Hemisfair Historic Homes Request For Interest (RFI)

The deadline to submit to the RFI for these historic properties has passed. We will no longer be accepting applications or responses to this RFI.

Thank you for your interest in tenancy opportunities at Hemisfair! Through this Request for Interest (RFI), Hemisfair offers two historic structures located adjacent to Yanaguana Garden. We look forward to hearing your ideas for new restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, fitness studios, and other neighborhood retail shops.

Please review the Request for Interest (RFI) document below, which will provide building details and a description of the selection process.

Hemisfair Tenant – Request for Interest – OK and Koehler

Pre-Submittal Meeting Presentation

Submittal Instructions: Submit your proposal electronically by uploading documents (PDF only) to the link below:

RFI Response Link

All submittals must be received by 11:59 PM on Sunday August 21, 2016.

The timeline is outlined below.



Request for Interest (RFI) posted

July 11, 2016

RFI Pre-Submittal Meeting (not mandatory) at Magik Theater, 420 S. Alamo Street 78205

July 25, 2016

@9:30 AM

RFI Responses due

August 21, 2016

Tenant Selection Process (may include interviews, site visits, reference checks, etc.)


August 22 – 30, 2016

HPARC notifies applicants of next steps

August 31, 2016


Are applicants to the previous RFI allowed to respond to this RFI?


Can I visit/tour now?

Yes. Tours can be arranged with Hemisfair staff by emailing info@hemisfair.org. Please allow 3-5 business days’ notice.

When will the buildings be ready for occupancy? How soon does the lease start?

Tenants will be selected in September 2016. At that time the houses will be ready for tenants to begin interior improvements and build out, specific to their needs. Hemisfair intends to have businesses operation by Spring 2017.

What can we expect lease structures to look like on these properties? How much is rent?

Hemisfair wishes to create financial and programmatic benefit for all. For this purpose, rent will be based on a percentage of gross revenue, to be negotiated through the selection process. In this way, a percentage of every sale contributes directly to the maintenance and improvement of public parks at Hemisfair. As the parks drive business to tenants, tenants succeed and the parks benefit. This structure is also helpful to startup businesses who don’t have to worry about paying rent during build-out and ramp-up periods.

What tenant improvement allowance does Hemisfair offer?

Hemisfair has used public bond dollars to renovate the homes, including foundations, exterior repair, roofing, electric and air conditioning systems. Homes will be delivered to tenants in a “white box” condition (i.e. ready to finish out, but with no tenant-specific improvements). Tenants are expected to pay for capital improvements to the properties. A Contributions from a tenant towards improvement of a property may translate to a more advantageous lease structure and concession package, to be determined during lease negotiations.

What concessions are offered?  

While Hemisfair cannot provide a TI allowance, flexibility exists in lease terms, including rent.

What is the term of leases?

The length of the leases has not been determined and will be similarly negotiated based on multiple factors. Most leases to-date have been structured as a three (3) year term with extensions.

 Where will tenants’ staff park?

Parking will be made available through monthly passes at current and future Hemisfair parking facilities.

What’s the construction plan for South Alamo Street?

The redevelopment of South Alamo Street as a “complete street” includes curbless sidewalks, trees and pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly streets. The current timeline for South Alamo Street construction is 2018-2019.

What’s the timeline for the P3 at the southwest quadrant, Acequia Lofts?

The Acequia Lofts will bring 150 new residential units, ground-floor space for a restaurant and hundreds of public parking spaces. Groundbreaking for the project will take place in early 2017 with completion estimated in fall 2018.

How will tenants handle trash pickup? Is there a CAM? Is this a NNN lease?

Hemisfair will provide service yards for tenants, which will include dumpsters. Hemisfair will maintain and oversee contracts for trash, grounds management and auxiliary services. Hemisfair will divide Common Area Maintenance (CAM) expenses between tenants based on usage. Leases would generally be described as NN, as there are no property taxes and Hemisfair/City are responsible for the building structure. Tenants are responsible for expenses for water, electric, gas, some insurance, and CAM.

