What is Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC)?
HPARC is a local government corporation (LGC). This is a corporate entity allowed by State law and enacted by a local government such as a municipality or county to act on behalf of the government. HPARC was created by the City of San Antonio to assist with acquiring property, planning, developing, constructing, managing, maintaining, and financing projects within Hemisfair and areas adjacent to or near Hemisfair. On August 13, 2009, City Council unanimously passed resolution 200908130025R, which created HPARC.
HPARC is governed by an 11-member board comprised of volunteers from a cross-section of local experts and stakeholders. Board Members are appointed by the Mayor of San Antonio and approved by City Council to serve four year terms.
How is HPARC funded?
HPARC relies on funding from the City of San Antonio, other public organizations, grants, and fundraising activities. Additionally, HPARC will assemble Public/Private Partnerships enabled by State law to bring private capital to facility development. It is envisioned that HPARC will be self-sustaining based on its role as land developer, facility operator, and maintenance manager.
Why is Hemisfair important now?
Great cities have great downtowns, and great downtowns have great urban parks. Hemisfair’s redevelopment is the most impactful downtown improvement in the next few years, and is a key component in transforming our city to achieve the goals established by our community and the SA2020 plan. With dreams of parks and green space, civic and cultural amenities, residences and local businesses, the plan will mature our iconic center city asset into a collective space bursting with use and excitement.
Is this a tourism project?
Hemisfair is built for locals. The redevelopment plan links the campus not only to downtown and its major assets, but also to adjacent neighborhoods including Denver Heights, Dignowity Hills, Jefferson Heights, King William and Lavaca. Hemisfair will include great parks and spaces open to all, as well as mixed-use living. Mixed use developments will include mid to high density residential with neighborhood retail and local commerce. Conventioneers and tourists will want to visit Hemisfair because its adjacency to the convention center and hotels and particularly because locals will be present. Thus, the vision for Hemisfair is a place for locals first, and where visitors are welcome.
What’s in it for residents of San Antonio?
Plans call for increased park area, plazas, open space, enhancements to the Magik Theater, and greater visibility for our cultural and educational institutions – UNAM, Instituto Cultural de Mexico and the Institute of Texan Cultures. The existing playground will be redeveloped into a play district including areas of recreation for children of all ages. The remnant of the Acequia Madre will be highlighted and serve as an educational tool to learn about the science and impact of the water system that helped develop San Antonio. City wide celebrations will continue and improve – New Year’s Eve, Luminaria and Fiesta activities will be some of the larger events planned in the new space, with smaller scale activation to occur on an ongoing basis. Hemisfair will bring more opportunities for all San Antonians to live, gather, celebrate, and be a part of what makes San Antonio unique.
How long is this project expected to take?
While the redevelopment of Hemisfair is at least a decade long process, the Civic Park is estimated to be functional for public use by 2017. In order to host the 50th anniversary of Hemisfair and the 300th year anniversary of our City’s founding, Hemisfair will be a central gathering place by 2018 to become San Antonio’s Front Porch.
How will construction be funded?
Various capital funding sources will be identified including bond funds, private development capital, grants, donations, market and historic tax credits, incentives, tax increment finance, and other legal financing sources.
What is Hemisfair’s role in the 2012 Bond Election?
There are two projects included in the 2012 Bond Election. A total of $30 million is proposed for Hemisfair development within the $596 million dollar Bond proposal. Based on Hemisfair’s Master Plan, $15 million includes restoration of historic buildings, the design of a world-class Civic Park, and the development of Plaza de Artes and a Children’s Square. The other $15 million is designated for reconstructing the historical Hemisfair area street grid. This includes connecting existing streets through Cesar Chavez to access Hemisfair and constructing new streets that follow the historic street patterns. Additional improvements include bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, and unique landscaping.
Will 2012 Bond funds be used to build the Streetcar?
The 2012 Bond funds will NOT be spent on the VIA Streetcar Project.
How does this project improve downtown housing?
Residential units in various building densities and heights will be constructed at Hemisfair. This may include a range of types, including market rate, affordable, and workforce housing, including ground-level townhouse configurations and lofts above shops and cafés. Mixed-use development is a critical component at Hemisfair to bring about 24/7 energy to the campus, along with its inherent passive security from eyes on the Park.
Will Hemisfair development take away public dollars for projects that would benefit San Antonio’s Southtown or Eastside?
