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  #81  
Old Posted Oct 15, 2015, 11:36 PM
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City Deeds Land for San Pedro Creek Project

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City Council approved the donation of 19 City-owned properties to the San Antonio River Authority on Thursday as part of the $206.8 million San Pedro Creek Improvements Project.

The 19 parcels are valued at $4.1 million, and include slivers and parcels of land, infrastructure, and parking lots located alongside the downtown segment of San Pedro Creek. Their transfer gives the River Authority the necessary right-of-way to widen the creek, install pathways, and connect the creek to the street level. The parcels range in size from slightly more than .01-acre to about .7-acre. The transaction will result in the loss of some public parking spots, but the SPC Improvements Project’s anticipated billion-dollar economic impact makes the trade one that City Council unanimously supported.
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  #82  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2015, 7:32 AM
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SAN PEDRO CREEK DESIGN CHANGES PRAISED


The “floating island” in a widened San Pedro Creek with the removal of the Dollar Store on West Commerce Street.

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The revised designs of the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project won unanimous approval and praise Friday from members of the SPC Subcommittee, made up of property owners, downtown stakeholders and other citizens with a vested interest in the major project slated for completion of its first phase by May 2018, the city’s 300th anniversary.

It took two hours for the three-person presentation team to explain in detail to committee members and members of the public the many changes in the design and engineering and, ultimately, the impact on the $97.8 million budget for phases one and two. The first phase of the project begins at the Tunnel Inlet at IH-35 and West Quincy Street near Fox Tech High School and extends south to César Chavez Boulevard. Phase two extends the project to Guadalupe Street.

The entire project, originally budgeted at $175 million by Bexar County, will result in the restoration of two miles of San Pedro Creek all the way to its confluence with the Alazan and Apache Creeks at IH-35 near the former Stockyards. It also will serve as a catalyst for major redevelopment and cultural revival of the western sector of downtown. The San Antonio River Authority is serving as the project manager for the County Commissioners. Jeff Mitchell, with HDR Inc., led Friday’s presentation of the design revisions, and afterwards, also discussed the significant ramifications for a changed design and construction timeline and ultimately, the budget implications.

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In sum, the design has evolved significantly in response to feedback from the various stakeholders, but the May 2018 deadline means some of the changes will require additional funding even after other “value engineering” cuts resulted in $30 million in cost-cutting. Mitchell also said the project team now would now recommend to County Commissioners that they alter the original plan of completing all design work by April to extending that timeline to November, while moving forward in April with the selection and hiring of a general contractor in what is called Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) contract. Under the recommended approach the County and River Authority would contract directly with the designer and the builder and retain control of both entities. Construction would start on select pockets of the project before design work is completed for the entire creekway.

The AT&T Center and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, two major projects completed by the County on tight deadlines, were done under CMAR contracts. A follow-up article in the Rivard Report will explore the timeline and financial implications in greater detail.

Friday’s presentation was mostly about design. It gave Subcommittee members their first full appreciation of the collaboration between the architects at Muñoz & Co. led by Principal Steve Tillotson, and landscape architects at the Mexico City firm Grupo de Diseño Urbano led by Principal and Landscape Architect Mario Schjetnan.

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The collaborative effort has led to a major realignment of the project’s key features, a greater emphasis on moving water, native plantings, “strong trees,” and deeper integration of the creek with pathways, benches and other pedestrian features. That is what Schjetnan and his team have brought to the project. At the same time, the Muñoz influence is seen in the use of exuberant color in a more contained way, and with the weaving in of mythic, historic and folkloric design elements on the walls that separate the creek from the streetscape. Cork as a medium to reflect culture also emboldens wayfinding signage, historical narrative elements, and vibrant tile work that will appear at key junctures along the way. Linear benches now line many stretches of the creek, and discreetly follow its curves downstream. The benches evoke the color of Ricardo Legorreta’s Central Library, and near the northern reach, form an inviting keyhole-shaped refuge that bridges the creek.

