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Cityscrapes: Word Game

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A map detailing proposed land use in HemisFair's master plan

That portion of the plan document with the site development plans and potential height limits isn’t much help either. The site plan identifies a whole host of locations with the designation “New Mixed Use.” And for the key development sites at the corner of Market and Alamo Streets, the sites that sit atop proposed underground parking, the defined use is “commercial with civic uses.”

Even better, for those key building sites, page 31 of the plan indicates a “potential very tall focus building site” over 75 feet tall. So now we combine “boutique” hotel of unspecific size with “very tall focus building site” and what do we have? A 20- or 30-story “full service” hotel perhaps, on a focal point site ripe for development.

There have been lots of shenanigans in Austin over the proposal to deny San Antonio voters any direct say in the redevelopment of HemisFair, justified by lots of pious comments about development flexibility and financial support for the proposed park area. Now is the time for the HemisFair word games to stop. Concerned citizens have an opportunity to attend a June 11 HemisFair workshop focusing on what’s now called the “civic park;” supposedly the first in a series of public meetings concerning the programming and design of the space. Registration, however, closed Monday. Let’s hope someone inquires about the presence of a “Full-Service Boutique Hotel,” including a maximum room count and a height limit, ensuring that HemisFair becomes truly a civic park, and not a vehicle for enriching one or another privileged developer.

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