Confluence Park, designed to teach students and the public about environmental sciences, will be the “front yard” of the lates NRP Group workforce housing apartment project.

NRP Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based developer of multifamily apartment communities, introduced itself to San Antonio real estate in 2003, starting as a producer of affordable and mixed-income housing.

The company’s early projects were in working class, lower-income neighborhoods inside Loop 410 and many of these projects relied on housing tax credit financing. But in recent years, NRP Group has taken on market rate projects in or near downtown.

The company joined the rush to get a share of the higher end urban infill projects. In 2016, when the northwest corner of Hemisfair Park was opened for mixed use development, the company partnered with Zachry Hospitality LLC to bring in winning proposal—a 380 residential concept with 75,000 square feet of retail, 70,000 square feet of office and a 200-room hotel.

The development team of NRP Group, Zachry, and the San Antonio Housing Trust is also constructing the 271-unit Crockett Lofts just north of Sunset Station at 239 Center Street; 136 of those units will be affordable workforce housing intended for teachers, police and other professionals in the community services.

NRP Group’s urban infill projects take advantage of the locations with unique attractions. Hemisfair Park is undergoing a major redevelopment effort backed by the city. Crockett Lofts is adjacent to St. Paul Square and next to the 6-acre G.J. Sutton Complex, which the state of Texas wants to convert into a mixed-use development.

Likewise, NRP Group partnered with James Lifshutz to bring Big Tex Apartments to the south end of the Blue Star Arts Complex.

NRP Group’s Rio Lofts project by Confluence Park is the first mixed-use modern urban infill project to appear south of U.S. 90 on the Probandt corridor.

Now, in a move that should make every other developer wonder why they didn’t think of it first, NRP Group has brought under contract land that will be across the street from Confluence Park.

Located at the confluence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, thus the name, Confluence Park is under construction and estimated to reach completion by December 2017. It is being built under the leadership of the San Antonio River Foundation and it is easily the most high-tech park in the city. The River Foundation designed the park to teach environmental sciences and sustainability.

It will transform a former industrial laydown yard into a unique, interactive learning and recreational space, with a large scale water catchment system, ecotype demonstration areas, and connections to the hike and bike system of the Mission Reach.

On April 12, the Planning Commission approved a request by NRP Properties LLC for an amendment to the South Central San Antonio Community Plan to change the land use designation for 319 W. Mitchell Street from Low Density Residential to Mixed Use.

The 1.7-acre property has been owned by Little Ladd Investment Company since 2001. It is leased to Delgado Funeral Home, which is still in business.

According to city records, NRP Group plans to build a four-story, 81-unit apartment complex called Rio Lofts. In a statement to the San Antonio Express-News, NRP said this will be a $16 million complex with 14 market rate units and 67 rent controlled units for workforce housing.

“The proposed mixed use aims to concentrate community scale commercial and residential uses to promote pedestrian activity and maintain unique character. The land use change to mixed use fits within the goals of the South Central San Antonio Community Plan to have mixed uses along the Probandt corridor,” the staff analysis said.

NRP Group described the architectural style for Rio Lofts as similar to the industrial warehouse style used at Southtown Flats.

The mixed use development referred to on the “Probandt corridor” has to date been limited to land adjacent to Blue Star Arts Complex.  There is Southtown Flats on Cevallos Street, across Probandt from Blue Star, and the aforementioned Big Tex. The architecture at Rio Lofts will mimic the “industrial warehouse” design at Southtown Flats.

Southtown Flats is one mile north of 319 W. Mitchell St. and on the north side of the U.S. 90 expressway. Calling this NRP project part of the Probandt corridor is a bit of a stretch.  It would be a stand-alone apartment building in what is otherwise a single-family neighborhood that was built between 1929-1950.

There are other projects in progress nearby that move mixed-use development further south on or near the corridor. These include the Lone Star Brewery redevelopment project and St. John’s Apartments—both high-density projects that encompass large tracts of land. NRP also has land under contract beyond the northeast corner of Lone Star Brewery for a future project.

However, NRP’s plans on West Mitchell Street are most dependent on Confluence Park as an attraction for residents, and their proximity to the Mission Reach trail.

Confluence Park is expected to become a major local attraction when it opens. The San Antonio River Foundation is coordinating with area school districts to schedule educational field trips.

 

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