Harris Bay’s Riverwalk hotel dissolves into foreclosure

Never started constructed on planned 112-room Arista Hotel

Harris Bay’s Jake Harris with a rendering of the foreclosed property at 151 East Travis Street (Harris Bay, Creo Architecture)
Harris Bay’s Jake Harris with a rendering of the foreclosed property at 151 East Travis Street (Harris Bay, Creo Architecture)

The site of Harris Bay’s once-promising hotel project on the San Antonio Riverwalk is now headed to the auction block.

A foreclosure sale has been scheduled for the downtown property at 151 East Travis Street, after the California-based firm defaulted the loan it took out from Equity Secured Capital just before the pandemic, the San Antonio Business Journal reported. Harris Bay owes about $2.1 million.

Harris Bay bought the property, valued at nearly $4 million for tax purposes, in 2019. It planned to deliver an eight-story, 112-room Arista Hotel. The $19 million project went through multiple reviews by the Historic and Design Review Commission, the most recent being in November 2022. 

The company had planned to start construction last summer, targeting completion at the end of 2024, but a shovel never hit the ground.

Harris Bay managing partner Jake Harris previously cited rising interest rates, construction costs and inflation as obstacles to the project’s commencement, calling such expenses “a runaway train.” 

The auction is scheduled for June 4. Substitute trustees Michael Flume, Guillermo Dekat, Celinda Baez Guerra and Shelley Flume will handle the auction. 

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Downtown San Antonio’s hospitality industry is buoyed by popular tourist attractions such as the Riverwalk and The Pearl district, spawning a flurry of investment and development activity over the past year. 

Trailbreak Partners and Scarlett Hotel Group, for instance, are in the homestretch of their $158 million transformation of the former Wyndham hotel in downtown San Antonio. In April, Sunstone Hotel Investors paid $230 million for the 630-key Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk. 

Yet, a strong tourism industry doesn’t make hotel landlords immune to the growing distress wave that’s wreaked havoc on commercial real estate since last year. 

El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel went into foreclosure last year, after Alamo Equity failed to pay off its $6.34 million mezzanine loan. An Embassy Suites on San Antonio’s Northwest Side went up for sale via foreclosure last year, as well. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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