What other requirements are there (insurance, liability, etc.)?

Standard requirements for permitting, insurance and liability will be in accordance with City of San Antonio requirements. Those requirements are available from Hemisfair upon request. 

On what criteria are you judging respondents to this RFI?

Successful respondents will showcase an understanding of the redevelopment effort at Hemisfair and an enthusiasm for becoming part of a parks-tenants ecosystem. Respondents should demonstrate a history of success with starting, owning and/or operating businesses, and that they have access to sufficient capital to invest in necessary improvements to the structures. 

What are the sizes of the properties in this RFI?

The OK Bar is 1,234SF. Koehler House is 1,450SF. These figures are for interior space and do not include surrounding patios and courtyards which are almost twice as large as the interior space.

How do the street projects, and Convention Center demolition affect these properties?

Two interior streets – Hemisfair Blvd. and E. Nueva St. – are scheduled to be finished in Fall 2016. These streets will increase circulation to the district, add on-street parking and activate the park. The demolition of the oldest part of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is underway, on schedule to be transformed into a large lawn by early 2018. Following the NCAA Final Four and Tricentennial celebrations, work will continue to redevelop this lawn into its ultimate form, Civic Park.

When will the previously announced tenants (Paleteria SA, BCycle, Con Safos) be opening their shops?

B-Cycle and Paleteria San Antonio have already moved and are currently operating out of their new spaces at the Pereida House. Con Safos (Espinoza House) will open by Spring 2017, if not sooner. 

Who is selecting the tenants?

HPARC board and staff will determine which tenants to enter into negotiations. 

What have you done already to prepare the spaces? What’s the condition?

HPARC has stabilized and repaired critical infrastructure including foundations, roofs, windows, patios and porches. Future tenants of these historic properties will be expected to complete interior finish out that may include MEP, floors, walls, ceilings, and lighting fixtures among other things, as well as any tenant-specific improvements (e.g. commercial kitchen, specific electrical / plumbing needs, etc.).

Where will patrons of these new businesses park?

Solving the challenge of parking at and around Hemisfair is a long-term goal that HPARC is vigorously working towards solving. HPARC opened two public surface parking lots, one off South Alamo Street just north of the Magik Theatre and another catty corner to the OK Bar on Martinez Street. These two lots add 110 parking spaces. The first P3 development will add a 240 space public parking garage. Future phases in Civic and Tower Parks will add thousands more public parking spaces in the years to come.

What’s the next RFI? Which properties are left?

There are 22 historic properties throughout the district. With this RFI, six historic properties in the first phase of the redevelopment project have been stabilized and made available through two public RFIs. The next phase contains several historic homes that will be similarly restored and reactivated. Tower Park, the third and final phase, has not yet been designed. Restoration and reactivation of those properties will take place, but the exact plan is contingent on future designs and funding.

Are there any restrictions on the use of the home? Type of tenants or their improvements?

Any improvements to the structures must conform to both Hemisfair Design Standards and Texas Historic Commission guidelines. Alterations to the exteriors are subject to the approval of Historic Design Review Commission. Tenants of the historic properties at Hemisfair must ensure that their business acts as a park activator, encouraging visitation to the parks and adding to visitors’ experience of the district. Business must be open to the pubic (e.g. not offices, residences, etc.).

What about TABC? Will Hemisfair allow alcohol to be sold by tenants?

Hemisfair is one of the few City parks that allow for open consumption of alcohol, in non-glass containers. Yanaguana Garden is intended to offer its visitors a family-friendly environment that is also compatible with the responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. Hemisfair authorizes tenants to hold a TABC wine and beer retailers permit only, to sell for consumption on or off the premises per the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code. TABC-issued mixed beverage permits for sales or consumption of mixed alcoholic beverages shall not be permitted at Yanaguana Garden, at any time. Given Hemisfair’s unique interests in promoting a family friendly environment in Yanaguana Garden, such policies and procedures may exceed those required under state law or the TABC licensing scheme.

