand.

The third planned project calls for a transformation of the South Texas Building -- a 12-story structure dating back to 1919 -- into a 100-120-room hotel.
The South Texas Building is located at the corner of East Houston and Navarro streets. No brand had yet been confirmed for that project
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2007, 12:12 AM
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Should add some density, but then we could forget about an AT&T tower going up on that site.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2007, 1:53 AM
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Here's to hoping they adopt a design as nice as the Embassy Suites slated for downtown Houston.

By the way, San Antonio kicks butt in the area of redeveloping old buildings and reusing them. The South Texas Building is a gem. Great to to hear it'll be turned into a hotel. That should be good for the area. Say what you will about some of the designs going up in San Antonio, but their work towards restoring and reusing old buildings earns them points in my book. I like the idea of reusing a building which has history in the city, and architectural beauty, then to tear it down and replace it with something that will likely be cheaper in many aspects.
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Old Posted Oct 13, 2007, 4:30 AM
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I guess they abandoned plans to upgrade the South Texas Building to "Class A" office space.
http://www.baruchproperties.com/Prop...Bldg/index.asp

Which probably means not to expect any office space going up in downtown any time soon.

Also, Wasn't the Neisner building supposed to be residential? Could it be that a demand for rooms is still considered strong despite all the rooms that are becoming available (embassy suites included), or is demand for downtown residential is not so strong?
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  #8  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2007, 4:39 AM
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Here's a link to the full story: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanantoni...1200%5E1528017

Friday, September 28, 2007
Three more hotels eyed for downtown
Plans could boost Houston Street revitalization
San Antonio Business Journal - by W. Scott Bailey and Tricia Lynn Silva

For years, city officials, civic boosters and developers have hoped an influx of more local pedestrian traffic could support efforts to revitalize Houston Street, one of San Antonio's most historically significant downtown corridors.

But as that effort has proven to be a logistical and geographical challenge, Houston Street supporters are now hoping that plans to develop more hotel properties along the corridor could generate the activity necessary to propel and sustain those revitalization efforts.

Those plans are being pursued by a local hotel development group called Alamo City Hotels, which is seeking to develop up to three new projects along Houston Street.

Alamo City Hotels, which also does business as Serene Lodging Inc., bills itself as "one of the fastest growing, privately owned hotel companies in the region." The company owns and operates more than $100 million worth of assets -- including nearly a dozen San Antonio hotel properties.

Nick Naik, president of Alamo City Hotels, is working with city officials to try and gain approval to convert a piece of real estate in the 400 block of East Houston Street into a new multi-story upscale hotel. Preliminary plans call for Alamo City Hotels to develop a ground-up project that could ultimately fly the Aloft flag or a similar brand.

Aloft is one of the newer high-end hotel brands launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Naik's group has already acquired the Neisner Building at 409 E. Houston St.

Alamo City Hotels plans to redevelop the 64,000-square-foot structure into a TownePlace Suites hotel, a Marriott brand.

Naik says the downtown TownePlace will be a "one-of-a-kind" property. It is expected to open by December 2008.

Washington, D.C.-based Marriott defines TownePlace as "more residential community than hotel."

Naik's firm has plans for a third new hotel on Houston Street. That hotel would be located at the corner of East Houston and Navarro streets, in the South Texas Building.

Naik says Alamo City Hotels plans to transform the 12-story structure, built in 1919, into a 100-120-room hotel. No brand has yet been confirmed for that property.

Naik did not reveal project costs or financing plans for the hotels.

Warm bodies
Naik's plans come as welcome news to those who have long waited for a Houston Street comeback -- including some who were originally hopeful that residential development would be the cornerstone of such a revitalization.

One of the main things the hotel development could bring to Houston Street, which is sorely lacking at present, is more of a 24-hour lifestyle. Ben Brewer, president of the Downtown San Antonio Alliance, says the projects could indeed spark some important momentum.

"I'd like to see more residential," Brewer says. "But it's tough to make the numbers work. The hotel rooms will add traffic."

Naik's planned projects could help clean up some image problems, too.

"Filling up (underutilized) buildings helps improve perceptions," Brewer explains. "As we fill up the buildings, there will begin to be a buzz."

Greg Gallaspy, executive director of the nonprofit Paseo del Rio Association, which promotes River Walk business, says the ongoing attempt to revitalize Houston Street has proven to be a tough challenge. Gallaspy says parking costs and other hurdles have made it difficult to lure more locals downtown -- especially to Houston Street.

"This will create nothing but activity," says Gallaspy about the prospect of adding potentially hundreds of new hotel rooms -- and warm bodies -- to the Houston Street landscape.

Equally important, Gallaspy predicts, is that such projects will likely incorporate and encourage the kind of spin-off development that will help bring more locals to the area -- including the River Walk.

"This helps everybody," he says. "This will do nothing but bring more business into the (Houston Street) corridor."

Best use
The development duo of Shaul Baruch and Craig Glendenning sold the historic South Texas Building to Naik's firm. They had previously entertained several options for redeveloping the signature building but are now convinced that it, like the Neisner Building, is well-suited for a hotel transformation.

"That is the best use (for the buildings)," says Baruch, who heads up Dallas-based Baruch Properties. And Naik, he says, "is the best in the business."

"That is the best use (for the buildings)," says Baruch, who heads up Dallas-based Baruch Properties. And Naik, he says, "is the best in the business."

Naik, who has been developing hotels here for more than a decade, says the area is ripe for more projects -- including extended-stay brands like TownePlace.

"The length of stay in San Antonio has increased," Naik says, adding that these projects could help lure more convention delegates and other travelers looking to stay in the Alamo City for a number of days.

San Antonio firm 3D/International-Parsons Architecture is designing the TownPlace project and is working with Naik on some of his other Houston Street projects.

3D/International's Andres Andujar has been a driving force behind efforts to bring more residents downtown and he has been a champion of attempts to revitalize Houston Street. But right now, he says it is the "energy of tourism" that will "make downtown more livable."

Andujar says adding more hotel rooms along Houston Street is the right move at the right time.

"This is one of the viable solutions to bringing life back to Houston Street," he says, noting that developers could add as many as 400 to 500 new rooms to Houston Street over the next few years.

Houston Street is not void of hotels. But there are only a few, including the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel and the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, a chic property that opened in January 2003.

Gallaspy and others believe there is plenty of room -- and need -- for more.

"The timing is good now," Gallaspy says.
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