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  #1781  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2009, 9:18 PM
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found an old postcard of Houston St. early 60's
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  #1782  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2009, 9:47 PM
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what are all of those things on the sidewalks?

oh...people? hmm...they add an interesting effect to downtown.
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  #1783  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2009, 10:59 PM
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O and Houston was a one way street, cool. And wait, is it me or does it look much wider in that postcard
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  #1784  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 12:31 AM
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Quote:
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O and Houston was a one way street, cool. And wait, is it me or does it look much wider in that postcard
Cisneros had the sidewalks widened in the early 90s
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  #1785  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 12:57 AM
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Cisneros had the sidewalks widened in the early 90s
O ok thanks, guess I was still a little young to remember that.
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  #1786  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 5:22 AM
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O ok thanks, guess I was still a little young to remember that.
They should really consider closing Houston Street just west of the river to maybe Alamo Plaza, and make the side streets always yield to pedestrians. It's fairly useless as a 2-way, 2-lane road. A sidewalk cafe would be much more enjoyable w/o gridlock and exhaust fumes.

The only place that might have a problem with this is the Valencia which is land/river locked (others?). Most other businesses can make use of the side streets.

To make things worse, I believe the new embassy suites will have their entrance on Houston Street

Planning good
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  #1787  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 6:02 AM
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^^^Don't forget about the Aloft hotel.

It would be pretty sweet to transform one of the downtown streets into more of a "mall", similar to Denver's 16th street, where the street is only open to pedestrians and public trans. If not Houston St, I'd nominate Alamo between Houston and Commerce.
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  #1788  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 4:13 PM
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^^^Don't forget about the Aloft hotel.

It would be pretty sweet to transform one of the downtown streets into more of a "mall", similar to Denver's 16th street, where the street is only open to pedestrians and public trans. If not Houston St, I'd nominate Alamo between Houston and Commerce.
VERY NICE...

alamo is basically a mall as it is...
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  #1789  
Old Posted Feb 10, 2009, 4:59 PM
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It can be a bit hair-raising to cross at times, tho.

In my perfect world, that stretch would be the southern terminus of the starter line for the downtown street car
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  #1790  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2009, 5:12 AM
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Yeah, Houston St. is ideal for such a conversion. Peds, Buses and a Street car.

Could you image Houston St. lined up with retail like 16th St is?
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  #1791  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 3:12 AM
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PSL not dead.... Back on drawing board?


From PSL.com
From Mysa.com
Back on drawing board?
By Creighton A. Welch - Express-News
Quote:
It's been almost six years since a $100 million Italian-themed mixed-use project on the River Walk called Piazza San Lorenzo was unveiled, but work still has yet to begin.

Despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, being posted for foreclosure in January and then filing again for bankruptcy Feb. 2, Larry Raba, who runs the project's development company, says the company received a new infusion of funding and that construction is “imminent.”

“We have a new investor coming in and the transaction did not occur in time to pay the land loan off,” Raba said, declining to identify the investor. “We're really confident with this gentleman. He loves the project immensely.”

According to the first Chapter 11, which was filed on Dec. 1 and dismissed on Dec. 30, the investor promised $30 million.

Part of the hype for this project comes from its prime frontage on the River Walk and Houston and Soledad streets.

“It's definitely a gold mine, and it's definitely the bookend to Main Plaza,” said Greg Gallaspy, executive director of the Paseo del Rio Association. “I just think that is such a unique part of the river. We've been waiting and waiting for this.”

Raba, who heads up Raba Design Group and RTK Development Inc., is no River Walk newbie. He designed the Hilton Palacio del Rio and chaired the River Walk Commission.

The 1.27-acre luxury project is planned to have 28 condos, 39 private residence club units, five restaurants and bars, retail space and an open piazza that opens up to the River Walk. The private residence club units are similar to time shares, but buyers actually will own a 10 percent interest in their condo.

Raba said 13 of the condos are under contract, and that he gets three to five calls a week inquiring about the property.

The financial struggles started in February 2008, when one of the investing banks became disqualified from participating in condo loans. The developers then left their original lender, which in turn made the loans due. When the developers couldn't pay off the loans in time, they filed for bankruptcy.

The property also was posted for the February foreclosure auction, but did not get processed because of the bankruptcy filing.

