Redevelopment of vacant Scobey complex near West Side is on track


A row of vacant industrial buildings on the nearby West Side is about to be turned into a mixed-use development.

VIA Metropolitan Transit’s board of directors recently authorized staff to negotiate an exclusive deal with a subsidiary of local company DreamOn Group to renovate the Scobey complex.

DreamOn was founded in 2019 by Julissa Carielo, who started outsourcing company Tejas Premier Building Contractor Inc., and Rene Garcia, who spent over 35 years working for the Zachry family in construction and development.

DreamOn’s proposal for the Scobey site at 301 N. Medina St. includes residential, commercial, educational, office, catering and parking elements as well as indoor / outdoor activity areas and park spaces, said VIA spokesperson Lorraine Pulido.

The company is working with the architectural firm Overland Partners and Geyser Group, a real estate investor who will help finance.

The vacant Scobey complex was built in the early 1900s and used by a transport and logistics company until the early 1970s. It consists of five buildings over more than 2.5 hectares.

Local developer Ed Cross bought it in 1999 and made several unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the property.

He proposed it as a potential headquarters for the San Antonio water system and the San Antonio Police Department, but the two organizations chose other sites. A deal to sell it to another developer who wanted to turn it into office space and multi-family units failed.

In 2017, VIA purchased the property for $ 5.2 million from two partnerships managed by Cross.

The agency sees it as a mixed-use project near its headquarters and Centro Plaza transit hub – and a potential source of income. Since its purchase, VIA has repaired the roof, cleaned up trash and debris and added a new fence, Pulido said.

VIA issued a call for proposals for the refurbishment of the Scobey complex in the fall of 2020 and received responses from DreamOn and Mission DG, a local development company in which former mayor Henry Cisneros is a partner.

DreamOn scored higher in an assessment with criteria that included development details, financial performance, past experience, timeline, and a transit-focused project approach, a policy adopted by VIA in 2018. .

During a board meeting on October 19, administrator Louis Cooper expressed reservations about the project.

“It looks like VIA keeps pushing this instead of the regular way that you have a property, the developers come to you with a plan. It’s like we’re chasing someone trying to make sure we do something with this property, but I think it’s very premature to do that at this point, ”he said. “And then reducing it to one person, one company, it’s definitely not – I don’t think it’s a national company – just scares me a little.”

Cooper, however, later voted in favor of the deal.

VIA officials said the joint development process generally follows this model and the agency would not have received any proposals if it was premature. They also noted that the deal does not cost VIA anything.

Javier Paredes, the project board liaison officer, expressed confidence in the background and experience of the team.

The board then approved the deal without discussion at its October 26 meeting. After working on the non-binding agreement with DreamOn, the next steps are to develop a condition sheet, which would include potential revenue streams for VIA, and to execute a joint development agreement.

“We are very pleased to have been selected by VIA to work on this initial phase of development of the Scobey complex,” Garcia said in an email. “The DreamOn group is focused on high impact projects for our community, and this project fits that mission. We look forward to what this project will do for the San Antonio.

More developments are looming on the horizon on the West Side, which is cut off by railroad tracks and a freeway, dotted with government buildings and home to the Haven for Home homeless shelter.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is expanding its downtown campus, improvements to San Pedro Creek are underway, and local developer Weston Urban has mixed-use projects underway in the downtown west.

Nonprofit developer Alamo Community Group plans to build an affordable housing complex at 811 W. Houston St. near VIA’s Centro Plaza. Less than two miles west of the Scobey Buildings, DreamOn is working with Prosper West to renovate the Basila Frocks Building for the association’s headquarters, small businesses and community gatherings.

The impending activity has raised concerns over gentrification and the loss of historic buildings in the area. A recent example: a battle that erupted last spring over a proposal to withdraw the historic designation of the Whitt Printing Co. building and demolish it.

The Lim family – who own the property in Houston, Commerce and Frio Streets – could not afford to rehabilitate it and sought to raze it because the developers had expressed interest in purchasing the site, their lawyer told the ‘Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).

But city staff said they had not provided evidence that the building no longer met the designation criteria or that it could not be adapted or sold.

Conservatives said the building’s history around 1930 is significant and that options other than demolition should be explored. Gilberto Whitt fled Mexico to San Antonio during the Mexican Revolution and started a business that printed publications in Spanish, according to city staff.

Other residents said the building was a dangerous horror that should be demolished.

The HDRC ultimately voted in favor of a plan to preserve parts of the building, such as its concrete frame and facade, and remove other components, such as its roof and wall infill.


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