Downtown Housing: How City Incentives Change the Game

January 9, 2015 by Russell Yeager

San-Antonio-franchise-opportunity-men-in-kilts-window-cleaningDowntown San Antonio Skyline

In 2012 the City of San Antonio was seeking to activate downtown with new life, permanent residence, and retail tenants.  In order to make this a reality, the City Council sought to put in place merit based, as of right, incentives for targeted areas.  Since the 2012 San Antonio’s downtown has blossomed with $1 billion in public improvements in San Antonio’s downtown area.

The City of San Antonio: The 2012 San Antonio City Council sought to quell the uncertainty behind use of incentive policies to attract development downtown.  The Council enacted policies to focus on historic building rehabilitation, residential development for market rate and student housing, mixed-use retail or commercial space.  With the creation of the Center City Development Office (CCDO) the City gave structure to their Inner City Reinvestment Policy (ICRIP) and Center City Housing Incentive Poilicy (CCHIP) to focus on key initiatives.  Utilizing these incentives for projects is part of making these complicated projects a reality.  

Since the inception of these programs, the City has committed over $46 million in tax incentives to stimulate over $508 million in development.  These projects include the growth of strong exiting neighborhoods and encouraged the redevelopment of underutilized buildings in the Central Business District, Historic Districts and the buffer areas around active Military Bases.  Projects like the Peanut Factory, the Aviator at Brooks City Base, and many others have utilized and reworked existing historic structures to provide unique housing options with historical character. The Peanut Factory lofts received $10 million in support from the city with a package of about $1.4 million in incentives including the sale of City-owned land near the property for surface parking. The Peanut Factory Lofts seek to house professionals, families and University of Texas at San Antonio students in the downtown core. Construction on the Peanut Factory Lofts began in the spring of 2013, less than a year after City Council’s implementation of policies granting tax reimbursement grants, loans and fee waivers based on a formula per project. The lofts stand incorporated the historic 1912 Birdsong Peanut factory into the site.  The site is currently leasing well.

BIG RED DOG San Antonio has worked with many developers to help them develop projects in the downtown core and make the right connections with the City to utilize incentives.  Projects like the Peanut Factory Lofts, Rivera, the Elan Riverwalk Apartments, the Park at Lonestar and many more since 2012.

The city’s goal of 7,500 housing units by 2012 is well underway with almost 4,000 housing units completed or coming online in 2015. 2015 offers San Antonio continued growth, ranking second in the U.S. for cities gaining momentum after the Recession by Forbes Magazine.   The growth of downtown housing since 2012 exemplifies the impact of tax incentives in the City.

If you are looking to work with the City of San Antonio incentive policies, or develop a unique project, please feel free to call BIG RED DOG, we’ve done this before.

Written by Russell Yeager

Russell Yeager

As Market Director for our Commercial Services practice, Russell Yeager is responsible for managing our Raving Fans and prospective clients, overseeing the performance of our project design teams, steering our brand marketing strategy, and spearheading our community outreach and volunteer efforts. Russell is a proud University of Texas graduate – Hook ‘Em! He and his wife Jordan live in Northwest San Antonio.