The ULI Advisory Service Panel will be making recommendations regarding the final phase of Hemisfair’s master plan, known as the Eastern Zone, with the goal being to create an active urban district that will foster community cohesion and advance the area as a critical connector between previously disengaged sectors of the urban core.
WASHINGTON (April 25, 2019) – A group of nationally renowned land use, real estate, urban planning, and parks experts representing the Urban Land Institute (ULI) will be in San Antonio next week to provide strategic advice on the transformation of the eastern portion of the Hemisfair site downtown into an urban district with park space that serves as a focal point for the community. ULI is a global, multidisciplinary real estate organization whose work is driven by 43,000-plus members dedicated to responsible land use and building thriving, sustainable communities.
The ULI representatives, convened through the institute’s renowned Advisory Services Program, will be visiting the city April 28 through May 3. They will be making recommendations regarding the final phase of Hemisfair’s master plan, known as the Eastern Zone, with the goal being to create an active urban district that will foster community cohesion and advance the area as a critical connector between previously disengaged sectors of the urban core. The advisory panel is being supported by a generous charitable gift from Silver Ventures, a San Antonio-based private equity investment firm. The gift was made in furtherance of Silver Ventures’ commitment to encourage best practices in the development of San Antonio’s central city.
The panelists will focus on:
Finding opportunities to strengthen the attractiveness of the park and identify opportunities to leverage private development that brings people to the area and supports surrounding economic impacts;
Identifying appropriate future uses for the existing building inventory of historic and non-historic properties, including potential commercial uses and strategies to establish development requirements to develop the park, and achieve sustainability and resiliency goals; and
Incorporating best practices from similar park models across the country, with a specific focus on financial sustainability.
The panel is being conducted in conjunction with the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a national movement striving to ensure that residents of urban neighborhoods throughout America have access to a high-quality park within a ten-minute walk from their homes. The 10-Minute Walk Campaign, which has been endorsed by over 230 mayors, involves a partnership between the Urban Land Institute, The Trust for Public Land, and the National Recreation and Park Association.
The Hemisfair site was initially developed to host Hemisfair ’68, a world’s fair-style celebration of San Antonio’s 250th anniversary. Fifty years later, the site’s long-underutilized Eastern Zone is ripe for reuse, said Janis Ploetz, manager of ULI San Antonio. “This space is gaining new relevance as a place to make San Antonio residents, employees and visitors feel more connected to the city, and which promotes health and wellness. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have ULI’s experts advising us on advancing the vision for the site and helping to bring us closer to imagining the highest and best use for the Hemisfair site’s eastern section.”
Leading ULI member Alex Rose, a ULI Trustee and senior vice president of development at Continental Development Corporation in El Segundo, California, will chair the panel. “It is a privilege and honor for ULI members to be invited to San Antonio to share their respective experience and expertise to assist the community in assessing the opportunities presented by the Hemisfair site,” Rose said. “The true value of the panel’s work lies in the comprehensive community engagement process that ULI utilizes to understand the site, what it means to the community and how the community envisions the site’s place in the urban fabric going forward. The panel is looking forward to a week full of robust conversations with community stakeholders, and to producing a rich array of alternatives for the community to consider going forward.”
Rose will be joined by: Marina Badoian-Kriticos, research scientist, Energy and Natural Resource Policy, Houston Advanced Research Center, The Woodlands, Texas; Dan Conway, president, THK Associates, Inc., Aurora, Colorado; Rick Dishnica, president, The Dishnica Company, LLC, Point Richmond, California; Allen Folks, principal and director of design and planning, Ascent, Sacramento, California; Joyce Lee, president, IndigoJLD, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Riki Nishimura, director of urban strategies, Gensler, San Francisco, California; Tyrone Rachal, president, Red Rock Global Capital Partners, Atlanta, Georgia; and Janine Sisak, senior vice president/general counsel, the DMA Companies, Austin, Texas.
During the week, the panel will tour the site and surrounding neighborhoods, and interview a variety of stakeholders in the community before developing a set of recommendations that will be presented at the conclusion of the panel’s visit.
Now in its 72nd year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.
Past sponsors of ULI advisory service panels include federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations and economic development agencies.
NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Members of the public and media are invited to a reception on Monday, April 29th, from 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm at The Fairmount Hotel Rooftop Terrace at 401 S. Alamo Street in San Antonio. The panel will provide its recommendations at a public presentation on Friday, May 3rd at 9:00 am at the Mexican Culture Institute at 600 Hemisfair Plaza Way in San Antonio.