Park or mixed-use development? Alamo Heights debate grows

Park or mixed-use development? Alamo Heights debate grows

Positive growth or negative and gross? That depends on your position in Alamo Heights, where there’s a long running controversy over a proposed mixed-use development.

At Broadway and Austin Highway, red signs discourage the development of a high-rise.

"We really want to do something that’s good for this community and something that we can look back on in 30 years and be proud of," said Richard Peacock Jr., one of the partners involved with the proposed development.

Peacock and others want to create 5,100 square feet of retail space and 150 apartment units. Something, he said, his city desperately needs.

"So when students come back from college and they want to live in our community in a decent place, live in the community they grew up in, if they want to live in a class-A apartment complex, they have no choice right now," said Peacock.

However, some opponents believe the project is overly ambitious.

"This project is a very, very large project and it’s inconsistent with anything in Alamo Heights and inconsistent with probably anything else that could be built in Alamo Heights," said commercial real estate developer Glenn Huddleston.

Huddleston wants to block some of the development with his own proposal.

"My purpose is positive, it’s not negative," said Huddleston.

Huddleston, with the help of other investors, wants to buy land adjacent to the proposed apartment building and turn a space ideal for the apartment project, into a park with artwork and trees.

"Not a literal park, but a park where we can have community activities and people can use it to meet and gather," said Huddleston.

"I feel really confident that when people look at the proposal that we are presenting and they compare that to a potential park, if that’s what you can call it, I think the choice of the community is clear," said Peacock.

Huddleston said if the city were to approve their idea for a park, they would get public input on how to design it and then deed the park back to the city. If that happened, the apartment developers would have to work within the confines of the space they already own. Of course, much more debate lies ahead during future city council meetings.

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Kristy Nolan