Frost Bank Office Tower Concept Would Change Downtown Skyline

Jun 27, 2014

Downtown San Antonio may be changing with the construction of the first office tower built there since the late 1980s.

A plan by Frost Bank, Weston Urban and the city of San Antonio is in the works in a public-private partnership to build an "iconic" office tower catty-corner to the current Frost Bank Tower on Houston Street.

In explaining the concept, Mayor Julián Castro said Thursday it's nothing but momentum that resulted in this complex deal. City leaders say that it will be cost-neutral to the taxpayers of San Antonio.

On the table is a proposal that would add a skyscraper to the downtown skyline. It would create a new headquarters for Frost and 300 housing units. On the city side, city offices would consolidate from five buildings around downtown and move into the current Frost tower on Houston.

"It would add an additional 732 parking spaces to downtown," said District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal. "There's been a lot of discussion about if we're having a decade of downtown, we want to bring people here. We want to make sure that they can find a place to park and enjoy it."

Officials believe there is a demand for Class A office space, the type that are the most well-constructed and located, as this one is proposed to be. Randy Smith, the CEO of Weston Urban, said believes there is a demand for this type of mixed-use development, especially since downtown San Antonio currently only has two, maybe three, Class A office buildings.

Castro echoed those sentiments.

"We're doing a great deal to get folks back into the buildings that need to be occupied," Castro told reporters. "But what we have heard very consistently over the years is that one of the challenges for San Antonio in economic development is Class A office space in downtown San Antonio. That is a very particular, specific need. So having a building like this would be great for Frost, would also be great to the extent there's space to lease out to other tenants as well."

The deal was an unsolicited request from Frost and Weston Urban. Under guidelines created by the city council, the city will now require a detailed plan to be submitted within 45 days.

The city can consider any competing proposal and will also have a two month time frame for public input.