1221 Broadway

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Since 2004, a vacant and heavily vandalized building shell occupied a high-profile site at the convergence of Interstates 35 and 37. Once referred to as “Ghost Town,” and described by the San Antonio Express-News as “the biggest homeless shelter run by the homeless,*” the complex had become a site of criminal activity, ranging from theft and vandalism to burglary and assault.

* “‘Ghost Town’ Getting Eviction Notice,” by Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio-Express News. April 15, 2010. http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/ Ghost-Town-getting-eviction-notice-793670.php


an u rban mixed -use d evelop ment client AREA + Cross & Company project size 596,500 sq. ft.: 331,250 sq. ft. apartments 79,250 sq. ft. office & retail 186,000 sq. ft. garage in association with OCO Architects awards 2013 Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence Finalist 2013 Texas Society of Architects Design Award 2013 Residential Architect Grand Award 2012 AIA San Antonio Design Award 2012 Builder’s Choice Award 2012 San Antonio Green Building Award 2012 San Antonio Business Journal, Best Residential Award 2012 San Antonio Downtown Alliance, Best Residential Award

The neglected property was eventually auctioned on the courthouse steps, and the new owners saw the potential for these three city blocks between the urban corridor of Broadway Street and the San Antonio River to become a revitalized hub for River North. The challenge for the design team was to creatively adapt the existing superstructure into the new owner’s vision and program. The western block of the project connects to the San Antonio River; the eastern block, with frontage off the main urban corridor of Broadway Street, will contain retail and office space on the first floor and housing on levels two through four.

To achieve the transformation of this urban living compound, the adaptive-reuse construction of 1221 Broadway took shape in two phases: phase one to renovate the existing 300 apartments and five courtyards, and phase two to renovate retail and office space in the Broadway building on the eastern block. Phase one involved re-skinning the existing building and making windows larger to allow more natural daylight in the apartments.

The floor plans of twenty-eight different unit types—including studios, one-bedroom lofts, and two-bedroom lofts—were completely changed from the previous owner’s designs. In addition, the five-story parking garage was finished out and roofed, and retail and restaurant space on the street were restored to help revitalize Broadway as a new pedestrian corridor.

The connection to the five courtyards and to the outdoors creates both a unique oasis and urbane street presence. These courtyards link urban living with nature, and provide outdoor activity and gathering spaces. All circulation is outdoors on single-loaded cantilevered walkways linked by bridges over Avenue B and alleys to the garage.

The project has served as a catalyst for nearby urban redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization. Located on the edge of downtown along the San Antonio River, with an underserved residential and commercial district to the north, 1221 Broadway is uniquely positioned to reconnect these disparate parts of the city and bring residential life to the downtown area. Along with the complete makeover of an abandoned superstructure, a B-Cycle station, River Walk access, and a frequent taco truck further enhance this project as a vibrant urban living area.

Lake|Flato Architects 311 Third Street, San Antonio, Texas 78205 210.227.3335 www.lakeflato.com