Developer looking for downtown land for a baseball stadium

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Developer Weston Urban is trying to acquire property near San Pedro Creek for construction of a downtown baseball stadium.

The idea for such a stadium has been floated for years, but County Judge Nelson Wolff said the current effort shows promise.

“This is a group of prominent businessmen who have the means to do it,” Wolff said while declining to identify those involved.

But Bernard Toomey, whose Toomey Family Limited Partnership owns 2.4 acres at West Martin and North Flores streets, said San Antonio-based Weston Urban recently approached the family about buying the stadium property.

They are not interested in selling, at least for now. The value of land has gone up and “it’s going to keep going up,” Toomey said. The Bexar appraisal district values ​​it at $6.5 million.

Weston Urban’s effort was first reported by the San Antonio Heron, which also reported that the developer had offered to purchase 0.83 acres along North Flores at Artpace San Antonio.

CJ Abrams of San Antonio Missions gets a base hit at Wolff Stadium. The Double-A team has been involved in talks about a possible new downtown stadium, but the nature of the talks is unclear.

San Antonio Express-News/Staff photographer Kin Man Hui

The nonprofit is also not looking to sell its property, the Heron reported. Artpace did not immediately respond to a request from Express-News.

Weston Urban is in the process of acquiring the former Fox Tech High School baseball field, an adjacent 2.3-acre site, from the San Antonio Independent School District. The district would exchange this property for approximately 2.2 adjacent acres owned by Weston Urban. Its board of directors approved the exchange in March.

Randy Smith, president of Weston Urban, did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

The properties are close to the northern section of San Pedro Creek, the first section of the creek to be transformed from a ditch into a linear park with walking paths and art.

Many attempts

The prospect of a baseball stadium in the urban core of San Antonio is not new – there have been attempts to find a location for years.

A study commissioned by the city in 2016 identified the area around Fox Tech and nearby Weston Urban land as opportunities. Other options included parking near the Alamodome, the Institute of Texas Cultures, and the University of Texas on the downtown San Antonio campus.

But some of this property has since been developed, with UTSA expanding its campus and SAISD building its new headquarters. UTSA is currently seeking information on options for the future of the institute, which may include moving to another part of town.

Land near the San Antonio Museum of Art, at Government Hill near Pearl, and near Lone Star south of downtown have also been pitched in the past.

“There were a lot of false starts that didn’t pan out,” Wolff said.

In 2017, Smith said Weston Urban had been approached many times over the years to build a ballpark.

“From where I’m sitting today, it looks like there are more than a few things that would need to happen for a downtown ballpark to become a reality on one of our properties,” said then said Smith. “I’m not actively working on any of those things. We are laser focused on Frost Tower and our historic assets at this time.

Weston Urban, which was started by Rackspace Technology co-founder Graham Weston, has renovated buildings along Houston Street with offices for tech startups and retail. In 2019, he completed the Frost Tower, which was the first new downtown office tower since 1989.

Currently, it is constructing a 32-story residential building with approximately 354 apartments and ground-level retail on North Main Avenue and East Travis Street.

The company plans to turn a block bounded by the creek and Commerce, Dolorosa and Laredo streets into a mixed-use development. It would renovate the Arana and Continental Hotel buildings and construct a 15-story building with approximately 255 units between the two buildings.

“Buzzing” Stream

Wolff said a stadium along the revitalized creek would be attractive and could host events beyond baseball games.

“We invested a lot of money in San Pedro Creek,” he said. “The creek is really bustling with lots of activity. It would be great to see a baseball stadium on it.

More housing has been built in and around the city center in recent years and residents could walk or cycle to the stadium, which could increase foot traffic in the area and limit parking needs, Wolff said. .

There were conversations between the group and the Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, but Wolff said he was unaware of them.

A spokesman for the team, which plays at Wolff Stadium, did not immediately respond to a request. Spokespersons said the city and county have not been approached about the stadium.

Trish DeBerry, the Republican candidate for county judge and former county commissioner, said she was unaware of the latest search for a stadium location.

DeBerry said downtown revitalization is important and she would be open to discussing potential opportunities if elected.

But, she added, “In a post-COVID environment, the priorities really have to focus on working families, taxpayer relief, inflation, gas prices…all the things that made it hard to make ends meet.”

Wolff said he hadn’t heard of a legitimate cost estimate for such a project. The city and county could potentially be involved, he said.

“Who knows – it might work, it might not work, but there’s a group trying,” Wolff said.

madison.iszler@express-news.net


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