Home I-10 corridor La Cantera Heights now taking shape

La Cantera Heights now taking shape

Developers hope project will be a draw “for the next 100 years”

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La Cantera Heights
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill is one of the anchor businesses coming to the new La Cantera Heights, a retail and dining destination developers hope will be attracting patrons for decades to come. Courtesy artist’s rendering

Austin-based CSW Development, JLL and USAA Real Estate are developing the 19-acre “front door” of La Cantera in a venture known as La Cantera Heights.

The $40 million commercial project will feature several eateries, office spaces and service providers.

Many of the tenant businesses were chosen because they wouldn’t lose sales to online commerce, officials said.

“We couldn’t be more excited about it and I think we complement the surrounding developments, whether it be The Rim or the Shops at La Cantera, but we were never designed to be proven competitors with those guys. We stand on our own,” said Barry Haydon, senior vice president of JLL, the firm handling leasing of the property.

The first phase broke ground May 1; the entire endeavor is expected to finish by late fall 2020.

It’s located on both the north and south sides of La Cantera Parkway at Interstate 10 West, next to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and south of Éilan. The property borders Leon Creek Greenway, which the developers and architects are incorporating into outdoor spaces such as patios.

“I think it’s more of a sophisticated community, casual-type feel there,” Haydon said. “If you live in San Antonio, you want to show this off to your friends.”

Alamo Architects, which has worked on many La Cantera-area sites, was chosen to design the project.

“They’ve taken some of the historic elements of La Cantera, but have really utilized those in more of a modern way to have more of a clean line, inviting, light atmosphere,” Haydon said.

Convenience was also taken into consideration. Patrons won’t need to trek through large parking lots to reach their destination.

Metropolitan Construction is also part of the development team.

“Through architecture and long-standing, high-quality materials, this project is positioned to be an add and a draw to the community for the next 100 years,” said Kevin Hunter, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of CSW.

Hunter added USAA typically isn’t focused on retail projects of this size, but the company had a long-term view for the area, which translated into this “special” undertaking.

“They invest and plan for the future and like to do things once and right,” Hunter said.

Tenants were vetted for quality of services, financial capabilities and “built-to-last” stature.

District 8 Councilman Manny Peláez said he is “pumped up” about the new construction.

“The most interesting thing about that development is that they made a very, very thoughtful choice of not choosing tenants that would be susceptible to losing business to internet competition,” the councilman said.

While many of the businesses are regional and national, Haydon said tenants include restaurants and services unassociated with big chains.

“Not only us, but USAA Real Estate company is dead set on getting local character in here,” Hunter said.

Developers want to attract enterprises launching for the first time in San Antonio.

La Cantera Heights South is slated to open summer 2020, with construction starting in February. It’s 37,000 square feet and features four buildings.

The focus is “hip” sit-down dining concepts and fast-casual eateries, along with “passion” brand fitness companies and services, according to a brochure.

Eight establishments have been selected for the south phases, including the third location of local bakery La Panadería.

“We wanted to join the north part of the city and the La Cantera area is one of the strongest in town, so it felt like the right approach and a good fit for the brand,” said co-owner David Cáceres.

Together with brother, Jose, the duo has been baking artisan pan dulce, pastries and bread since 2014.

“Our goal is to continue encouraging the community to form a more natural connection with bread and pan dulce,” Cáceres said.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill will anchor Heights South alongside Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Amerisleep, Waxing the City and a medical spa.

Heights North will be 30,000 square feet. Construction starts shortly after the first phase is complete. A finish is expected by late fall 2020.

“I’ve seen the plans. It’s really exciting. I can assure you that this is a facility that is being built for all of the people living in District 8, not just a select few,” Peláez said.

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