Industrial buildings near former Lone Star Brewery to be replaced with apartments, retail

Photo of Madison Iszler

Off the Mission Reach section of the River Walk in Southtown, near trendy apartments, breweries and restaurants, an industrial area may be on the verge of morphing into a similar blend of fashionable uses — though a 32-acre albatross threatens to impede its potential.

Among those seeking to lead such a transformation, developer David Adelman plans to demolish a 40,000-square-foot warehouse at 410 Probandt St. and build an apartment complex with about 200 units and 3,000 square feet of retail space.

With construction potentially beginning this summer, Adelman’s project would cater to tenants seeking an urban lifestyle who want to live within a short walk or bicycle ride of dining establishments and the Mission Reach, which was completed in 2013. The $42 million complex, near the San Antonio River’s west bank, will have kayaks and paddleboards for tenants to use, Adelman said.

“People will have flexibility in how they live,” he said.

Next door, a recycling facility at 400 Probandt is expected to be replaced with roughly 300 apartments developed by OHT Partners with investor and attorney Jimmy Nassour of Austin.

“The project will redevelop an existing, active trash and recycling facility, which will help revitalize the corridor and catalyze future development,” OHT said in a design application to the city last year.

More in store across river

Bakke Development Corp. has converted a warehouse at 207 Roosevelt Ave., near the river’s east bank, into its offices. The company plans to add retail and outdoor seating at the site — creating “a neighborhood entertainment center,” Alamo Architects principal Jerry Lammers told a city commission last year.

At 421 Roosevelt Ave., several commercial buildings previously used by Alsco, a company that provides uniform rental and laundry services, were demolished. A limited partnership led by developer James Lifshutz bought the nearly 4.6-acre site in 2021.

Harris Bay, a private equity firm with offices in San Antonio and California, is also renovating warehouses near G.W. Brackenridge High School.

The sites are close to the Blue Star Arts Complex — also developed by Lifshutz — and apartments that have arisen within the past decade or so, including Southtown Flats, the Flats at Big Tex, Steel House Lofts and Trove Southtown, formerly known as Cevallos Lofts. All were built with public incentives.

Probandt from South Alamo to Highway 90 is set to get a $5.2 million makeover through the city’s 2017-22 bond package.

Apartment development has been on the rise in recent years within the area bounded by the San Antonio River to the east, South Alamo Street to the north, South Flores Street to the west and Interstate 10 to the south. Multifamily inventory there has increased to 1,188 apartments in first quarter 2023 from 896 at the end of 2017, according to real estate data firm CoStar.

“We are very excited about new development as it is moving farther and farther south,” said Jeff Hunt, president of the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association. “It would be good if we could get it to cross over Highway 90.”

Association members want to see more local businesses move in and variety in rental rates so residents with modest means can find housing, Hunt said.

“We think Southtown is a great place to live,” Hunt said.

The Lone Star Neighborhood Association did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

Lone Star stagnation?

With such activity, property values are rising. The median value of single-family homes within two miles of Blue Star rose from $71,690 in 2017 to $163,500 in 2022, according to the Bexar Appraisal District.

However, amid the growth rests a hulking obstacle: the former Lone Star Brewery.

Several proposals to remake the 32-acre site along the river into a mixed-use development have gone nowhere. It continues to attract graffiti taggers and vagrants.

Most recently, local firm GrayStreet Partners bought the property and teamed with Houston-based developer Midway to bring housing, offices, restaurants, art and green space.

But GrayStreet and Midway put it back on the market last year, casting uncertainty over what will come of their plan. Midway said it and its partners are “exploring the opportunity to sell all or part” of the site.

A listing touts its river frontage and the “substantial retail, office, multifamily and hospitality demand in the area,” but it also notes there are “significant barriers to entry.”

A spokesperson for Midway said the firm has no updates to share. GrayStreet managing partner Kevin Covey did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

“The feeling of disappointment from the residents in Lone Star and Roosevelt Park is a familiar feeling when it comes to Lone Star Brewery,” Hunt said.

Though it’s an eyesore, Hunt said he does not think it is a hindrance to development in the area — “they’re willing to build more apartments across the street,” he said, referring to Adelman and OHT’s projects.

“We still hope that someday it will be renovated and completed,” Hunt said.

Hunt said he hopes other empty buildings will receive makeovers too, such as CPS Energy’s defunct power plant on Mission Road. The site was slated to become an innovation center for startups, but it did not raise enough money to complete renovations.

Adelman said he hopes Lone Star’s makeover happens sooner than later, but with construction costs and interest rates increasing, it’s become more difficult to advance projects.

When his Probandt complex and OHT and Nassour’s adjacent development are completed “and as we have success, then those data points of performance can help get something like Lone Star going,” Adelman said.