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NEWS

ARTICLES :: MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENTS & MULTIUNIT

The Vistana

San Antonio, Texas - Located in San Antonio, Tex., The Vistana is a new mixed-use development that brings a great deal of vibrancy to the area. “The 14-story, 530,000-square-foot art deco building adjoins Milam Park and historic Market Square, and offers 247 market-rate units, 30,000 square feet of retail, a 491-car garage and storage rental,” said Edward A. Cross, II, of Vistana, Ltd., the project’s owner.

The cast-in-place, posttension concrete building has a brick and stucco exterior, according to Cross, and boasts 58 unique floor plans that include studios and one- to three-bedroom units ranging from 495 square feet to 3,700 square feet with polished concrete floors, high exposed ceilings, gourmet kitchens and ample natural light. “The landscaped amenity deck offers a heated [swimming] pool, a spa, a lawn, a fitness center, a party room, a conference room and a business center — all with panoramic views,” he said. “Retail includes a bank with three drive-through lanes and the new urban concept IHop Café.”

It was important the project visually connect with the existing area, which has a good deal of terracotta, brick and/or limestone architecture. “Vistana’s design sought to align itself to the continuum and build on the existing unique character,” said David Bomersbach, principal for RVK, the project’s architect of record.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Owner: Vistana, Ltd.
  • Type of Project: A new mixed-use building
  • Size: 530,000 square feet
  • Cost: $40 million (construction costs)
  • Construction Time: January 2007 - October 2009
  • The Need: A vibrant mixed-use development in San Ante
  • The Challenge: Sequencing construction activities within the restrictions of a tight site, and finding subcontractors who were versed in constructing high-rise apartment buildings

The Building of America Network Team Members

According to Bomersbach, the development’s composition reflects its mixed use. “The street-level retail functions are open and visual with black granite and brick piers; pedestrians are sheltered by a concrete awning,” he said. “Levels two through five accommodate parking and storage units. Importance was given to ventilate the parking without reducing the solidarity of the design. Brick patterns and an offset at the fourth level were designed to scale and articulate to the street zone. The body, made up of 247 loft-like apartment units, is simple with an expressive verticality.”

Residents who have units on the very top of the building are fortunate enough to enjoy some unique amenities. “The building is crowned by two-level penthouse Z-type units,” explained Bomersbach. “This level steps back, proportioning the scale of the building and providing balconies.” Amazing 360-degree views add to the units’ appeal.

Special care was also taken in the design and execution of the project’s interior design. “The building’s interior finish design provided economical materials throughout but blended them in a way that created a sense of warmth and openness to the spaces,” said Matt Frey, director of business development and marketing, and Bill Rees, project executive for CF Jordan Construction, LLC, the project’s general contractor. “Each unit had large windows, allowing tremendous exterior views that connected the interior space to the exterior. The color scheme in the units was simple and related to the loft theme of the interior spaces.”

Working on a tight downtown site was somewhat difficult for the team. “One of the challenges was sequencing construction activities within the restrictions of the site since the building was positioned less than two inches from property lines and had no space on site for storage or lay-down areas,” said Frey and Rees. “Deliveries had to be scheduled and coordinated with every trade on an hourly basis. Most major deliveries were scheduled as after hours to prevent congestion with crane and elevator usage.”

According to Bomersbach, another challenge stemmed from finding subcontractors who were versed in constructing high-rise apartment buildings. “The building type is not common in San Antonio, so subcontractors from other markets were key to getting the project built within budget,” he said.

The team members worked together from preconstruction to completion to develop a design that matched the needs of the owner and stayed within budget. “Multiple value-engineering ideas were discussed and modified to allow the final budget to meet the expectation of the owner,” said Frey and Rees. “After the design was developed to approximately 75 percent, a meeting encompassing all the design professionals, the general contractor and selected subcontractors, and the owner was held to review the design and offer suggestions on improving details along with value-engineering options. This tailored the end use of all value-engineering options for integration into the final construction documents.”

This type of cohesive, collaborative approach from quality team members ensured the project’s ultimate success. “It was reaffirming to work with a contractor like CF Jordan,” said David Rymer, president of Delta Granite and Marble, which was responsible for the units’ granite kitchen countertops. “Every project has it challenges, and The Vistana was no exception. The management style of the contractor’s project management team is critical to bring about quality solutions. As a subcontractor to CF Jordan, we always felt our efforts were appreciated.”


— Amy Pagett

 

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photos courtesy of Kathy Castañon, RVK Architects