Posted Jun 17, 2005, 1:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Houston, TX
Um I think the floor numbers are a tad off, bc I know for sure that the hotel is going to be 45 stories tall....
Council approves condominiums high in Convention Center hotel
Web Posted: 06/17/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Express-News Staff Writer
In Mayor Ed Garza's last session as San Antonio's top elected official, the City Council on Thursday gave contractor FaulknerUSA the go-ahead to build 144 condominiums atop the planned Convention Center hotel.
The luxury units would take up the uppermost floors, 25 through 33, of the 1,000-room hotel expected to be completed in 2008.
The council voted 9-1 to sell the city's interest in the space, its so-called "air rights," for $1.25 million. Councilman Roland Gutierrez said the original price had been $1 million, based on a city-ordered appraisal, but council members last week directed city negotiators to seek an additional $250,000.
The Austin-based contractor also will pay the city $150,000 for legal expenses and $57,000 for the relocation of a pedestrian walkway and re-platting of a right-of-way, for a total of just over $1.4 million.
According to city officials, the condos would range in size from 765 square feet to 3,903 square feet, and would sell for between $300 and $400 per square foot. The hotel's top floor would be given over to eight penthouses, with six featuring private stairs leading to rooftop cabanas, roof decks and hot tubs.
Garza praised the project, saying it would draw more residents downtown. The ideal, he added, would be a mixed-income housing stock at the city's core.
"This certainly will be the upper echelon of that housing product," Garza said.
The cost of building the condos isn't included in the hotel's $285 million price tag, paid for with $208 million in tax-exempt and taxable bonds and $77.3 million in private financing. The contractor will finance the units' construction separately.
City officials will move next to put the hotel and the condos within a tax incremental reinvestment zone that encompasses 1.5 square miles downtown. Through Sept. 30, 2015, property tax revenue from condo owners would go toward public improvements approved by the TIRZ's board. Assistant City Manager Chris Brady said the money wouldn't be used for condominium or hotel projects.
Property taxes from the hotel, meanwhile, would go into the city's general fund, Brady said.
"I believe this addition is going to bring a whole new dimension to the hotel, and a whole new dimension to the downtown," Councilwoman Sheila McNeil said.
FaulknerUSA officials broke ground a week ago on the hotel, one of the major projects of Garza's second term as mayor. But his legacy is most likely to be tied to his balanced-growth initiative on the South Side, called City South.
Calling his eight years as District 7 councilman and mayor "a dream come true," Garza said he's leaving office with a sense of contentment.
Early in Thursday's meeting, Councilman Julián Castro, who is also leaving office this week after narrowly losing last week's mayoral runoff, said Garza's tenure would be well regarded, despite a litany of complaints about his leadership.
"Contemporary journalists aside, history is going to be very kind to your administration," Castro said.
He also told remaining officeholders that "y'all have a huge task in front of you ... to make sure everybody benefits from the coming wave of opportunity."
Councilman Enrique Barrera, appointed to complete then-Councilman Jose Menendez's term 51/2 years ago, also steps down this week because of term limits. But he said he plans to stay active in the community.
"I'm not going away," Barrera said. "I'll be there. I'll be involved."