What are the key benefits to businesses that might be interested in these properties?

First, there is the historical significance of the properties. All three date from before 1968 and were used in the World’s Fair as amenities. These buildings represent examples of uncommonly beautiful late-19th century architecture in San Antonio. Second, tenants to these homes will experience built-in traffic: Yanaguana Garden currently has more than 8,000 visitors a week, and several thousand per day will attend special events. Attendance numbers and park penetration will only continue to increase as future phases are completed. This market represents a wide demographic, primarily locals, but also many visitors from around the world visiting for conventions and tourism. Finally, the adjacency to the parks themselves is a wonderful backdrop for any business, a unique and charming setting.

Why is the San Antonio Brewing Company (SABC) no longer under consideration for a home at Yanaguana Garden?

During due diligence, a mutual agreement was reached between HPARC and SABC that the space was inadequate for SABC’s business strategy, which is to become a brewer and distributor primary and a retail bar second. SABC is currently in the process of securing a new location better suited to their strategy. The split was amiable, and we wish them well in their endeavors!

What is the estimated investment for the OK Bar?

Hemisfair is asking that the space finish out for the OK Bar include, but not be limited to:

  • One unisex ADA compliant restroom (a code modification has been approved for one restroom)
  • The opening of two archways facing the east elevation of Yanaguana Garden
  • Upgrade to the HVAC system
  • Potential remediation of lead based paints in the interior ceiling
  • Potential roof repair – minor, if any

While we recognize that this work may be accomplished for less than $150,000, we ask that you conservatively budget for a buildout cost to be a minimum of that amount. This estimate is exclusive of a full commercial “Hot-Kitchen.”

Also, while Hemisfair cannot provide a TI allowance to tenants, we can offset that cost through very favorable rent concessions and terms.

What is the estimated investment for the Koehler House?

Hemisfair has renovated the Koehler house to include structural, roof, exterior and interior rehabilitation. Two restrooms are provided for coed-use, as only one restroom is ADA compliant. Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing upgrades have been performed. Hemisfair asks that tenant finish out be reflective of the quality and aesthetic of the “Hot White-box” provided at move-in. 

It would be conservative to estimate a $150,000 tenant finish out expense for the Koehler house. This estimate is exclusive of a full commercial “Hot-Kitchen.” 

Also, while Hemisfair cannot provide a TI allowance to tenants, we can offset that cost through very favorable rent concessions and terms. 

Can I operate without any public restrooms?

Several codes require at least two restrooms for an F&B or retail use, though code modifications have been approved in the past. We ask your design concept work in, at a minimum, one ADA compliant restroom for the OK Bar; the Koehler home provides two unisex restrooms.

Can we extend the deadline for submissions?

At this time Hemisfair is asking that tenant submissions be turned in no later than August 21st 2016. 

Please do not be intimidated by the level of detail requested in the RFI, we ask that you submit as complete a package as possible before the due date. If additional information is required, our team will request it prior to potential tenant interviews. We are excited to learn about your individual business ideas and their fit within Hemisfair.

Technical Information for Koehler & Espinosa structures:?

  • Electrical: Each home is designed with a 200A MDP (main distribution panel), 120/208V, single phase
  • Gas: gas is available at both buildings
  • Water: 3/4″ domestic water line to each building
  • HVAC: Two new Carrier 5 ton split-system AC units are installed at each building – sufficient capacity for most retail users
  • Grease Traps: None existing with planned traps at tenant finish-out

Technical Information for the OK Bar building:

  • Electrical: Currently 225A MDP, 120/208V, single phase
  • Gas: potential hook-up, limited load shared with Pereida
  • Water: 3/4″ domestic water line
  • HVAC: existing, capacity will need to be reviewed by applicant’s engineer
  • Grease Trap: None existing with planned traps at tenant finish-out