Aztec Theater wants to turn vacant office space into boutique hotel and add rooftop restaurant, bar

The owners of downtown’s historic Aztec Theater want to turn several floors of long-vacant offices into a boutique hotel — and add a rooftop restaurant and bar.

Aztec Family Group LLC, which includes local restaurateur Sam Panchevre, has a 40-year lease agreement with Dallas-based Shreem Capital, an investment firm that focuses on buying, developing and managing hotels.

They would turn four floors of current office space at the live music and event venue into about 77 guest rooms and suites, according to materials submitted to the city’s Historic and Design Review Commission.

The roof would get a kitchen, bar and outdoor dining area overlooking the River Walk.

On ExpressNews.com: Former CPS Energy building to undergo multimillion-dollar renovation

Renderings of proposed renovations to the Aztec Theater in downtown San Antonio.

Courtesy of Overland Partners

The HDRC recently gave conceptual approval to the designs, which would have to go back to the commission for a final green light.


Panchevre said the designs, hotel brand and concept were still being finalized and declined to discuss the plans further. He said he expects to return to the HDRC in late April or May.

The theater opened in 1926. The next year, it showed San Antonio its first talking picture, “Don Juan” with John Barrymore.

The Aztec has changed hands and undergone multiple renovations since then and at one point was at risk of being razed. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Aztec Family Group LLC bought it in 2014. Its previous plans for the underused offices have included apartments and a hotel.

Demand for office space downtown has declined during the coronavirus pandemic as companies have adopted remote and hybrid work models. Hotels have also struggled due to the area’s reliance on business travel and conventions.

Renderings of proposed renovations to the Aztec Theater in downtown San Antonio.

Renderings of proposed renovations to the Aztec Theater in downtown San Antonio.

Courtesy of Overland Partners

Apartments with services

Two complexes will offer lower-priced apartments along with food pantries, parenting classes and financial literacy assistance.

Cohen-Esrey is partnering with the San Antonio Housing Trust and SA Hope Center to build 212 units at 363 N. General McMullen Drive, across from Rosedale Park on the West Side.

All units at the $42 million complex will be for residents earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, which is $31,140 annually for one person and $44,460 for a family of four.

SA Hope Center will provide a food pantry, parenting classes, case management and workforce development and financial literacy services.

“Providing transformational programs in close proximity to affordable housing creates direct access for those seeking to become economically mobile and build strong healthy families,” said Megan Legacy, the nonprofit’s CEO.

Prospera Housing Community Services is also working with the housing trust to reconstruct and renovate 234 apartments at 3815 West Ave. on the North Side.

Cohen-Esrey is developing the Loma Vista apartments in partnership with the San Antonio Housing Trust and SA Hope Center.

Cohen-Esrey is developing the Loma Vista apartments in partnership with the San Antonio Housing Trust and SA Hope Center.

Courtesy

San Antonio-based Prospera will combine two complexes into one dubbed Arbors at West Avenue, a $51.2 million project that will include 43 units using housing assistance payments, according to the housing trust.

Ninety-eight units will be for residents earning up to 50 percent of the area median income, or $25,950 a year for one person and $37,050 for a family of four.

Sixty units will be for residents earning up to 60 percent of the area median income and 33 units for residents making up to 80 percent of the area median income, or $41,520 annually for one person and $59,280 for a family of four.

Prospera will offer “services that address social determinants of health factors such as food insecurities, economic stability, health and wellness programs, educational programs for youth resident(s) and social and community engagement,” said Scott Ackerson, executive vice president at Prospera.

Under state law, apartments built with a public facility corporation arm of the housing trust receive a full property tax exemption and developers also do not have to pay sales tax on construction purchases.

In exchange, at least half of the units must be reserved for people with below-median incomes. Another arm of the trust also issues bonds for housing projects.

madison.iszler@express-news.net

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