$340 million plan for continued transformation of Hemisfair moves forward
Furthering its mission to make historic Hemisfair Park a world-class attraction for locals and tourists alike, the San Antonio City Council has announced an updated agreement to continue development in the growing downtown destination.
Working with Zachry Hospitality and the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC), the new plan, approved unanimously by San Antonio City Council on Thursday, April 7, outlines the process to deliver a hotel, park-facing activations, parking options, and more residential units to the original 2017 contract.
“This agreement is an important step forward, bringing one of the most critical pieces of real estate in San Antonio back to life in a way that befits the vision we had at the beginning,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg says in a release. “Fifty-four years after the opening of the World’s Fair that sought to put San Antonio on the international stage, we take this action in ushering forward the next chapter in Hemisfair’s redevelopment and its impact on our city.”
Originally built as the site of the 1968 World Fair in San Antonio, Hemisfair Park is once again a vibrant gathering place, thanks to a three-phase redevelopment plan implemented by the city in 2009. More than a decade later, the sustainable, self-funded urban district buzzes with local businesses, residences, and Yanaguana Garden. Today, Hemisfair has become one of San Antonio’s busiest pedestrian areas, due to its proximity to the River Walk, the Alamo, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, and the future Civic Park.
“This is a core piece of downtown property that not only anchors San Antonio’s central business district but also serves the entire community as evidenced by the success of the public-private-partnership next to Yanaguana Garden,” District 1 City Councilman Mario Bravo says. “I support this updated agreement with the understanding that the development team is committed to beginning construction as soon as possible, and I look forward to celebrating the grand opening of this project with our community when we welcome the NCAA Men’s Final Four to San Antonio, the first of many large scale events to come at Hemisfair.”
Construction on each of the new projects will begin by March 2023, with an expected completion date no later than March 2025. This week’s approval paves the way for $340 million in private investment in San Antonio’s downtown core while resolving funding challenges resulting from COVID-19 impacts. Privately financed parking garages will support the park and surrounding development as a result of the amended contract, alleviating the city’s previous commitment to funding and operating a $60 million parking facility. Also included in the agreement are 525 new residential units, a 200-room boutique hotel, 65,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and public parking without city funding.
“With this amendment, we’re delivering amenities that serve our park visitors, contribute to San Antonio’s economic recovery and help secure the Hemisfair District’s financial sustainability,” says Andres Andujar, CEO of Hemisfair. “We’re grateful to the city and our development partners for working diligently with us to produce an amendment that will serve San Antonio for generations to come.”