Raba said he and his partners have $9.6 million in cash invested in the project.

“It's been extremely exciting; we just found ourselves in the middle of an economic decline,” he said.

When construction is able to begin, it will take about 21/2 years to complete the project and will be led by Bartlett Cocke General Contractors.

“It's been three or four years ago since we last even updated the estimate,” said Kirk Kistner, vice president of marketing and business development with Bartlett Cocke. “There's just going to be a significant amount of price escalation that has not been taken in to account. But in a sense, we're now in a period of deflation in commodities at least, so they may end up being OK.”

Bartlett Cocke is one of the creditors named in the bankruptcy filing; it is owed $50,000.Filing for bankruptcy to avoid a foreclosure is fairly typical, and is likely to become more common as landlords struggle to restructure loans and to get credit, said R. Glen Ayers, a bankruptcy attorney with Langley & Banack.

“This is a reasonable business decision for someone to make,” Ayers said. At the same time, “we really don't have Chapter 11 so you can stand around mowing the grass waiting for the price to go up.”


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Last edited by miaht82; Feb 13, 2009 at 2:41 PM.
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  #1792  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 4:49 AM
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Awesome. I've been looking forward to this one. If it's done right, it could really be a catalyst for things in downtown. That project seems to have almost a little of everything.
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  #1793  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 6:22 AM
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It would be great if this project ever happened. It has a nice design, especially the piazza and the idea of expanding river walk space in this manner. However, I just get can't too excited because there is no definate news.

This kind of reminds me of the Broadway apartment project. It sounds like a guy with a dream that is desperately trying to hold on to his property. They didn't really find themselves in a decline. The project has been out there for at least 5 years. Either people didn't really believe in the project or Raba wasn't willing to give up control for funds. Now they're in a bind; last gasp scenario and whatever they have could easily fall apart.

Not real news. It does let us know that this project is not officially dead, but it's definately not breathing on its own.

Last edited by kornbread; Feb 13, 2009 at 11:17 PM.
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  #1794  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 6:28 AM
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For those not aware, Lorenzo is directly across from the U/C Embassy Suites hotel.
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  #1795  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2009, 3:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kornbread View Post
It would be great if this project ever happened. It has a nice design, especially the piazza and the idea of expanding river walk space in this manner. However, I just get can't too excited because there is no definate news.

This kind of reminds me of the Broadway apartment project. It sounds like a guy with a dream that is desperately trying to hold on to his property. They didn't really find themselves in a decline. The project has been out there for at least 5 years. Either people didn't really believe in the project or Raba wasn't willing to give up control for funds. Now they're in a bind; last gasp scenario and whatever they have could easily fall apart.

Not real news. It does let us no that this project is not officially dead, but it's definately not breathing on its own.
This sounds like a level-headed assessment. For all we know, Raba is just trying to increase visibility on the project to give it credibility in front of his new financiers.

13 of the condos are under contract? really? i just don't trust it yet.

i do, however, salivate over the rendering from the PSL website.
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  #1796  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2009, 7:05 PM
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Plan to sell La Villita, Market Square

from Mysa.com
Plan to sell La Villita, market sparks flap

By Guillermo X. Garcia - Express-News
Quote:
Inner-city Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros was put on the defensive this week after revelations that she's pushing the sale of two downtown cultural icons, Market Square and La Villita, to the politically connected Cortez family.

The proposal was presented Thursday in a closed-door City Council session and was greeted with strenuous objections by Cisneros’ colleagues, several said.

“We had a presentation of an interested party looking to purchase the square and La Villita, and a majority of us said, ‘No way,'” Councilwoman Lourdes Galvan said. “The gem of our history and culture is simply not for sale.”

Several other council members discussed the proposed sale, but only on condition that their names not be used.

Until now there never has been public discussion or debate about the sale of the historic city lands, and there was no warning such discussions had been undertaken by Cisneros on behalf of the Cortez family. Nor is there evidence that other investors would be given the opportunity to bid for the properties under her proposal.

Market Square, on the western edge of downtown, includes El Mercado. Owned mostly by the city, it has become a money-losing venture in recent years.

According to a consultant's report paid for by the city, San Antonio spent $227,000 more than it collected from its tenant vendors last year. The report says privatizing the operations, and having the new operators raise vendors' rent as well as adding other efficiencies could turn it into a money-making venture.