Friday morning belonged mostly to Schjetnan, who at times with his passionate voice, shock of white hair and expressive arm movements, resembled a symphony conductor. People listened as he brought the site maps and renderings to life, and invited subcommittee and audience members to pass around delicate scale models. It was a lesson in masterful presentation. Simply stated, people loved what they saw and heard Friday morning. Stakeholders have watched the design evolve from the original renderings first presented months ago to what will be now be presented to Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday.

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“We want to play more with water, we want people to interact more with water, we want children to play; this is a linear park, more so than the River Walk, more community oriented, something that goes right through your downtown, which is fantastic!” Schjetnan said.

Even if Subcommittee members didn’t say so in their many words of affirmation, people seemed to see something uniquely San Antonio in the new renderings and site plans –a creek that carries the city’s 300-year European influenced history with it and what Schjetnan described as 8,000 years of earlier indigenous occupation. The result is a design that is like the city and its people, deeply influenced by its Mexican roots, its Mexican-American history and culture, and its spare Southwestern landscape of stone, earth, trees, native grasses, and precious water.

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The changes to the design start right at the Tunnel Inlet and the so-called Vila Lagunilla reach lined with cypress trees. The Tunnel Inlet has been sheathed in sturdy, yet delicately crafted worked metal with a Tree of Life inspired motif. The metalwork leads to a vertical wall of falling water as it descends into the creekway, enters a wetland and courses through the keyhole-shaped benchwork and then through a series of limestone arms embracing the passing water and slowing it into standing pools.

“It’s going to be more lush than you see in the rendering, there are going to more plants,” Schjetnan said. “People are going to be able to get into the pool.”

To the east, Camaron Street poses both opportunity and challenge not previously addressed in this project or in any urban renewal conversations. Yet the street originally named for the freshwater shrimp that once thrived in San Pedro Creek is one of the few extant historic streets in the city, and deserves to be reimagined with the creek project, Tillotson said. To not do so will be seen later as a tragic oversight and missed opportunity.

“It ought to be given new life all the way to Five Points,” Tillotson said after the formal presentation, suggesting an even deeper reconnection of the near-Westside with the heart of downtown and the waterway.

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One of the most dramatic design changes is dependent on the County successfully negotiating the purchase of the Dollar Store from the Penner family that now sits on the eastern edge of the creek on West Commerce Street. The building is slated for demolition in the plan, which has not been subjected to review by the City’s Historic and Design Review Commission. If approved, the cleared property would allow widening of the creek and construction of a “floating island” accessible to pedestrians south of the amphitheater and the Alameda Theater. West Commerce Street pedestrians walking along the newly-designated Cultural Corridor would have a visual and physical entryway into San Pedro Creek.

Friday was a day for imagining a restored San Pedro Creek in harmony with the city and its culture, but much will depend on the funding and the timeline. Inclusion of the project in the City’s 2017 bond as a citywide project now seems critical to determining whether the project is one that will be lauded as world-class or one that is forced to be completed on an inadequate budget.

“If we do it right, years from now, people from San Antonio and all over the world will look at San Pedro Creek and marvel, they won’t talk about the budget,” Schjetnan said. “We have to be realistic, but we also have an obligation to make this something truly special that changes the city.”
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  #83  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2015, 7:35 PM
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I'm actually kind of impressed with the design changes. I like that they are still incorporating color into it. I will be more than happy to see that Dollar General go too. It will make for an awesome addition, I hope they can do that with more buildings.
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  #84  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2015, 4:49 PM
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San Pedro Creek development plan revisions get initial OK
By John W. Gonzalez
San Antonio Express-News
December 8, 2015 Updated: December 9, 2015 12:11pm
http://www.expressnews.com/news/loca...#photo-9081770

Quote:
Well into the planning process, Commissioners Court on Tuesday gave initial approval to significant design changes for the redevelopment of San Pedro Creek downtown.

