Weston Urban snatches up downtown hotel property near Market Square, UTSA, Mi Tierra

Photo of Madison Iszler

Weston Urban has purchased a 2-acre parcel with a hotel in west downtown, expanding the developer’s holdings there and giving it control of another city block.

Next to Denny’s LP, a partnership linked to Weston Urban, bought the La Quinta Inn at 900 Dolorosa St. from Cavalier Texas LP last week, deed records show.

It’s unclear what the San Antonio-based firm co-founded by Graham Weston paid for the property. It was valued at $8.2 million last year by the Bexar Appraisal District.

The 124-room hotel is across the street from Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia and Market Square and across Interstate 10 from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s downtown campus. It’s near the San Antonio police and fire departments’ headquarters and the federal courthouse.

Weston Urban owns an adjacent office building called Washington Square on 1.95 acres at 800 Dolorosa, giving it control of the nearly 4-acre block bounded by South San Saba, West Nueva and Dolorosa streets and South Santa Rosa Avenue.

READ MORE: With 32-story high-rise, Weston Urban is making a big bet on demand for downtown housing

CEO Randy Smith said the firm has no immediate plans for the property.

“Our bullishness on that stretch of downtown has only been amplified by UTSA,” Smith said, citing the university’s new School of Data Science and campus expansion plan. “We just felt like, given our current investment there at Washington Square, that it made all the sense in the world from a long-term perspective.”

Smith said Next to Denny’s, the name of the partnership used to buy the Dolorosa site, came from a joke his father told him. His father was repeating a joke by comedian Mitch Hedberg: “La Quinta is Spanish for ‘next to Denny’s.’”

Smith has used other quirky names for purchases, such as “All Out of Bubblegum LP,” “WWG Wobmisa Ltd.” and “Cabbage Ltd.”

Down the street, the firm also owns a 1.8-acre block bounded by Commerce, Dolorosa and Laredo streets and San Pedro Creek. The creek area is being transformed into a linear park with walking trails, landscaping and art.

Weston Urban plans to rehabilitate the former Continental Hotel, Arana building and Melchio de la Garza house and build a 16-story tower on that site.

The firm is partnering with the Bexar County Public Facility Corp., a nonprofit that was set up in part for the multi-structure redevelopment, which will include over 300 apartments, offices and retail space.

The county nonprofit would buy the site and lease it to Weston Urban, providing a property tax exemption for the project. In exchange, Weston Urban would rent at least half of the apartments to residents earning up to 80 percent of the area median income.

Smith said he hopes to begin construction on that project this summer.

Weston Urban has amassed more than 22 acres in the downtown area.

Its holdings include the Weston Centre offices; Houston Street buildings occupied by businesses and retailers; a building across from City Hall that it recently renovated; and the Milam building.

Weston Urban completed the Frost Tower in 2019. It is building a 32-story tower with around 354 apartments and retail at North Main and East Travis, which is expected to be completed next spring.

Late last year, a group of investors including Weston and Smith purchased the San Antonio Missions baseball team. The group plans to eventually build a new stadium in the downtown area but has remained mum on where it would be.

It won’t be on the Dolorosa properties, as a stadium would not fit there, Smith said. He said there are no updates on a location.

RELATED: Here’s how the deal to buy the San Antonio Missions baseball team came together

One potential site is the 2.3-acre former Fox Tech High School baseball field, which Weston Urban is set to acquire from the San Antonio Independent School District. In exchange, the district would receive 2.2 acres that the firm owns next to the field.

Other possible locations that have been floated in the past or identified in a 2016 report commissioned by the city include the Institute of Texan Cultures at Hemisfair, a city-owned parking lot just south of the Alamodome and another city-owned site between South Frio and South Salado near UTSA’s downtown campus.

Spurs shareholder Bruce Hill, Spurs chairman Peter J. Holt, onetime Clear Channel Communications radio executive Bob Cohen and former Mayor Henry Cisneros are investors.

Spurs legends David Robinson and Manu Ginobili, former Texas Secretary of State and business owner Hope Andrade, Avanzar Interior Technologies CEO Berto Guerra, Operational Technologies Corp. founder Max Navarro and the Cortez family of La Familia Cortez Restaurants are part of the group too.

They plan to make improvements to Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium, where the Missions currently play, to bring the aging facility in line with Major League Baseball standards.

Ryan Sanders Baseball — owned by the families of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan; his son and CEO Reid Ryan; and financier and former Houston Astros minority owner Don Sanders — will manage and co-own the Missions.