Weston Urban seeks land for downtown baseball stadium

Developer Weston Urban is attempting to acquire land near San Pedro Creek to build a downtown ballpark.

The idea of ​​such a ballpark has been floated for years, but Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the current effort shows promise.

“This is a group of prominent business people who have the wherewithal to make it happen,” Wolff said, without naming those involved.

But Bernard Toomey, whose Toomey Family Limited Partnership owns 2.4 acres at West Martin and North Flores streets, said Weston Urban of San Antonio recently approached the family about buying the land for a stadium.

The parcel, located across from the Soap Factory Apartments, includes the former Alamo Downtown Automotive dealership and vacant lots.

Map of the area to be used for a potential ballpark

Monte Bach, San Antonio Express News

The family is not interested in a sale, at least for the time being. The value of the land has increased and “it will continue to increase,” Toomey said. The Bexar Appraisal District values ​​it at $6.5 million.

Weston Urban’s efforts were first reported by San Antonio Heron, who also reported that the developer had offered to purchase 0.83 acres along North Flores from Artpace San Antonio.

San Antonio Missions' CJ Abrams scores at Wolff Stadium.  The Double-A team has been involved in discussions about a possible new downtown stadium, but the nature of the talks is unclear.

San Antonio Missions’ CJ Abrams scores at Wolff Stadium. The Double-A team has been involved in discussions about a possible new downtown stadium, but the nature of the talks is unclear.

Kin Man Hui, San Antonio Express-News / Staff Photographer

The nonprofit is not attempting to sell its property, which includes a parking lot and workshop, Heron reported. Artpace did not immediately respond to a request from Express-News.

Weston Urban is acquiring the former Fox Tech High School baseball field, a 6-acre site adjacent to the Toomey property, from the San Antonio Independent School District.

The district is trading its land for 2.2 contiguous acres owned by Weston Urban. His board of trustees approved the swap in March.

Weston Urban co-founders Graham Weston and Randy Smith did not immediately respond to inquiries.

The properties are located near the northern portion of the creek, the first section converted from a ditch into the linear San Pedro Creek Culture Park with trails and art.

Many tries

The prospect of a baseball stadium in downtown San Antonio is not new—attempts to find a location have been made for years.

A study commissioned by the city in 2016 identified the Fox Tech area and nearby Weston Urban land as opportunities. Other options included parking near the Alamodome, the Institute of Texan Cultures, and the University of Texas on the downtown San Antonio campus.

But some of that land has since been developed, with UTSA expanding its campus and SAISD building its new headquarters. UTSA is currently seeking opinions on options for the institute’s future, which could include moving to a different part of town.

Properties near the San Antonio Museum of Art, on Government Hill near Pearl, and near Lone Star south of downtown have also been flooded in the past.

“There were many false starts that didn’t work out,” said Wolff.

Weston and his staff previously spoke to city and county officials about a ballpark as part of a broader conversation about downtown rejuvenation.

“It’s a missed opportunity not to have sport downtown,” Weston said in 2012.

Still, “there’s no chance I’ll build a stadium,” he added. “I believe in baseball downtown, and there are opportunities. But I’ll probably build apartments and other things that would fit around a stadium.”

In 2017, Smith said Weston Urban had been approached many times over the years about building a ballpark.

“From where I am now, it looks like more than a few things would need to happen for a downtown ballpark to be a reality on one of our properties,” Smith said at the time. “I’m not actively working on any of those things. We are currently focused on Frost Tower and our historical assets.”

Weston Urban has renovated buildings on Houston and Flores streets with office space for tech startups and retail.

In 2019, Frost Tower was completed, the first new downtown office tower since 1989.

The building was constructed as part of a public-private partnership between Weston Urban, Frost Bank and the city. As part of the deal, the city and Frost sold approximately 9 acres of downtown to the company, including the Municipal Plaza Building. Weston Urban opened a public park on a piece of this property in 2020.

The Company is currently constructing a 32-story residential building at North Main Avenue and East Travis Street with approximately 354 apartments and retail outlets on the first floor.

The Company plans to convert a block bounded by Creek and Commerce, Dolorosa and Laredo streets into a mixed-use development. It would renovate the Arana and Continental Hotel buildings and construct a 15-story building with approximately 255 units between the two buildings.

‘Buzz’ Bach

Wolff said a stadium along the revived creek would be attractive and could host events beyond baseball games.

“We put a lot of money into San Pedro Creek,” he said. “The creek is really humming with activity. It would be great to see a baseball field on it.”

More housing has been built in and around the city center in recent years, and residents can walk or bike to the stadium, which could bring more foot traffic to the area and limit parking needs, Wolff said.

“The Link,” a proposed quarter-mile park that would connect San Pedro Creek Culture Park to the San Antonio River Walk, would run through the area where Weston Urban plans to acquire real estate.

The link would begin on the river near Convent Park, extend west along the Savings Street right-of-way and through Soledad, Main and Flores to Camaron near the creek.

There have been talks between the group of business leaders and the Missions, the San Diego Padres’ Double-A affiliate, but Wolff said he was not privy to them.

A spokesman for the team, which plays at Wolff Stadium, did not immediately respond to a request. Spokesmen said the city and county had not been approached about the stadium.

Trish DeBerry, the Republican nominee for district judge and former district commissioner, said she was unaware of the recent search for a stadium site.

DeBerry said downtown revitalization is important and she is open to discussing potential opportunities if elected.

However, she added, “In a post-COVID environment, priorities really need to focus on working families, tax breaks, inflation, gas prices… all the things that have made it difficult to make ends meet.”

Wolff said he hadn’t heard a serious cost estimate for such a project. The city and county could potentially be involved, he said.

“Who knows – it can work, it can’t, but there’s a group trying,” Wolff said.

madison.iszler@express-news.net

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