Hemisfair’s plan execution will enhance development of, and connectivity to, the Eastside, Southtown and Lavaca neighborhoods, and improve our city core. Currently there are difficult pedestrian and street patterns that inhibit access to these areas and the plan brings clear solutions to the existing challenges.
What will happen to the buildings already on Hemisfair Grounds?
The Vision and Guiding Principles for HPARC help determine development decisions. Preservation is one of the seven key guiding principles. It is a goal to preserve, protect, and reuse the historic structures whenever possible. HPARC’s goal is to bring buildings back to life to play a vital role in the present. Each building will be carefully studied individually for re-use potential and overall fit into the master plan.
Will there be more parking? How much more?
With improvements to the northwest sector of the site for the Civic Park, at least one level of underground parking will be built. This will provide approximately 460 parking spaces in the first level and more than 900 spaces if two levels are built. An additional level of parking for the Plaza de Artes and Children’s Square may be located below the site along its Water Street frontage. This underground parking structure will accommodate approximately 130 parking spaces per level, with a possibility for building two levels. Parking will be integrated in most of the development projects. Street parking will add several hundred spaces as well. We anticipate adding approximately 2,000 parking spaces within the campus.
Will there be free parking?
HPARC and the City will consider the possibility of providing free parking on designated days and times. For instance, a new promotion by the City is Free Parking Tuesdays in all municipally owned garages (http://www.sanantonio.gov/dtops/downtowntuesday.aspx)
Why do you want to introduce more streets to downtown?
In an effort to open Hemisfair and connect it to its neighbors, we will reinstate the pre-1968 streets in their historic alignments where feasible. Much of the original street character will be restored, with typical street widths held to the scale of San Antonio’s historic residential neighborhoods. Streets will be designed as “Complete Streets” – ones that consider the pedestrian, bicycle, transit and wheelchair experience in addition to vehicular traffic. Imagine strolling down an avenue with cafes and stores spilling out onto the sidewalk—these are the types of streets we are going to introduce.
How much green space will be added?
The master plan shows the potential increase current parkland area. The removal of the western edge of the Convention Center allows Hemisfair to capture not only one of the most pedestrian trafficked areas in all of San Antonio but also to greatly increase the amount of usable public space, including green and hardscape areas.
How will the City keep Hemisfair safe and clean?
Currently, the area is monitored by San Antonio Parks Police daily and the San Antonio Police Department when needed. The City of San Antonio Parks Department provides trash removal and grounds keeping services. Revenue from property leases will fund any supplemental security and maintenance that may be necessary for activities that take place within the area. Eventually security costs and maintenance will be absorbed by HPARC through development income.
What will happen to the existing tenants of Hemisfair?
All current tenants will have a presence in the final plan. Furthermore, tenants will benefit from increased visibility and traffic. In some cases, current tenants will even benefit from newly created spaces that enhance their business or institution. Our intention is to accommodate cultural and civic tenants in better facilities and better locations.
What is planned for public art? Who will pay for public art?
Participants in the HPARC public input meetings expressed a desire for all types of artistic expression. New structures, building renovations, and open spaces will incorporate artistic design. HPARC will likely be the beneficiary of donated art and/or donations for public art. The HPARC Board of Directors, in collaboration with Public Arts San Antonio, will put forth a policy to guide decisions about public art integration and cultural activities.
How is Hemisfair economically sustainable?
A combination of grants, fundraising, donations, Public/Private Partnerships, and earned income from leases and parking would be used to fund the management, operations, maintenance and security of the Hemisfair area.
What “green” features will be planned?
Environmental considerations and energy efficiency are crucial components to the Hemisfair vision. All design features from landscaping to lighting will be aligned with San Antonio’s Mission Verde initiative and keep up to date with all sustainability measurements. HPARC will work side by side with SAWS, CPS, SARA and the City of San Antonio’s Office of Environmental Policy to maximize and leverage opportunities to pursue sustainability features, including green infrastructure, green retrofitting, green jobs programs, and green venture capital.
How can I learn about the Branding Process?
Hemisfair Park is now Hemisfair, with a new look, a new brand, a new logo. See how we incorporated the ’68 logo into the new brand, while reaching towards the future, bringing the city of San Antonio and the surrounding neighborhoods together as Hemisfair reclaims its place as a hub of entertainment, shopping and living.