Artista Riverwalk hotel wades through design board

Developer Harris Bay’s fifth time before S.A. Historic Design and Review Commission

151 East Travis Street and Harris Bay's Jake Harris  (Harris Bay)
151 East Travis Street and Harris Bay's Jake Harris  (Harris Bay)

Planning an eight-story hotel on the San Antonio Riverwalk has been no cakewalk for developer Harris Bay.

The Artista hotel this week went before the city’s Historic Design and Review Commission for the fifth time, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

Harris Bay and architectural firm Creo propose to build the hotel at 151 East Travis Street with 112 rooms and 2,500 square feet of meeting and event space.

The Artista, in the works since 2018, has been redesigned based on city feedback. The developer has agreed to repurpose any stone walls it removes somewhere in the building’s design. Plans now feature more brick and ensure that outdoor furniture and utilities won’t impede pedestrian traffic on the Riverwalk.

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The developer cut plans for a large vertical sign with the Artista name and a cantilevered portion that would hang over the San Antonio River. Other features of the original design, like the Juliet balconies, were cut due to construction costs.

“Some of the materiality — going from brick to a plaster kind of finish — those are some of the other things that we’ve layered into it,” Harris Bay managing partner Jake Harris told the outlet. “Which is accustomed to some of the other buildings in downtown, so it’s just more cost effective. I wanted to do all-brick facades, but my budget and the construction costs have prevented that.”

Harris said his firm is optimistically planning for a groundbreaking for the project in the first quarter of 2023. Once construction begins, it should take about 18 to 24 months for the first hotel rooms to be ready.

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— Victoria Pruitt