A city commission is scheduled to pass judgement today on a developer’s proposal to erect a 74-foot-tall apartment building next to the 58-foot-high Hays Street Bridge, one of the most recognized landmarks in San Antonio, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated a Texas Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
The apartment building would block the view of the iconic bridge, and would be built on land donated by the Dawson family in 2005 to be a public park.
In 2014, a jury found that the City of San Antonio broke its 2007 agreement with the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group when, instead of building a park, it gave the land at 803 North Cherry Street to the Alamo Beer Company. But on March 1, 2017, the Fourth Court of Appeals ruled that the city was immune from being sued for breach of contract.
While the Restoration Group appeals that decision, the developer who bought the land, Mitch Meyer, of Loopy Ltd., is moving ahead.
After hearing nearly three hours of public comments overwhelmingly opposed to the development on Dec. 6, 2017, the Historic and Design Review Commission rejected Meyer’s first proposal to build a four-story apartment building. (Read more about that meeting and watch the video here )
Today's meeting was moved from Wednesday to Friday to acoomodate the funeral of Douglas Steadman, an engineer who spent decades fighting to preserve the bridge and co-founder of the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group. Watch a video of Steadman talking about the bridge here. Steadman also testified passionately against the development at the Commission's December meeting.
Meyer’s new proposal adds a fifth floor to the apartment building, which would be located about two car-lengths away from the historic bridge.
The new proposal was also roundly criticized by long-time residents when it was presented at a Feb. 6 meeting organized by Councilman William H. “Cruz” Shaw’s office.
Watch video of that meeting here: