$93M historic factory redevelopment in San Antonio ignites lawsuit 

Provident Realty Advisors plans to turn Friedrich complex into apartments

Historic Redevelopment in East Side San Antonio Ignites Lawsuit
Provident's Leon Backes with 1617 East Commerce Street (Provident Realty Advisors, Google Maps, Getty)

A planned $93 million redevelopment in East Side San Antonio prompted a property owner to sue the developer behind the project. 

Provident Realty Advisors razed most of the Friedrich Refrigerators complex to make way for an apartment complex, but one standing building is at the center of the lawsuit, the San Antonio Express-News reported

The building, at Commerce and Olive streets, is still held by the previous owner of the complex. A 2020 agreement stipulated that Provident was to hire a structural engineer and stabilize the building, and demolish the rest of the complex, by February 2021, the outlet said.

The owner alleges that Provident failed to secure the three-story building before tearing down surrounding structures, raising fears of potential collapse. 

Last week, Friedrich Lofts Ltd., which is connected to Dallas developer John Miller, sued two Provident-affiliated entities. The suit accuses them of breach of contract and fraud that inflicted property damages and hindered the effective use of the 70,000-square-foot building.

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The Friedrich complex, which ceased operations in 1990 and was acquired by Friedrich Lofts Ltd. in 1999, has seen numerous renovation attempts. A 2017 agreement between Friedrich Lofts Ltd. and Provident aimed to rejuvenate the area, while preserving the historic landmark building. However, Provident had ample time to stabilize the structure but failed to take necessary actions, the lawsuit claims.

Provident began demolition last spring, envisioning a transformative project that would yield 358 apartments and a parking garage within three years. The development, in collaboration with the San Antonio Housing Trust, is expected to offer a mix of market-rate and affordable units, the outlet reported. 

Friedrich Lofts Ltd. is seeking over $1 million in damages, along with legal fees, and the project’s future is uncertain.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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