One council member said negotiations appeared to have started well before Thursday's executive session pitch from Cisneros, and included the signing of a non-binding letter of intent to pursue the sale for $12 million, along with a complex land swap.

That would involve the city, VIA Metropolitan Transit and the Cortez family, longtime operators of popular restaurants in the Mercado area, several members said.

A majority of council members said Friday that they would oppose the sale, but several left the door open for a lease or management agreement with the Cortez group.

Cisneros acknowledged Friday that she had discussed a project with representatives of the Cortez family, but said only: “Whatever you are telling me I heard, if I heard it, was in executive session and should not be up for public discussion.”

She declined to respond to colleagues' criticism of her role.

The Cortez family has operated several restaurants, including Mi Tierra, opened in 1941 by Pete and Cruz Cortez as a three-table restaurant.

“I think the Cortez family has expertise and should be involved in discussions,” Galvan said. “But in addition to being a huge tourist attraction, Market Square is a cultural icon for many, many Mexican-Americans and I don't favor the city selling it. The city has no business considering selling either one.”

The Cortez family, through a spokesman, said it wants to help “in the effort to elevate Market Square to new heights.”

In a statement, the family said: “We have in front of us a unique opportunity to make positive improvements to one of San Antonio's most prominent cultural destinations for the benefit of all Market Square stakeholders, San Antonians and visitors.”

The family, it said, is “proud of our long history at Market Square and ... we look forward to collaborating closely with our Market Square neighbors and our city leaders.”

It's not clear how the city would proceed if a majority of council members blocks the proposed sale.

“I think staff has sufficient direction on where we stand,” one council member said. “I think most of us consider this thing dead on arrival.”

Discussion of the proposal in executive session took more than one hour and featured what several council members described as heated opposition to the plan proposed by Cisneros, whose district includes both historic sites.

El Mercado was the original Farmer's Market. The consultant's report cites it as the third-favorite place to take tourists in San Antonio, after the Alamo and the River Walk. It's now a Mexican-themed market for trinkets, clothing and art.

La Villita, adjacent to HemisFair Park farther east, originally was inhabited by Native Americans and later by Spanish colonialists.

“This was a real big surprise,” one council member said. “Nobody saw this coming, and a number of us were quite concerned. The attitude from the majority was ‘How can we sell, or even entertain the idea of selling, one of this city's jewels?' But I guess Mary Alice was OK with it, even if she appeared to be the only one.”
Side note:
Anybody up for pics on Monday?
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  #1797  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2009, 6:28 PM
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Hmm i thought the SA Forumers would be ablaze with the new proposal for SA's downtown. Its on the Historic & Design Review Commission agenda for the meeting tomorrow. Its the very last entry. Some interesting stuff - good and bad...
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  #1798  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2009, 7:57 PM
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yeah I would be; but at 20+ stories on that section of the riverwalk, I know it's going to have to jump through many hoops and lose alot of glass and height before the HDRC even considers it.
For you guys that haven't seen it, I don't have the capabilities here at work to post it, but perhaps someone can. It is nice looking, although at this point it is wishful thinking.
Personally, I think something like this could positively change the landscape of DT SA in a huge way. Its too bad that HDRC is trying to hold SA back.
Here is the agenda.
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  #1799  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2009, 8:33 PM
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The SA Bizjournal site has this sweet ass picture. Sucks that it's small.

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  #1800  
Old Posted Feb 17, 2009, 8:40 PM
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Originally Posted by miaht82 View Post
yeah I would be; but at 20+ stories on that section of the riverwalk, I know it's going to have to jump through many hoops and lose alot of glass and height before the HDRC even considers it.
For you guys that haven't seen it, I don't have the capabilities here at work to post it, but perhaps someone can. It is nice looking, although at this point it is wishful thinking.
Personally, I think something like this could positively change the landscape of DT SA in a huge way. Its too bad that HDRC is trying to hold SA back.
Here is the agenda.
I'm downloading it now so I haven't seen it but maybe I being to optimistic but I think it won't get too much altering down. If it does, maybe we can do something about it, like protest.

edit: Still downloading (big file) but did you say GLASS!!!?

edit: 3 minutes in and I'm at 40%. Man, big file. I have Roadrunner High Speed Internet! lol
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