SAN ANTONIO – It’s a battle of the heights in Alamo Heights.
A developer wants to build a six-story apartment complex in the heart of a city where, by law, buildings are supposed to top out at about three stories.
The city wants a lot of input from neighbors because the plans would change the skyline and affect the very busy corner of Broadway and Austin Highway.
The high rise would sit atop land on the northeast corner: a green space, a side street and a couple of old, abandoned buildings drivers zip past to turn right onto Broadway.
"It's important to know about the project,” concerned citizen Bill Kiel says.
That’s why Kiel, a former Alamo Heights city councilman, wrote an article about the proposal
for a neighborhood blog.
He shared with News 4 pictures of a satellite view of what the land looks like now and an aerial rendering of the apartment complex.
"If you look at the square footage, it's three times the square footage of Central Market,” Kiel says.
It would take up a lot of room because it’s so tall: six stories with room for 220 apartments, plus two levels of underground parking.
Alamo Heights City Manager Mark Browne says the design will likely change many times.
"The plans are still pretty fluid at this point,” he says.
Browne says it’s a long process, from zoning to the architecture review and finally council approval.
"I think as we move through our discussion we need to look at the possibility of mixed use and putting some retail into the mix,” Browne says.
Kiel says he supports developing the land but wants his neighbors to know what they’re getting before it towers over the city.
"It's a false choice to say we have these terrible buildings or we have to put a 220-unit apartment building,” Kiel says.
And neighbors will certainly get a say on what, if anything, should be built there.
The first of likely many public meetings will take place February 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Alamo Heights City Hall.