The revisions, reflecting public comments and cost concerns, could make it more daunting to finish initial phases of the work in time for the city’s tricentennial in 2018. But officials said the end product will be a visually pleasing linear park inviting to both local residents and visitors.
This is starting to look like another Riverwalk to me. I was really hoping for something different. But I guess if it starts with a decent foundation, the waterway can continue to evolve over the years.
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  #85  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2015, 6:09 PM
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Yeah, it basically did turn it into the riverwalk. But at least it will revitalize that part of downtown. So there's that, I just wish they could connect them closer to the Weston Center, Frost, Rand buildings. But that sounds too expensive with the land they'd have to reclaim and buildings to demolish.
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  #86  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2015, 8:21 PM
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Is that a bad thing though? I think two riverwalks would be amazing, plus it would only increase the uniqueness that is SA. I hope they add more mosaic into it, I really love that aspect in the Yanaguana gardens.

As for the Frost Bank development. I have a feeling that the western portion of the land owned by the bank will be used as a plaza to connect with the spring. At least I hope thats what Frost does with their development.
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  #87  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2015, 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by whatdoyouwantandwhy View Post
Is that a bad thing though? I think two riverwalks would be amazing, plus it would only increase the uniqueness that is SA. I hope they add more mosaic into it, I really love that aspect in the Yanaguana gardens.

As for the Frost Bank development. I have a feeling that the western portion of the land owned by the bank will be used as a plaza to connect with the spring. At least I hope thats what Frost does with their development.
You're definitely right on your comment about two riverwalks. It will be nice to be able to get away from all of the hotels and have it look like Museum Reach in the middle of dowtown, less hotels.

But I was thinking of that too! Possibly have the podium with the garage and retail or whatever they are having on the bottom, leading to a garden/plaza down to the creek. Awesome to point that out.
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  #88  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2015, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by whatdoyouwantandwhy View Post
Is that a bad thing though?
Well kinda, at least for me. I see your point about uniqueness, but SA has made great strides in getting outsiders to view us as more than just the Riverwalk, Alamo and Tex Mex culture. So I was hoping for something modern, maybe throw in a little Venetian influence (come on, Piazza Italia is like right there!), to take us into the future. The San Pedro Creek deserves an identity of its own. Its place in our history should be showcased in a way that visually doesn't confuse it with the Riverwalk (I know that's a tall order). Don't get me wrong though, I will love the new waterway unconditionally with all my heart.

Last edited by Fireoutofclay; Dec 16, 2015 at 11:41 PM.
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  #89  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2015, 4:30 AM
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Huh? San Antonio has a unique Tejano culture that is uncommon in most american cities. a culture that is barely starting to recover from the jim crow era which tried to erase it. I for one am glad the city is restoring this creek with Tejano culture in mind. The San Pedro springs redevelopment is an important step in embracing our culture rather than hiding it. Rather than trying to be like Vegas with the fake venetian atmosphere; lets look to New orleans who fully embraces their creole culture. Tejano culture gives San Antonio something entirely unique. While I also appreciate the diversity in growth that we have recently been experiencing, lets not once again try to hide what assets we already have.
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  #90  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2015, 6:41 PM
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Originally Posted by whatdoyouwantandwhy View Post
Huh? San Antonio has a unique Tejano culture that is uncommon in most american cities. a culture that is barely starting to recover from the jim crow era which tried to erase it. I for one am glad the city is restoring this creek with Tejano culture in mind. The San Pedro springs redevelopment is an important step in embracing our culture rather than hiding it.
Oh, I like you, whatdoyouwantandwhy. Its so seldom that forumers on this site argue for cultural preservation. I didn't mean to imply that this city was deliberately trying to suppress its heritage, although one might make that impression looking at these new designs.

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Rather than trying to be like Vegas with the fake venetian atmosphere
Gondolas are the predecessor to the commercial barges the Riverwalk uses today. It wouldn't be fake to place them in the creek as they are part of our history. They could work in concert with Little Italy, and there are already many buildings that were built flush with the creek. That Dollar General island thingy could also serve as a dock. This is just one way the creek could distinguish itself from the river.

