What is happening at Hemisfair?
The Hemisfair site is undergoing complete redevelopment. In the future, Hemisfair will be much more than just a park. It will be an urban district with multiple parks, residences, and local businesses.
Who is in charge of this project?
The San Antonio City Council set up the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC), a 501(c)3 non-profit, in 2009 to transform the Hemisfair site into a series of urban parks embraced by a vibrant and walkable neighborhood. HPARC is run by an 13-member volunteer Board of Directors and two city management representatives, as approved by City Council.
Who is paying for this?
HPARC currently relies on operational funding from the City of San Antonio, revenues from operations and private donations. Public improvements for complete streets and the first park phase are funded by the 2007 and 2012 Bonds, in addition to private donations. Future public improvements, park maintenance, and HPARC’s operation will be funded by leases generated from mixed use development, grants, private donations, market and historic tax credits, incentives, tax increment finance, bond investments and Parks & Recreation budgets and other financing sources. With public-private partnerships generating revenue, the parks at Hemisfair are projected to be financially self-sustaining by the year 2021 while remaining free and open to the public.
How long will this project take?
The Hemisfair District will be constructed in phases so that we can deliver attractive public spaces quickly. Some key dates include:
- Fall 2015: Yanaguana Garden at the southwest zone complete
- Fall 2016: Convention Center expansion complete/Older portion of Convention Center demolished
- 2018: Civic park phase 1 opens to the public and San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial
- 2021: Civic park complete
- Future: the Tower park will be executed as funding becomes available for its improvement.
Residential projects, historic structure rehabilitations, and infrastructure improvements, including streets and parking, will be constructed throughout the life of the project.
How much green space will be added?
The removal of the western edge of the Convention Center allows Hemisfair to significantly increase the amount of connected and usable open public space. Dedicated parkland at Hemisfair has already been increased to 19.2 acres.
What will happen to the historic buildings at Hemisfair?
Historic homes will be rehabilitated and adapted into park amenities such as local cafes, restaurants or book stores. Each building will be carefully assessed and the necessary steps will be taken to comply with Historic and Design Review Commission, Texas Historic Commission, and other city codes and ordinances. These buildings will play a vital role in adding energy, activities and visitors to the district.
What will happen to the Federal Courthouse?
The City of San Antonio has negotiated a land swap for the Federal Courthouse property which received Congressional funding for construction of a new Federal Courthouse at another location. The U.S. Government will continue to occupy the Federal Courthouse until completion of the new structure. No plans have been made for the property once the City controls it.
What will happen to the Institute of Texan Cultures?
The Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) is owned by the University of Texas System and operated under the University of Texas at San Antonio administration. The future of the Institute and its building is solely in the hands of the UT system.
What will happen to the Magik Theatre, Instituto Cultural de Mexico, and UNAM?
All of the existing cultural institutions will remain at Hemisfair and be incorporated into the new built environment; however, some may move to newer, more accessible locations within the district. Each will be evaluated individually by the City of San Antonio, the HPARC team, and each organization’s leadership.
Will there be more parking?
Yes! Redevelopment will bring many more parking options for Hemisfair visitors including underground, on-street, structured, and bicycle parking. Two new parking lots are now open to the public, located adjacent to Yanaguana Garden.
Why would you reintroduce streets to a park?
Streets will not be built on parkland. Hemisfair will be much more than just a park, it will be a district with multiple parks and other amenities. Reintroducing “complete streets” to the district allows for better access and connectivity to park areas from surrounding neighborhoods, and accessibility for all modes of transportation including pedestrian, bicycle, wheelchair, and vehicular.
Are people going to live at Hemisfair?
Yes! Residential apartment units in various building types, densities, and heights will be constructed at Hemisfair, but never on parkland. This will include a component of mixed-income housing. Residential development is critical to Hemisfair’s success, ensuring financial sustainability of the parks, round-the-clock energy and security.
Is a hotel being built on parkland?
No! Hotel development in Hemisfair is limited by Council action to 200 rooms. Any development, including a hotel, is prohibited on parkland.
Is the City selling any of the property at Hemisfair?
No. Hemisfair property is owned by the City of San Antonio and will not be sold to developers or individuals. Buildings at Hemisfair will be leased in order to pay for the maintenance and operation of the exceptional parks so they remain free and open to the public. Residential and commercial units will be available for rent.
How can you introduce water features when San Antonio is constantly under drought restrictions?
We are currently investigating multiple sources of water that can be used in addition to domestic potable water, including rainwater, condensate, nuisance, well water, recycled water and treated water. We will work closely with local water agencies (SAWS, SARA, etc.) to ensure that we offer safe and sustainable water features throughout Hemisfair.
How will Hemisfair be environmentally and financially sustainable?
Environmentally, Hemisfair will be designed and built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standards which consider connections and sustainability for the entire district. Furthermore, Hemisfair will promote local environmental sustainability guidelines for vertical projects such as Build SA Green. Financially, the elevated level of park maintenance, landscape, operation, security, and activation will be paid for by the lease revenues from the surrounding buildings. The more successful the buildings are, the bigger budget the parks will have—making a virtuous cycle where the whole district is financially self-sustaining.
Is it “HemisFair Park” or “Hemisfair”?
HemisFair is the site of the 1968 World’s Fair, which was renamed HemisFair Park in the 1980s. Because the site is transforming into an urban neighborhood embracing a series of three parks, history will be honored by calling the district simply “Hemisfair.” Hemisfair will be more than a park and will no longer be a fairground.
How are contractors selected?
Contractors for Hemisfair projects are selected through a public selection process facilitated by the City of San Antonio Department of Transportation and Capital Improvements. All Bidding and Contracting opportunities are posted on the City of San Antonio website. For the latest updates, sign up for the Hemisfair newsletter at www.Hemisfair.org.
What is the Hemisfair Conservancy?
The Hemisfair Conservancy is a separate and independent 501(c)3 non-profit, set up to assist with the funding and longevity of Hemisfair’s exceptional parks and open spaces.
Where can I go for more information?
Visit Hemisfair.org, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. Additionally, you may email us at info@Hemisfair,org