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Old Posted Oct 5, 2007, 6:31 AM
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SA: Massive Espada Development May Break Ground Early 2008

South Side community may break ground in early 2008

Web Posted: 10/04/2007 08:19 PM CDT
http://www.mysanantonio.com/business...7.2a68642.html
Jennifer Hiller
Express-News Business Writer

Charlie Turner wants everyone to know this: His South Side project isn't dead, thank you very much.

After some initial disappointment over losing the proposed Texas A&M campus to another group of landowners this year, Turner, principle at the Sugar Land-based Terramark, has returned to his original plans: building a new kind of master-planned community for San Antonio.

The 1,850-acre community called Espada could break ground in early 2008, with homes under construction in the summer.

It will be one of the largest master-planned communities in San Antonio — larger even than downtown.

It's in the City South area, where the city has called for old-fashioned neighborhoods with sidewalks, tree-lined streets, front porches and rear-entry garages.

"We want to be the model community for the city of San Antonio. The fact that it's on the South Side makes it a challenge," Turner said. "But we think we can attract people with a good design and a well-planned community."

Turner expects to have the final city and county approvals in the next few months.

McGuyer Homebuilders Inc., a partner in the project that will be building some of the homes, is planning a series of Spanish-style houses as a nod to the nearby Mission Espada, which inspired the neighborhood's name.

"Hopefully the market will accept us, and we'll be able to cover the spectrum from starter homes to executive homes," said James Zimmerman Jr., general manager of land for the Houston-based McGuyer and a native of San Antonio. "We're breaking new ground on the South Side. We know we've got acceptability issues as far as not having a track record, but we're going to deliver a fantastic community. The plans are really spectacular."

And spectacular isn't cheap.

The 30-foot stone entrance monument and landscaping will cost Terramark $1.5 million.

Parks and landscaping have a $12.5 million budget.

Already, Terramark has spent $20 million acquiring land, pursuing permits and designing the project.


Turner also hopes to go for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation for the community, a green-building designation that no other neighborhood developer has attempted in San Antonio.

It's an ambitious project for any part of San Antonio, but particularly so for the city's South Side, where large-scale development is virtually untested.

"If you would have told somebody five years ago that there was a major sustainable, master-planned community in the works, they would have said, 'Is it North East or Northside (school districts)? What part of the Hill Country?'" said former Mayor Ed Garza, chairman of the City South Management Authority.

Instead, the land is south of Loop 410, east of U.S. 281 and bordered by the San Antonio River. The schools will be in the Southside Independent School District. The land includes a historic acequia, an irrigation ditch that's been in place since the Spanish flag flew over San Antonio.

Turner envisions plenty of open space, trails, parks and sidewalks to make the community easily walkable to schools and churches. Higher-density areas would include condos or townhomes and, eventually, retail space.

"It was refreshing not to have to fight with a developer and to not hear the words 'We can't do something different,'" Garza said.

Trent Rush, principal with TBG partners, the project's land-planning and architecture firm, said a portion of land will be used to plant oak trees, which later will be transplanted to the yards of new homes. Landscape buffers 25 feet wide will run along the entrance boulevard.

"Hopefully Espada will be the community that kicks off South Side development," Rush said.

Terramark had courted the A&M campus with an offer of 400 acres between U.S. 281 and the San Antonio River for the campus.

But Texas A&M University System regents this year chose a spot north of the Toyota plant after Triple L, an investment group including casino owners and executives, offered to donate 400 acres for a campus and another 150 acres for an irrigation technology center.

The decision sent Terramark back to the drawing board, and the various project approvals have gone slower than anyone expected when the company started purchasing land several years ago. Plus, Garza and others say Terramark has faced additional reviews and hurdles because of its City South location.

"There is a huge amount of trailblazing," McGuyer's Zimmerman said. "We're figuring it out. The city is figuring it out. City South is trying to figure it out. I think we're close. I believe I'm going to see bulldozers after the first of the year."
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2007, 6:05 AM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Here is the old Espada master plan with had A&M-SA as part of the overall development. As the article states, Terramark is scrapping those plans, as Triple L's land was selected, and creating a new master plan. This just shows you how large Espada will be, and will probably be even larger now that their A&M land is freed up. By the way, Triple L's development is rumored to be larger than Espada.

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Old Posted Oct 17, 2007, 6:16 AM
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Triple L's A&M land that won the bid. It's about 2 miles west of the Espada land. Entrance, main campus and an irrigation technology center further south.



What is really exciting about the location is that it'll be right next to a rail line and even better the developers (Triple L) of the development that will be adjacent to the campus are Vegas casino owners with money and I'd suspect a nice vision for what will be built.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2007, 4:28 PM
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Where did A&M go?
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2007, 5:19 AM
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I don't understand your question. A&M didn't go anywhere. It was always a matter of what "free" land the A&M committee wanted, to start off, as it begins, there was also the first option of the city buying land and giving it to A&M but then two different developers with two different proposed developments offered free land to A&M. Triple L won and Terramark lost. The Espada master plan I posted is the old master plan that included A&M but now that A&M went with the Las Vegas casino owners development Terramark has come up with a new master plan.

Last edited by sirkingwilliam; Oct 24, 2007 at 5:39 AM.
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2007, 8:09 AM
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San Antonio's growth is amazing, probably more so than ever in it's history.
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2018 S. A. Pop.1.51 million
metro 2.5 million/REGION 4.7million
San Antonio economy and largest economic sectors. Annual contribution towards GDP.
U.S. Dept of Defense $48.5 billion/Manufacturing $40.5 billion/Healthcare-Biosciences $40 billion/Finance-Insurance $20 billion/Tourism $15 billion/ Technology $10 billion.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2007, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirkingwilliam View Post
I don't understand your question. A&M didn't go anywhere. It was always a matter of what "free" land the A&M committee wanted, to start off, as it begins, there was also the first option of the city buying land and giving it to A&M but then two different developers with two different proposed developments offered free land to A&M. Triple L won and Terramark lost. The Espada master plan I posted is the old master plan that included A&M but now that A&M went with the Las Vegas casino owners development Terramark has come up with a new master plan.
I just didn't if they had moved sites or not, it was kind of confusing. Don't get your panties in a knot, chico.
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  #8  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2007, 10:45 PM
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Panties in a bunch. I didn't understand your question so I tried to explain it from all angles, as I did that late at night I probably ranted too long. Short version: A&M never had a site, it was always up to the regents to decide and when they did they choose Triple L (Las Vegas developers) which meant Terramark (Espada) has to draw up new plans for their development.
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  #9  
Old Posted Oct 29, 2007, 6:22 PM
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I just glad that the south side won't be looking like the mess that the north side has become.
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  #10  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2007, 12:51 AM
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Yeah, very smartly done on the part of the former Mayor.
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