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Originally Posted by whatdoyouwantandwhy View Post
lets look to New orleans who fully embraces their creole culture. Tejano culture gives San Antonio something entirely unique. While I also appreciate the diversity in growth that we have recently been experiencing, lets not once again try to hide what assets we already have.
New Orleans, an excellent example. You are so right about that city. It has history, culture, a party atmosphere, amazing food. But I would argue that this is all that most people think of when they think of New Orleans. That's all I meant when I said that SA has made great strides in getting outsiders to view us as more than just the touristy stuff.
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  #91  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2015, 7:14 PM
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I love this discussion going on! I definitely agree with Fireoutofclay that I wanted the SPC to be a little more unique than the riverwalk. Have a different style rather than the still awesome concrete sidewalks it will have. I really liked the original design for the Salinas bridge, I'm very sad it will be gone.
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  #92  
Old Posted Dec 17, 2015, 7:36 PM
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I really liked the original design for the Salinas bridge, I'm very sad it will be gone.
OMG, yes that Salinas bridge design was excellent. It a had historical, cultural and metaphorical references, and a clear function. I would like to shake the hand of whoever designed that. Let's post the image at least once every page so as never to forget it, lol.

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  #93  
Old Posted Dec 19, 2015, 8:26 PM
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I agree! the Salinas Bridge would have been amazing if they kept it. I hate that it was knocked off because of the tree of life. I still have no clue why they thought that portion was okay...

Also, what are yall opinions on the fed court house designs? I wish the city traded them a smaller lot. It is so suburban and dull.
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  #94  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2015, 2:46 AM
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Originally Posted by whatdoyouwantandwhy View Post
Huh? San Antonio has a unique Tejano culture that is uncommon in most american cities. a culture that is barely starting to recover from the jim crow era which tried to erase it. I for one am glad the city is restoring this creek with Tejano culture in mind. The San Pedro springs redevelopment is an important step in embracing our culture rather than hiding it. Rather than trying to be like Vegas with the fake venetian atmosphere; lets look to New orleans who fully embraces their creole culture. Tejano culture gives San Antonio something entirely unique. While I also appreciate the diversity in growth that we have recently been experiencing, lets not once again try to hide what assets we already have.
This is why I'm really looking forward to the completion of the Westside creeks project.
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  #95  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2016, 3:42 AM
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San Pedro Creek design changes add to cost

By John W. Gonzalez
San Antonio Express News
January 26, 2016 Updated: January 26, 2016 10:57pm
http://www.expressnews.com/news/loca...#photo-9306932

Quote:
Bexar County Commissioners Court had second thoughts about some of the designs for redeveloping San Pedro Creek downtown, but the changes they wanted will come at a price — $1.9 million.

The court on Tuesday approved the additional outlay for the $175 million endeavor, whose first phase is slated to be finished in time for the San Antonio Tricentennial Celebration in May 2018.
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  #96  
Old Posted May 12, 2016, 6:45 PM
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SPC project to break ground this Summer

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  #97  
Old Posted May 12, 2016, 6:49 PM
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Finally, I really hope they can finish this in two years like they want.
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  #98  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2016, 3:58 AM
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HDRC Approves Dollar General Demolition on San Pedro Creek

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The vacant building will become a grassy “island” with Cyprus trees, said River Authority Watershed Engineer Kerry Averyt. Project designers envision a low bank paseo lined with several shade structures in the area connecting the plaza to the rest of the linear park. Trees will also be planted along the walkway that will eventually grow up to street level, Averyt said. A rendering of the potential design was presented, but was not submitted to the City for review or made available for publication.

The channel between Penner’s and the Dollar General is the narrowest part of the entire San Pedro Creek project, so the proposed design involves widening and deepening the creek in that area, Averyt explained. Visitors will be able to walk under Commerce Street along the creek or access the street level from a series of nearby stairs or ramps.

“There’s still some work in progress to the final look,” Averyt said, and the River Authority aims to bring those designs back to HDRC by October.
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  #99  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2016, 7:02 AM
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More renderings

From the Rivard Report:

http://therivardreport.com/design-te...ro-creek-plan/

The newest rendering presented was for the portion of San Pedro Creek from Camp to South Alamo streets (see top image), where the creek transitions from the urban, concrete channels into a more natural state. Designers envision two walkways, one close to the water and another at street level. The west bank will not feature any kind of pedestrian access or paseos, Tillotson said, but rather incorporate plants into the design for a more scenic feel.


Looking good.
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  #100  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2016, 3:32 PM
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Decided to go get a before picture before this area changes!
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