Nueva Street Infill
The Nueva Street Infill site encompasses four adjacent surface parking lots totaling approximately 3.5 acres located along East Nueva Street between South Saint Mary’s Street and Main Plaza Street. Portions of the site are also immediately adjacent to the San Antonio Riverwalk. All are currently used as public, hourly-paid parking serving the Bexar County Courthouse, Hemisfair, and other nearby destinations.
Alamodome Parking Lots
The Alamodome Parking Lots site includes approximately 27 acres of surface parking located south and east of the Alamodome between South Cherry Street, East Cesar Chavez Boulevard, Montana Street, and IH-37. The site, bisected by the Union Pacific railroad tracks, has been the focus of several previous studies and planning efforts. Approximately 2,600 parking spots are on the site, which is also used for tailgating, carnivals, music events, and community events.
The two catalytic sites were selected by the Planning Team for more detailed concept design work to inspire change at these specific locations and to illustrate how similar sites around the Downtown Area Regional Center can also be conceptualized and developed. They each show one scenario of what future development could be like in the area, how it could both serve the community and also complement the vision for the Downtown Area.
The locations were selected, in part, because of their underutilization as surface parking lots and due to their proximity to existing destinations and amenities such as Hemisfair, the San Antonio River Walk, and the Alamodome. Additionally, their adjacency to potential high-quality, frequent, and reliable transit service lend the sites to supporting transit investments and reducing reliance on personal automobiles in Downtown and the surrounding areas.
Catalytic Projects Recommendations
Catalytic Project #1
Nueva Street Infill
The Nueva Street site consists of approximately 3.5 acres of commercial surface parking lots, totaling about 525 parking spots, serving people going to nearby destinations such as the Bexar County Courthouse and LaVillita. Three of the four parcels of land sit along the north side of East Nueva Street, while the fourth and largest parcel is on the south side. Nueva Street, while less than a mile in total length, directly connects to both the UTSA Downtown Campus, about one-half of a mile to the west, and Hemisfair, less than a quarter of a mile east of the site. Three of the four parcels abut the San Antonio River and all four have easy access to the River Walk. Additionally, South St. Mary’s Street runs along the eastern edge of the site presents an opportunity for future frequent transit service.
The surface parking lots are reimagined as new mixed-use buildings supporting the Downtown Area’s need for more housing, including below market rate units, and resident-supporting shops and services. A national brand anchor store will provide goods currently not available within the Downtown Aarea. The design concept will create a more inviting streetscape with much wider sidewalks, street trees providing shade and pleasant pedestrian spaces such as plazas with vegetation and art opportunities. The concept includes vertical public spaces catering to residents and office users in the form of amenity decks, siting areas, and observation decks to take in the view of the San Antonio River and of Downtown. The design also explores the viewshed of the Tower Life Building from areas to the south by locating buildings designed with plazas and shorter portions close to the intersection of East Nueva Street and Jack White Way, while taller portions are set back.
The vision for the Nueva Street Infill does not integrate any off-street parking and illustrates how new development in the Downtown core should not be reliant on cars but, rather, prioritize the pedestrian experience by providing ample sidewalk space, protected bike lanes, and high-quality, frequent, and reliable transit service in the form of bus rapid transit (BRT). The illustration shows the addition of dedicated BRT lanes on Navarro Street and St. Mary’s Street, as is proposed by VIA’s Rapid Transit Corridor planning, and a transit station would be just a short walk away.
Catalytic Project #2
Alamodome Parking Lots
The city-owned surface parking lots total approximately 27 acres and 2,600 parking spots on two tracts of land bisected by the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The larger tract, Lots B and C, is about 19 acres in size, with 1,700 parking spots, and is physically separated from the Alamodome by the railroad tracks, with access to the arena consisting of a single pedestrian underpass. The smaller tract, Lot A, is approximately 7 acres and is located immediately south of the arena. This tract also features a small warehouse and a small historic structure, the Roatzsch-Griesenbeck-Arciniega house, which hosts a “peek-in art gallery” known as the Jewelbox Project. In addition to parking for the up to 64,000 seat area, the site is periodically used for tailgating, carnivals, music, and community events.
Most affected by any future development on this site, by virtue of its proximity to the east across Cherry Street, is the Alamodome Gardens neighborhood, consisting of single-family homes one or two stories tall and a few low slung commercial properties fronting on to Cherry Street. To the north, the St. Paul Square Historic District is a revitalizing commercial and entertainment district connected to Downtown and the Eastside by Commerce Street. Additionally, VIA’s Robert Thompson Transit Station, located immediately north of the Alamodome, is the subject of a potential joint redevelopment effort by VIA to create an active mixed-use, multi-modal transportation hub with station facilities, retail space, and residential space. West of the site, on the other side of IH-37, is Hemisfair, home to the Tower of the Americas, Institute for Texan Cultures, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and planned office, residential, and commercial developments as well as a future world-class urban park.
The vision for the Alamodome Parking Lots is a mixed-income community with a variety of housing types, mixed-use buildings, and green spaces for parks and active recreation. Mindful that the existing parking lots serve the arena, the vision seeks to replace inefficient surface parking with integrated parking structures that accommodate both Alamodome visitors and residential parking, resulting in a more intentional and effective use of essentially vacant land. The parking structures are positioned so as to be screened from view of the neighborhoods to the east, and wrapped or located behind mixed-use buildings of equal or greater height. Multiple, separate parking structures allow for the creation of a partial street-grid within the site, reduce the overall mass of the buildings, and will allow for more efficient traffic ingress and egress during events.
Additionally, on the “Lot A” tract the concept provides public green space for parks and athletic fields on top of underground parking structures, maintaining a smaller area of surface parking, positioned close to the highway and away from the residential area, that is well planted with trees and can be flexibly employed for community events, tailgating and fan space. Accessible recreational spaces and parks are an acute need in this area of the near Eastside, as was repeatedly articulated throughout the planning process.
The vision for the Alamodome Parking Lots creates a mixed-income, mixed-use community with desirable retail and restaurant space integrated within multi-family buildings. This concept includes a concentration of commercial uses around shared pedestrian spaces that lead to the Alamodome. The vision includes not just market-rate units but dwelling units affordable for people living on the near Eastside today.
The design concept illustrates how residential buildings should interact with the street to create a dynamic and pedestrian-friendly streetscape with wider sidewalks, street trees to give shade, and separation from vehicles traveling on Cherry Street. The concept also illustrates how buildings along Cherry Street should be sensitively scaled to respect the existing adjacent neighborhoods to the east.