United Commercial Realty
James Allen lays groundwork for far West Side development4.14.2008- Tricia Lynn Silva - San Antonio Business Journal
Local developer James Allen has carved out 18 acres of land on the city's far West Side for a planned development that will feature both retail and multi-family dwellings.
About six acres along the front of the tract -- which is located at the northwest corner of Potranco Road and Richland Hills Drive -- has been earmarked for retail users, Allen says.
Included in that six acres of retail are four outlying parcels (pad sites) of an acre each that are being targeted to users such as restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.
One of the pads is already off the market. Locally based OberRoc LLC has signed a ground lease for a new Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurant at that site.
This will mark the sixth Freddy's for OberRoc, which is headed up by local businessman James Oberg.
The balance of the six acres being set aside for retail -- a total of about 2 acres -- is being marketed to other developers interested in bringing a retail center to the site, Allen says.
The lion's share of the Potranco/Richland tract, just under 12 acres, is being eyed for multifamily development, says Allen, who adds that he expects said developers to "look at this land hard."
That may not be a tall request, given that his latest project is located in proximity to several large high-profile developments -- including Alamo Ranch, a master-planned project that will include close to 1 million square feet of retail space and several residential neighborhoods; the new campus for the National Security Agency (NSA); and master-planned development Westover Hills.
"Everything is around us," says Allen, who is the president of Allen Investments and CastleRock Development Inc. -- which will serve, respectively, as the owner/developer and general contractor for the development.
Allen has created a name for himself as a prolific developer of self-storage buildings. To date, he has built 15 facilities -- all of them under the trademarked moniker Centurion Storage.
Allen also has developed several multi-tenant retail centers around the city -- including North Pointe on the far North Side, and The Corner at Southwest Military in South San Antonio.
The Potranco/Richland land plans, however, marks Allen's first project in the far West San Antonio submarket.
So what took him so long?
Allen was certainly keen to the new development taking place in the area, but he had other projects, in other parts of the city that kept him busy.
"I kept digging (deeper) tunnels where I was," he says. "I didn't take my head out of the sand."
Allen credits Craig Garansuay, a principal with United Commercial Realty (UCR) of San Antonio, with bringing the Potranco/Richland tract to his attention.
Garansuay markets several projects for Allen -- including The Corner at Southwest Military, North Pointe, and now the Potranco/Richland tract.
Garansuay also represents OberRoc in its real estate dealings for new Freddy's stores throughout Texas.
"It's hard to pass up (a site) surrounded by major employers such as Citicorp (Data Systems Inc.) and JP MorganChase, and new employers such as Fred Loya Insurance and the National Security Agency," says Garansuay, who notes that, to date, the businesses around the Loop 410/State Highway 151 intersection account for some 97,000 employees.
That number is only expected to grow, thanks to several new developments -- including a new hospital planned in the area by Christus Santa Rosa Health Care.
And now that Allen has staked his claim on the West Side, he's hungry for more.
"I'm fascinated by the area," says Allen, who can remember a time when this corner of the city was home to little more than SeaWorld San Antonio and the Hyatt Hill Country Resort.
Sums up Garansuay: "The (far) West Side of San Antonio is booming."